- Balance your blood sugar.
- Yoga, tai chi and qi gong.
- Stop emergency emotions.
As a medical intuitive and holistic healer, one of the most common findings in literally 100 percent of all my new clients (with the exception of my clients who are newborn babies and children and teens under the age of 20) is some degree of adrenal burnout.
Your adrenal glands are two small glands weighing the weight of a nickel. They sit on top of each of your kidneys. Your adrenal glands secrete your stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin.
Your adrenals are crucial to your overall health.
Before menopause, they make 40 percent of your sex hormones. After menopause, they make 90 percent of your sex hormones.
If your adrenal glands are burned out from years of unrelenting stress, you will have a damaged metabolism, which means you will be breaking down and aging faster than your body can rebuild.
The more stressed your adrenals are, the lower your thyroid function will be.
That is why highly stressful exercise, such as aerobic exercise where your heart rate stays continuously above 90 beats per minute, is often counterproductive in people with burned out adrenal glands. The harder they workout, the fatter and more frustrated they actually become.
If you visit a holistic practitioner, you can have your adrenal function tested through a spit test or a medical intuitive reading.
We live in such a stressful society that I have literally never had a NEW client who was in stage 0 of adrenal stress.
Sure, plenty of my clients eventually get there, but you would have to make healing yourself as well as changing your lifestyle for the better – and I do mean permanently – a major priority in order to get there.
In my professional experience, if you have total adrenal burnout, it could take you about a year to heal your adrenal glands provided you do EVERYTHING right.
That means that healing your adrenals is a matter of getting on a really good health program and maintaining the discipline to continue it.
About 20-30 percent of people UNDER the age of 35 have a damaged metabolism, which means that they are either insulin resistant and/or have burned out adrenal glands.
About 70-80 percent of people OVER the age of 35 have a damaged metabolism, which means that they are either insulin resistant and/or have burned out adrenal glands.
Because burned out adrenal glands lead to greater problems handling your blood sugar, you set yourself up for insulin resistance with too much stress, even if you don’t have a family history of diabetes.
Symptoms of adrenal burnout include:
- Lowered thyroid function
- Inability to lose weight
- Digestive problems
- Exhaustion, either all day long or from 4 p.m. onwards
- Degenerative diseases of aging
- Joint pain
- Lowered body temperature
- Suppressed immune function
- Poor circulation
- Low blood pressure
- Inability to regain your energy no matter how much you sleep
- Depleted brain chemistry leading to depression, anxiety, difficulty thinking or remembering
There are varying degrees of adrenal burnout. Stage 1 is alarm. Stage 2 is adaptation. Stage 3 is wipeout, kaput, you’re toast. At this point, your favorite piece of furniture is probably a couch because you can barely scrape yourself out of one.
The next stage, without being too dramatic, is death.
Within each of the three stages, there are also three stages – a.k.a, Stage 3-1, Stage 3-2, Stage 3-3.
Personally, I have been at Stage 3-3 at one point in my life. I can only describe that phase of my life as horrible. You basically have no energy, are constantly craving sugar and/or caffeine just to get through the day, you have difficulty thinking and remembering and even simple daily activities are a great struggle.
As one of my clients put it to me once, “Catherine, on a good day I got out of bed and brushed my teeth!”
Having been there in adrenal burnout and having managed to recover completely is part of why I am 100 percent committed to living a simple, happy, healthy life.
Once you have climbed out of the depths, you are usually bound and determined to do whatever it takes not to go there again!
Because I have mastered this personal turnaround myself, I am unusually good at empowering others to do the same.
As they say, you can only coach people to do something you have mastered yourself. This fact is lost on many coaches of all kinds. You may know what step 1 is, but if you have not conquered the same subject yourself you won’t know what step 332 is. You will soon get lost in understanding your client’s process.
This is the difference in knowing ABOUT something and actually KNOWING it.
Even though I am A, a human, and B, a woman, which means I have lots of emotions I have to process on a daily basis, I manage to stay out of adrenal wipeout – even though I have had my share of life’s unexpected events, just like everybody else.
We have to remember that major life events are not personal. When the city of Atlanta sends me my property tax bill, the tax assessor doesn’t say to himself, “Oh, I wonder how Catherine is doing today? I wonder if she is up for getting this enormous bill in the mail.”
When the tax bill comes rather larger than expected, the rain comes, the tornado wipes out our house (as happened recently to one of my dear friends), our parents pass away, etc., we have to remind ourselves, it’s not personal. Sooner or later we all face these vicissitudes.
Here are my top 5 recommendations for healing your adrenal glands once life has gotten the better of you:
- Balance your blood sugar.
- Yoga, tai chi and qi gong.
- Stop emergency emotions.
1. Balance your blood sugar. I say this so often in my work sometimes I wish I just had a tape recorder and could just hit “PLAY!” You have three major hormones in your body – insulin, adrenalin and cortisol. The hormone you have most control over is your insulin, which keeps your blood sugar balanced. You may not have a choice about the tornado wiping out your house but you DO have a choice what kind of food you put into your mouth. The important point is this: You can’t heal your adrenals if your blood sugar is out of balance. That’s because wild swings in your blood sugar cause big shifts in your stress hormones. One of the stupidest things you can do is starve yourself to try to lose weight. Many people are accustomed to running on empty, blood sugar wise. Set up an appointment and ask me to teach you how you can balance your blood sugar naturally. It’s about what you eat, how you eat and when you eat. Even if you are not diabetic, low or high blood sugar or swinging between the two syndromes could be keeping you from getting out of physiological stress.
