As you probably know by now, adrenal fatigue and stress go hand-in-hand. The very root cause of poor adrenal health is stress. When we encounter stress whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, the same chemical reaction occurs. It looks something like this.
1. Our adrenals release and shower our bodies with hormones like cortisol and adrenaline
2. In response, our heart beats faster and harder, our blood pressure rises, our breath becomes shallow and weak and our blood rushes away from major organs (ie: organs of the digestive tract) and into our muscles so we can fight or flee from the stress, appropriately.
There are so many situations in our external world that have the potential to be stressful. Whether you have experienced a traumatic event in your life, you lead a high-stress lifestyle, have a habit of over-committing, or choose to burn the candle at both ends, without self-care and proper rest and relaxation, your adrenals will become depleted and your health will suffer?
So the question is, how do we make the necessary changes in order to improve our adrenal health?
The truth is, we do have control over how we react to stress.
If we do not learn how to cope better with stress and take life down a notch, (even just mentally) we will never truly recover from adrenal fatigue and our health will continue to suffer.
And to further prove my point of the deep connection between stress and our health, new research reveals that 80% of all diseases may actually be stress related. But, it’s not all bad news.
The good news is there are ways to teach your body and mind to cope better with stress. And there is science behind this. There is a powerful hormone that is able to lower cortisol (the stress hormone), balance the body after the stress response and as a result, improve adrenal health.
This hormone is called Oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called the stress ‘off-switch’ or the ‘love’ hormone. In order to produce oxytocin, we need to engage in certain activities that trigger a relaxation response both in the brain and in the body. During the relaxation response, our mind clears, our muscles relax, and our heart rate and blood pressure lower.
Oxytocin is mainly released in three ways; during an orgasm and for women during labor and when breastfeeding. You might be thinking, that's it?
Thankfully, there are several ways we can trick the body into releasing oxytocin and heal the body from stress.
5 Simple Ways to Release Oxytocin
Did you know there is science behind the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” When we laugh, our bodies produce Oxycotin. Laughter is also known to help boost your energy, your immune system and even reduce pain.
This can be genuine or fake laughter, the brain doesn’t know the difference.
- So either spend a few minutes laughing by listening to your favorite comedian during your commute to work or while exercising
- Surround yourself with people who make you laugh
- Or just start laughing
2. HUG SOMEONE
- Embrace someone, it’s best when you hug someone you love
- Enjoy that hug and stay a little longer than normal and feel the effects
- If you don’t have the opportunity to hug someone you love than imagine you are hugging someone you love or that you are being hugged by someone you love
- Cuddling has the same effect
3. TAKE A WALK
- It doesn’t have to be long, even 10 minutes is beneficial
- Walking, and walking outside is recommended and is statistically correlated with higher levels of oxytocin
- If your day is full of meetings, perhaps you can suggest a walking meeting with a co-worker, you might be surprised that when walking and talking business you can experience more inspirations, creativity and ah-ha moments!
4. DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOURSELF DAILY
- We often over-extend ourselves by trying to do and be everything. Especially as women, we learn to do this at an early age and then it becomes a habit that is hard to break. This busyness just becomes our new normal. As a result, we end up deleted ourselves and our adrenals.
- Make a commitment to do something special for yourself every single day. For example, take a bath, walk in nature, book a massage, go to a movie by yourself, plan a date with a friend or treat yourself to a special treat
5. BREATHE DEEP
- When our bodies are stressed we breathe shallowly and fast.
- Breathing deep is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body which slows down your heart rate and decreases your blood pressure
- Ideally sit comfortably, close your eyes, set a timer for 2-3 minutes and just allow yourself to inhale and exhale, each for the count of 5 seconds. Try not to judge yourself for being distracted when distractions come up. Our brains are just doing their job. When distracted bring yourself back to the breath. And just keeping doing that over time it gets easier. But know that we all struggle with it, even those that have been practicing meditation for years.
Well, there you go. I just gave you 5 strategies to improve your adrenal health and manage your stress naturally. I don't want to stop there. Here's a great tool to help you take ACTION...
Now we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Which strategies would you like to incorporate more of into your day? Keep yourself accountable and tell us what action you’d like to take this week. Your share will inspire others on their healing journey. So take a moment to drop us a line below.