They are mission critical, our adrenal glands. They are such powerhouses and they affect so many different functions in our body that this chronic depletion is felt all over the body. It’s a survival response, remember, so it’s naturally extremely powerful. The continual headaches I had were due to the fight or flight response pulling blood from the brain to the muscles so I could fight or flee. The diminishing sex drive? What animal is thinking about sex when it is in a state of permanent panic? And so on.
Being in a continual state of fight or flight is clearly not good for us, and the long-term effects on the body can be both catastrophic and cumulative, as you saw in the Seven Stages of Fatigue.
So, what’s the opposite of fight and flight? Because that’s where we want to be, isn’t it? Well, that is called ‘rest and digest’. Funny how we rarely hear or read about this when in fact we are meant to spend the majority of our time in this state! Fight or flight is sexy; rest and digest, not so much.
The autonomic (unconscious) nervous system comes with two settings, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Think of it like a light witch. The light is either ON or OFF. It can’t be both at the same time. It’s exactly the same with the nervous system. Either we are in sympathetic dominance (fight or flight: light switch on) or we are in parasympathetic dominance (rest and digest: light switch off). It can’t be both.
SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM DOMINANCE PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM DOMINANCE
Fight or flight Rest or digest
Light switch ON Light switch OFF
I believe that with adrenal fatigue we create disordered and unconscious habits of thought that lead to us remaining in an almost continual state of fight or flight. Or, to put it another way, it’s like our body is stuck with the light switch almost permanently on and it has forgotten how to switch it off. Teaching the body to relearn this skill is at the heart of what I want to share with you.
Here’s the other things to know; the immune system is suppressed while you are in fight or flight. You can’t heal properly when you are in this mode (like the cut on my leg that wouldn’t heal). Recovery depends on you being in rest or digest far more often, so that your adrenals and body can heal and restore your energy levels.
So how do you get your energy back? It’s very simple. By consistently addressing two main principles:
1. Reducing the activity of your overworked adrenals with clever life-coaching techniques. This will reduce your stress levels and stop you being in a state of fight or flight so often.
2. Increasing your time in a state of rest and digest with some accessible yogic practices and Eastern wisdom that create the perfect environment for energy recovery.
Both these things allow your body and mind to heal from the inside out. Energy restored. Ba-da-bing.