2. Grizzly. You have heard of grizzly bears, right? Bears hibernate. All the go-getters in the world should make a personal study of bears. Bears are the only animal that can sleep for months in a cave and then get up and forget where they have been sleeping, but that’s another story. They really get into their resting phase! And if you get into your resting phase, you will find that it’s actually quite rewarding. The fastest, cheapest way to heal your adrenals is with grizzly, otherwise known as therapeutic rest. If I have a client in adrenal burnout, I use kinesiology and ask your body how many days of complete rest you need in order to recover. It could be a lot – as in over 20 days. The record in my business is a client who needed 40 days of complete rest. You schedule out half days and/or whole days when you can lie down, take a nap, sit in the bath, read a funny book or spiritually uplifting material and REST. Rest is a verb. It is something you can actually do should you allow yourself the time to do it. Usually this is initially greeted with skepticism. However, my clients who actually embrace this recommendation become like reformed smokers, proselytizing with all their friends on the virtues of lying in a hammock.
3. Yoga, tai chi and qi gong. These are forms of exercise that actually restore your energy, as opposed to stimulating exercise like triathlons, boot camps, spin classes and other forms of frenetic movement that cause your body to produce more adrenalin and cortisol, as if you don’t have enough stress in your life already. Please rule out power yoga, hot yoga and other forms of insanity. These were invented by overadrenalized individuals who probably also need to heal their own adrenals. A good clue is whether or not your instructor is stressed out (don’t take stress management classes from stress bucket instructors, although that advice should seem obvious). Sensible yoga, tai chi and qi gong will restore your energy. Although these are forms of exercise, practicing them will actually give you energy because they open and balance the energy centers in your body known as chakras and acupuncture meridians. You are welcome to join my classes in Atlanta or set up a Skype session to learn what you can do to make yourself better. My yoga class meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and on Thursday mornings at 11 a.m. Qi gong class meets on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. I’ve now taught yoga class for 17 years and at this point I have taught qi gong so long I can’t recall when I actually started.
4. Meditation. Meditation is the simplest way to turn off your stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol and allow your brain to produce its own calming neurotransmitters. If you live in Atlanta, you are welcome to join us at my studio every Monday night at 7:30 as we host a FREE meditation group. Please arrive about 7:15 p.m. to allow everybody to settle in as we ring the bell to begin promptly at 7:30. In addition to joining a meditation class, most of us need to do some form of daily stress management. I am often encouraging my clients to make a list of FREE things they can do every day to turn off their stress hormones. Meditation should be on everybody’s list. It’s free, you can do it anywhere and all you have to do is learn how. My neighbor Steve Hart, who leads our Monday night group, has taught meditation for 13 years. Meditation teaches us that we are, in fact, in charge of our own thoughts just as we are, in fact, in charge of what kind of food we put into our own mouth. That brings me to step 5.
5. Stop emergency emotions. Stop in the name of love for yourself! Of all the steps, this may be the most difficult for the average person to understand and master. Every thought you think and every emotion you feel has an immediate biochemical effect in your body. Five minutes of pure anger will raise your cortisol – one of the two hormones produced by your adrenal glands – for SIX HOURS. Cortisol is the most destructive hormone in the human body – it breaks down your brain chemistry, muscle tissue, hair and even bone. Rageaholics are likely to experience chronic fatigue. If you actually understood just exactly how your anger, anxiety and other forms of negative emotions affect your organs, brain chemistry and hormones, you might run, not walk, towards the nearest spiritual center and work very hard on becoming one of those Zen masters that you may have heard about. Now, I admit, when your car gets totaled and you are standing by the side of the interstate in the pouring rain, you probably aren’t going to think, “Gee, this is fun,” even if you are a very positive person. My advice is quite simple: Always search for the best positive thought. Maybe your best thought in that situation might be, “Thank God almighty, I am still alive!” Make it an exercise to look for the best possible thought in every situation. As you think through, it will almost feel like you are walking up a ladder, moving yourself higher and higher until you can find your inner peace in every situation. Because we humans have a life history, this step also includes resolving deep inner conflicts. A Course in Miracles puts this very well: “All I see is the past.” When we fail to resolve and release our old hurts, we are easily triggered by even the smallest events and our nervous system, mind and emotions start to relive the pain inside us that has never actually stopped. So Step 5 includes learning how to deal more graciously with the inevitable slings and arrows of the present as well as doing the hard work of forgiving our past. All true healing must include emotional healing or you aren’t actually accomplishing anything.
Here is the bottom line: We all live and die by our own hand.
You get to choose whether or not you heal your adrenal glands.
If you master these lessons, you can dramatically slow down your aging process.
If you fail to master these lessons, you will dramatically speed up your own aging process.
That is why at the age of 40 you could look and feel like you are either 30 years old or 60 years old. Your choice.
And when you are 60 years old, you could have the body of a 40 year old or be a total cripple.
What is healing? Healing happens when you make the connection between how you live your life and the biochemical, physiological, emotional and spiritual consequences of all your choices.
Choose to live a happy, healthy life by making an effort to heal your adrenal glands.