When you take back your adrenals, you take back your power.
I kid you not when I say that adrenal fatigue is the subject of a entire book.
The intricacies of how inter-connected this issue is to so many factors and indicators in our lives is astounding and I will do my best to abbreviate this more anthropological / philosophical portion of this subject matter, before I move onto the most practical approaches in this blog.
The amount of people in our country plagued by adrenal fatigue is astounding and the sad thing is that adrenal fatigue is just one signpost of a greater imbalance or epidemic. It is my guess that the average person who lives in a city has some degree of adrenal fatigue. The degree of adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, adrenal depletion or adrenal related issues vary from individual to individual, usually and from my perspective based on how their nervous system is wired. More sensitive nervous systems tend to be much more taxed by stress, over-stimulation, challenging emotions as opposed to more hardy types or people with more density. More sensitive types (HSP’s) have a higher tendency to become adrenally fatigued than hardier types. As a male empath with a highly sensitive nervous system, I was in denial of my sensitivities for years & years in what I call now “my previous lives” within this one. I did everything that everyone else did, with little awareness of how those choices would accumulate in relationship to my adrenals. Not knowing how to manage my unique bio-chemistry, nervous system and what many would call a gift / curse; those old choices in my previous lifestyle added up over the years having a heavy impact on my adrenal glands.
I would have never thought that these two kidney sized beans called the adrenals would have had SUCH an impactful role on my life. Despite being an HSP (highly sensitive person) I am very much a warrior type and have always had a very strong tendency to push myself VERY hard and not fully honor my body or its sensitivities for a long stretch of my life. This in combination with black mold in a house I lived in for 2 years, high levels of stress as an event producer and staying up overnight in medicine ceremonies almost every other weekend over a course of 3 years completely rocked my adrenal system. Bye two thousand and twelve I was officially adrenally fatigued. It took me 3 years to regain my adrenals and get them from a place of chronic depletion, to stable and now to regaining their strength.
I wanted to share some of the choices and approaches that I’ve learned, implemented and have experienced results with over the years. I know how discouraging it can be to have adrenal fatigue. You are not alone. I hope this piece brings you some inspiration, relief and insight in how you can take back YOUR adrenals, and there for take back your life. I always said, if I had more energy I would be like super man because of how much I was able to get accomplished despite my adrenal fatigue. I will say this, a strong will and a commitment to your overall health, mission and desired life will help fuel you to make the necessary choices and adjustments to support these very essential glands in your human vehicle. I wish you a steadfast recovery & a well balanced continuity.
Understanding how the modern world is not set up to support our adrenals.
Before I go into the 10 ways to take back your adrenals I want to briefly give you a little bit of a context and preface to this wider adrenal phenomenon. The first thing that I want to speak to is the reality and set up of our modern day super consumer culture and how by its very design does not set our adrenal glands up for success. We live in an adrenalized culture and this is the bottom line. Violent movies, loud noises, EMF’s, sugar, caffeine, & other stimulants, stress, partying, not enough rest, rushing, and intense pressure are all part of a majority of people’s lives and very much a part of urban living. This is not how nature made us. These are all YANG (doing, going, outward, achieving) qualities and yang in order to be sustainable needs YIN (inward, being, still, receiving) time to be balanced.
Most of us were never taught how to nourish Yin, how to simply BE, how to meditate, how to honor the cycles of seasons, rhythms of our body and nature. From the moment we could talk we were told when to eat, when to shit and when to go to sleep. Most of us were gradually conditioned out of our most natural rhythms, like breathing at an early age. We were not taught how to deeply nourish or nurture our bodies, how to listen to them or honor them. Instead as children we were gradually attuning to an emotionally unintelligent adult world where competition, getting ahead, performing and achieving were the top priorities. We were not taught how to deal with our feelings; or rather how we were taught to deal with our feelings did not fully honor them and over time certain feelings became bad or unacceptable as we developed survival related impulses around protecting these feelings. These survival tendencies became instilled in our nervous systems. Our miracle of an organic super computer mega machine known as the human body with the capacity to survive in the wilderness and out smart predators now lives in a modern context where the same levels of stress and anxiety that would occur when being stalked by a predator arise in everyday life, social environments and relationships. We still have primal impulses, wiring and deeply archaic programing that was designed for our very survival. These survival programs are connected to adrenaline, which was originally reserved ONLY for situations of life and death or high stress. Now this same system is on hyper drive. There are very few places in the 1st world where there are actually any threats to our survival and yet that is how many are functioning whether conscious of it or not.
In other words our entire system and set up was never designed to support our adrenals because it was designed to keep you in fear, competition and compliancy and I leave it to each reader to explore more deeply why this is. Moving forward…
When you take back your adrenals, you take back your power. Beginning the process of transitioning out of fear, worry, stress, anxiety, unhealthy competition, the perception that other people are a threat and into wholeness, peace, stillness, trust, love and fulfillment; is the deeper and longer journey of soul longevity and the bi-product will certainly be healthy adrenals.
Now on to the more practical.
