Stress And Tiredness
If you are under stress for a long while, your adrenals may eventually become exhausted and you’ll likely suffer from fatigue. By learning how to deal with stressful events and manage stress, you will start your way towards regaining your health and energy.
What triggers stress and adrenal exhaustion?
The experiences of our early life, our nutrition in childhood, and to some degree, our genetic inheritance, all shape our resistance to stress. Whether that resistance is small or great, much can be done by learning how to manage or avoid stress.
Long term stress puts pressure on the adrenal glands. These glands were originally designed to pump out adrenaline to enable human beings to either run away from, or else fight, a predator. The stresses of pre-modern human beings were short term, and once resolved, the body could easily return to a state of normality. The pace of change, the demands, uncertainties and complexities of present-day life, create for many a continuous state of stress. The adrenal glands, primed to react to stress, become overtaxed and increasingly unable to function properly. [Please seeAdrenal fatiguefor more detail].
Stress is triggered by a combination of factors including
- Life events – certain events create more stress than others. Find out whether you are at risk with the quiz below.
- Behavior - lifestyle choices make a huge difference in our ability to withstand stressful events.
- Attitudes – such as perfectionism, hostility and negativity all undermine our ability to deal with stressful events successfully.
Life events that contribute to stress
Mark each life event that’s happened to you in the last year and then add up the points from each one.
Death of spouse
Death of close family member
Personal injury or illness
Fired at work
Change in health of family member
Gain of new family member
Change in financial state
Death of close friend
Change to a different line of work
Change in number of arguments with spouse
A large mortgage or loan
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
Change in responsibilities at work
Son or daughter leaving home
Trouble with in-laws
Outstanding personal achievement
Spouse begins or stops work
Begin or end school/college
Change in living conditions
Revision of personal habits
Trouble with boss
Change in work hours or conditions
Change in residence
Change in school/college
Change in recreation
Change in church activities
Change in social activities
A moderate loan or mortgage
Change in sleeping habits
Change in number of family get-togethers
Change in eating habits
Minor violations of the law
Now add up your Total_______
Here’s how you determine your score for the stressful life events list:
- Low (below 50)
You have some stressors in your life, but you are probably able to deal with them.
- Medium (above 50, but below 125)
You are at risk of adrenal exhaustion, so make sure you practice relaxation and eat well.
- High (above 125)
You are at serious risk of adrenal burnout and you should take action to reduce your stress now.
Behaviors that contribute to stress
Although you cannot control the events of life that may cause stress, you have a lot of choice over the lifestyle choices that you make. Try to avoid:
- Skipping meals and dieting – as you risk depriving your body of vital nutrition. Aim for small, frequent, and nutritious meals.
- Eating junk food, fast food or processed food – as you give your body too much to process and stress your liver.
- Pushing past tiredness and using stimulants, such as caffeine and sugar to keep going.
- Exercising too little, too vigorously or too much – mild regular exercise such as walking every day is the best.
- Poor quality or too little sleep – you need to rest and you need to make getting high quality sleep a priority.
- Shallow breathing – try to practice breathing deeply for at least ten minutes a day to get vital oxygen into your system.
[Please seeDealing with stress effectivelyfor more details about stress reduction techniques]
Attitudes that contribute to stress
Attitudes to life become habitual. Still, they can be changed, although this can take time and will require discipline and practice. Below are some attitudes, which can put you under unnecessary stress:
I must be perfect
No one is perfect and so holding an attitude of perfectionism is exhausting and self-defeating. Remind yourself that life is short, and that every event offers the opportunity to learn. Forgive yourself your past mistakes.
I am a victim of my circumstances
Although some circumstances can be hard, most pass and new life events occur. If you hold an attitude of victimhood, you will always be looking for the next negative thing in your life. Cultivate a positive feeling about life instead and see yourself as powerful and able to help yourself.
I haven’t time for fun
Fun is essential to all human beings (and indeed many animals). Spend time every day in play, with children, with friends, or with pets. If possible, spend time in nature.
I don’t come first in my life
If you don’t come first in your own life, then you won’t come first anywhere else. In order to be of service to anyone or anything else, you have to know your own strengths and limitations. The stronger and less stressed you are, the more you can be useful to others.
I can’t say ‘no’
You don’t have to please people to win their respect and their love. In general, it is better if you show you have values that cannot be compromised. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be flexible, but always keep the option of saying ‘no’ to anything you don’t want to do.
Recovering from stress and fatigue takes a while, so the best time to start is now. Respect your life and your health and create positive choices and attitudes. Bear in mind that some life events may have caused/be causing you stress and so take extra care of yourself during difficult times.