This article was originally published in the Front Porch Magazine
More and more, ADRENALINE seems to be the drug of choice among many Americans today. Advertising agencies spend billions of dollars telling us to “hurry and act now, before it’s too late!” Television and radio bombard us with quick fix programming and powerful images that raise our anxiety levels. Computers continually chime in on the latest information and news. All this contributes to the over-stimulation of our adrenal system, making it difficult for us to slow down and relax.
Dr. Glen Rothfield, a holistic physician observes, “Many Americans use adrenaline like a drug. It pushes the body to work faster and harder using up vital energy reserves. This can lead to heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, suppressed immune systems, insomnia, anxiety, and depressions.”
Our energy system enables us to focus, take action, and live fully. Different energy sources provide our bodies with needed fuel. Energy that comes from exercise, healthy food, and the love and support of others feeds our bodies positively. Energy sources such as adrenaline, caffeine, sugar, and anxiety can ultimately put our health at risk.
Adrenaline is produced by the body’s adrenal gland. It regulates our fight or flight response to stimulating experiences. When we are late for an appointment, the rush of anxiety we feel is adrenaline. When an important project finally comes together, that inner rush of excitement is adrenaline.
Most of my clients are accustomed to leading hectic, fast-paced lives. They don’t often realize their patterns of behavior that create vicious cycles of adrenaline overuse. Relying on adrenaline isn’t bad for short periods, but it can be habit forming and can show up as constantly running late or juggling too many things at once. I ask clients to become aware of these unhealthy habits and to begin to make healthier choices.
Some suggestions for getting started:
- Check E-mail and phone messages no more than twice a day.
- Arrive 15 minutes early for appointments. You can “breathe” and become centered before beginning.
- Take a relaxing bath after a busy day to de-stress the body and mind.
- Eliminate distractions and interruptions by closing your office door when work needs your total concentration. Turn off the ringer on the phone when reading, relaxing, or sleeping.
- Clear out clutter to reduce distractions in your home or office. Create a soothing, peaceful environment.
- Instead of working on multiple projects, focus on one or two. You will be more productive.
- Develop a daily relaxation practice to slow down and make more time for you.
As you stop using adrenaline for fuel, be prepared for some feelings of discomfort. Adrenaline use builds up over time. It will take vigilance, but your health is worth it… AND SO ARE YOU!