11 Ways to Take Back Your Adrenals:
1 – Create a Stress Reducing Lifestyle
I start with this one first because this is the most difficult for many to accept or to adjust to. I’m amazed by how many people I’ve met in my life that long for certain shifts in their life but are unwilling to give up certain foods, or choices in order to have what they long for. I’ve met cancer patients that still want to drink alcohol and continue other habits that no longer serve them. If you want results you have to make real adjustments in your choices, thats the bottom line. Sometimes new choices means letting go of old choices that no longer serve you or your adrenals. Stimulants like coffee, staying up late, too much ejaculation, shitty foods and other things are all counter-indicative to rebuilding your adrenals. Start to consider what things in your life are no longer serving you & your adrenals and begin to explore in your mind and heart what a more simple and/ or fulfilling lifestyle can offer you than one of stress & pressure. Start to introduce this new reality into your perception, explore it, have fun exploring the possibilities of what you get to have by having more energy, stability and spaciousness in your life. Prioritization of your deeper needs & desires for resolution around adrenal fatigue requires a full commitment to adjusting your lifestyle if you want true & lasting results.
2- Eliminate Stimulants from Your Regime
This step may be one of the most challenging of all of them, because for many adrenally fatigued people they have actually become dependent on such stimulants like Coffee, Mate’, energy drinks or sugar to keep them going. These types of stimulants keep drawing out energy from the adrenals and the energy you get from these types of drinks or diets are like burning the midnight oil. Its a perfect representation of our current energy system in the world… its unsustainable. Its like depleting a precious resource every time you drink coffee or have a red bull, you are literally taxing your adrenals as well as other organ systems that actually need rest, restoration and nourishment. It can be pretty disheartening the first week or so when you eliminate these items because you feel even more exhausted. There is a type of “crash” and then recalibration / integration period needed to get off some of these deeply addicting substances. Scientific research has shown pet-scans of the brain on sugar and its lights up the same exact places in the brain as Cocaine. Guess what that means? Withdrawal symptoms. Plan on lessening the load so to speak for the first week off of stimulants and as in step one, this is part of the overall lifestyle adjustment that can accommodate what you need to restore your adrenals. One must be willing to adjust in other areas of their life so they can find healthy replacements for these drinks. Tonic teas instead of Coffee, healthy alternatives to certain foods that still have the same emotional gratifying element but are not as taxing on the system as well as sugar replacements like stevia (not agave, aspartame or sugar alcohols). Creating a support system around treating any addiction is helpful, accountability partners, mentors, friends and healthy habits. May the force be with you!
3 – Get to Sleep Before 11pm
Traditional Chinese medicine speaks of the benefits of going to sleep before 11 for a number of reasons. The main reason is to avoid the “second wind”, where we are actually drawing our energy, or sourcing off specific organ systems that would otherwise be resting and rejuvenating. 11pm to 1am is the time for the gallbladder to rest, the liver rests at 1am-3am, the lungs at 3am-5am, the large intestine at 5am-7am and the stomach at 7am-9pm. Not eating before sleep is also recommended to allow the body to fully rest instead of digesting. When we stop the second wind phase we truly start the process of adrenal replenishment.
Creating a good sleep outine can have tremendous benefits for your over all health, immune system, lucid dreaming practice and peace of mind. Getting in habits that prepare your for sleep and treating it as a ritual is a great way to make this adjustment in your life. Winding down, creating a closing time when you disengage from media and computer at the very least and hour before bed are just a few essentials.
I’d say that this was one of the toughest habits to shift for a number of reasons. Distractions, old habits of media at night time and avoiding a sense of missing out on things that go late etc. But I promise you if you stick to this practice you will find a significant shift within a month or two.
4 – Eat Adrenal Supportive Foods & Herbs & Take the RIGHT Adrenal Supplements
There are great supplements out there for rebuilding the adrenals and there are not so-good products. The first thing that I would like presence within this theme is avoiding any supplements that have magnesium stearate as a preservative in them. The reason is that research has shown that this substance actually attacks our mitochondria, the very building blocks within our body that help produce energy at the cellular level. For multiple reasons I am not going to prescribe any specific companies or product lines and would encourage you to do your own research on this. Many product lines uses actual bovine adrenal tissue which I recommend for real results (at least one year of taking the right adrenal tissue) but this may be morally opposing for certain dietary lifestyles. Other supplements that can have random herb supplements not suited for everyone. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective these should be avoided because they may not be a good formula for that specific individual. Meaning someone’s adrenal situation may have other originating factors that conflict with these general formulas; which container counter indications (too much heat, Qi deficiency etc.) Essentially they don’t combine well and may create subtle imbalances in other ways. There are definitely some foods and herbs that working for 99% of people when it comes to targeting replenishment of the adrenals. I will be making a list and adding this to my site in the coming weeks so stay posted.
5 – Exercise
I know the idea of moving at all can be a bummer when you are chronically fatigued but you have to start somewhere. Circulating blood means circulating Qi, circulating Qi stimulates and supports the kidneys which then begin to support the adrenals. Exercise is a MUST for a healthy life and this includes the adrenals. I don’t recommend vigorous exercises like vinyasa yoga, running or hot yoga when you are adrenally fatigued. Start with basics and begin to build from there. Slow, deep, connected movement, yoga, dance, walking or hiking is a great start.
6 – Qi Gong & Natural Breathing
Most people do not breathe properly. When we don’t breathe properly we don’t circulate Qi (or vital life force) through the body. From this blockages can occur, stagnation and dis-ease can take over. Learning to breathe naturally is a GAME CHANGER. This shift in behavior alone can have profound benefits on your life and when you learn how to do certain qi gong breathing techniques you can learn to direct your vital life force and replenish the kidneys which are also connected to the adrenals. Qi Gong is ancient alchemy and moving meditation practice (Most people are familiar with Tai Chi which is a type of martial qi gong) that can begin to replenish your vital life force, including the all too common yin or yang deficiencies in the kidneys and liver from adrenal fatigue. Qi Gong is a powerful way to exercise without depleting your body (which many exercise systems are adrenalizing). Qi Gong is a beautiful and powerful practice that is an ever expanding discovery process that you can enjoy at any age without the discouragement that many other alternative exercise or holistic routines can bring about in adrenally fatigued beings. I believe that Qi Gong will grow rapidly in the coming years as a very integrated and supportive spiritual and holistic practice, just like yoga did.
7 – Let Nature Support You
We are not separate from nature. When we enter into her embrace we have the opportunity to be completely re-harmonized to the natural frequencies of balance and become attuned to the rhythms of mother earth. Resting your back against a tree, laying on the earth itself, sleeping on her or walking bare foot are all extremely beneficial for re-introducing your system to a state of harmony. From that place of harmony you can start to grow more and more familiar with how to maintain that state or know when you need it and choose to give that to yourself. Nature is our greatest ally in repairing our adrenals (unless of course you are lost in the amazon). Taking time to unwind, still the mind and find the peace of your natural state amongst the trees, beaches, forests or whatever is available to you. Nature is your friend and ally.
8 – Essential oils & Homeopathy
I still work with these. Stress can arise, it takes time to reduce it and eliminate it from your life and we dont’ always have control over the stressors in our lives, but we do have control over how we choose to respond. I’ve found homeopathic stress reduction supplements extremely supportive to helping my nervous system in staying relaxed. Essential oils for specific purposes can have a profound impact on hyper sensitive nervous systems in a way that is almost laughable. Explore these tools and add them to your strategy and support system There is no shame in taking a whiff of some yummy flower essences or taking a couple of sprays on your tongue of harmless homeopathics when life turns up the heat.
9 – Detox your Body from Heavy Metals and Clean your Liver
The liver is like the king organ of the glandular system. With the abundance of chemtrails and heavy metals occurring in soils and in our food, our systems can get whacky and the adrenals can be the first to go. There are some great supplements out there for gradual, steady heavy metal detoxification. Same for the liver (I would cleanse them separately) Also cilantro is great for detoxing heavy metals. When the liver functions strongly stress is reduced, choices are more precise and the adrenals are more supported. Heavy metals can create brain fog, maintain candida levels and there for increase the amount of cortisol you release (the main stress hormone).
10 – Resolve Trauma in Your Body
Easier said than done! This one is a seed like some of the others; one that will take commitment and consistency to achieve results. We all house varying degrees of trauma in our nervous systems. Ancient cultures used trance states to unwind trauma, just like animals shiver and shake off a near death experience with a predator and go on with their lives with out ptsd. Trance was our birth given right to heal trauma, connect with spirit and achieve altered states of consciousness that give us insight into how to resolve challenging issues. There are numerous systems both ancient and new out there that can support this process. Quite simply put less trauma firing in your system means less fight or flight and adrenalization, stress and cortisol being released. The safer you feel in your body the less your adrenals need to work over time. Unwinding this trauma and having consistent support to heal this trauma is essential to bringing the nervous system back into stability and out of fight or flight.
11 – Feed your Spirit & Live from Your Heart
When we do the things we love, the things that connect us to ourselves, the choices that bring us joy and open our hearts we feed our spirit and we begin to enhance our connection to source. There is an infinite wellspring of energy available to us, we just need to learn how to tap into it and channel it. When we do this we get more energy, we are inspired by life and there for motivated. Learning to source off love and make choices from here instead of fear is a powerful way to shift from adrenal living to heart living. This is a gradual process that I believe many reading this are already doing and this is simply a reminder. When you source off your heart and spirit you do not need to draw from your adrenals. Finding ways to feed your spirit and open the heart are essential in resolving adrenal issues and will lead you forward on your path to deeper fulfillment, health, happiness and peace. Understand that ego-consciousness is survival consciousness. Soul consciousness is love. Beginning to track this in yourself you can begin to make the transition from survival to greater love starting with yourself. We cannot heal with out loving ourselves, it is the essential ingredient and can be the single hardest thing to do for ourselves when we are discouraged.
I hope you found this article supportive.
There are certainly many other perspectives and vantage points out there when it comes to resolving adrenal issues. I know you will find your way with commitment and willingness. These 11 factors are a great place to start.
May all beings have healthy & happy adrenals!
May you know infinite energy to serve all beings!