Eric Bakker N.D.May 13, 2022

It is important to remember that showing signs of stress does not mean you are a weak individual who cannot cope! It means you are a normal human being like everyone else, but a person who is being affected by stress.

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How Are YOU Coping With Stress In Your Life?

You may have told yourself many times: “what is the point of it all, I feel like a rat on a tread wheel”, particularly as you wait in traffic jams, find that you have piles of unexpected bills or have had enough of your work. For life to be enjoyable, we all need challenges we feel we can cope with. Sadly, we are all faced with challenges that we feel we cannot cope with, and it is then that we may experience stress.


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What Is Stress?

If we understand how stress affects us as an individual, and if we are prepared to the changes in our lifestyle and diet, then we sure can mitigate the effects that stress has on our bodies. It is important to remember that showing signs of stress does not mean you are a weak individual who cannot cope! It means you are a normal human being like everyone else, but a person who is being affected by stress.

I’ve noticed in my professional clinical work that all people react differently to the situations they have to face because they are all unique individuals. Some may be very passive personalities, whilst others may be very competitive and dominating. Their life experiences will vary enormously, as will their overall conditioning. Their state of health will also vary, it is far more difficult coping with the pressures of everyday life when you are feeling tired and simply “worn out”!

I could just imagine the sheer number of women and men in America who suffer from stress and burnout that are diagnosed as “depressed”, told to get on with their lives. I grew up in the 1960s, and life today is a lot different from then.


Life Has Become Too Hurried And Worried

My mother was born in 1931, and mentioned that people today are far too rushed, and that a woman living in the 50s and 60s certainly did face stress, but nothing like today. My mother, like many women in the past, was a “stay at home mum” who looked after the household and then could relax at night and on the weekends. Women today have two shifts – the job and the household. Is it any wonder they become tired, irritable and have little time left for their close, intimate relationship? Life has become too rushed for modern families today. 

Living in the 21st century has become so very time pressured and competitive. Sadly, marriage/partnership breakdowns are becoming extremely common and long-term job security seems, for many, to be in the past. It is hardly surprising that at times, people feel they just cannot cope anymore. The recent global financial crisis, inflation, Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and more have really hit hard for so many, only to add more financial stress on top of what many are already experiencing! Life goes on, but the bills have to be paid.


Burn Out

You probably know a few people around you who are finding it all too much. Try reading: Are you heading for burnout? What are the common signs of stress? Hint: they are some of the most common reasons people visit their doctors. In fact, stress is the Number One health problem.

We have estimated that about 90% of all doctor visits are stress related. And, we have become a society where there is a “pill for every ill”. But don’t count on your average medical doctor diagnosing and adrenal (burn-out) issues, or physiological reasons for your fatigue apart from the same old line: “you’ve probably got a low iron count or vitamin B12 deficiency” diagnosis. A high percentage of doctors are themselves burned-out or fatigued, making the diagnosis of your fatigue particularly challenging for your health care professional.

Healthcare is all about convenience today. For example, a person comes into the medical clinic with insomnia, then they are likely prescribed a sleeping pill. A person presents to their doctor with a headache, and gets a headache pill, etc.

I had a discussion in 2008 with a well-known NZ medical doctor, who came to hear an American specialist doctor talk about adrenal fatigue. The doctor mentioned that he could recognise about half his patients in this presentation, but sadly mentioned that “I our clinic, we nearly always prescribe an anti-depressant when a patient complains about fatigue”.

Are you tired and feel down about things? Perhaps it may be a wise decision on your part to determine if you suffer from clinical depression or fatigue, leading to anxiety and depression. In 2007, doctors prescribed over one million anti-depressant prescriptions in New Zealand, a country with just a little over 4 million people. Quite a lot, don’t you think?

Imagine how many antidepressants are being prescribed in the USA to adrenally fatigued patients. Just imagine. Millions.


Signs Of Stress

  • Mood swings, depression
  • Anxiety, irritability
  • Skin problems, bad breath
  • Tiredness, exhaustion
  • Muscle tension, palpitations
  • Poor concentration
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Low self-esteem & confidence
  • Poor memory, fuzzy head
Stressed_Lady

Stress Makes a Person Seek an Outlet – Often Alcohol, Drugs and Caffeine

smoking and drinkingThe common answer to many of the above problems can be to drink a little too much alcohol, eat junk foods, smoke tobacco or cannabis, self medicate with drugs such as headache pills, sleeping pills, etc, etc.. Is this really the solution? I always ask my patients this question (depending on their addictions or compulsions) “Why do you drink alcohol daily?” (or drink several cups of coffee, smoke cigarettes, weed, or have other compulsive or addictive behaviors like snacking on chocolate, or potato chips, etc.)
The common reply is “Because I like it, it makes me feel good“. The keywords here are: “to feel good”. If you are always looking for something to make you “feel good”, looking for a boost, or something to give you a kick, hit, lift, buzz, or whatever it may be, then you are likely adrenally compromised. It’s important to take positive action if you experience stress if stress over a long period, otherwise it can seriously impair your mental and physical health.


Stress Coping Strategies

The following proven coping strategies can really start to help you reduce he effects of any stress in your life.

  • Be aware of your own warning signs. This could be a sudden feeling of anxiety, extreme tiredness, feeling very tearful, catching cough, colds and flu, feeling run down frequently.
  • Review what is really causing stress for you? You may be surprised! Think about what action you might take to change things. You cause how much of your own stress? Are expectations of yourself and others realistic?
  • During stressful times we often fall into this trap. Not eating well, smoking more, turning to alcohol as a crutch. (The hangover and guilt trip the next day just adds to your problems. Instead, try this:
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, keep your sugar intake to a minimum. This can help to support your immune system in its fight against colds and flu. These acute ailments are very common when you get run down.
  • Try eating for fatigue. Eat at regular times, and the right foods. It will improve your energy levels and moods!
  • Drink plenty of water, it will help you rehydrate your body, and please drink alcohol in moderation. It dehydrates.
  • Try to keep caffeine and alcohol consumption to the minimum.
  • Try not to turn to nicotine or any other self prescribed drugs.
  • Do not feel guilty about including a period of relaxation every day. We all need to turn off from time to time. Do something you enjoy and fits into your life. This could, for example, be reading, listening to music, doing yoga or meditating, enjoying a warm bath with perhaps some aromatherapy oils added to it.
  • Make sure exercise is part of life. Exercise which is suitable for you. Walking every day is one of the best.
  • Time management. Do you often say “yes” when in fact you mean “no”? Are you always late for things? Do you get frustrated knowing you could have done a better job if you had organised your time better? Learn how to be more assertive and manage your time properly. Many of us waste so much time, often making excuses for things we have not done! There are some excellent courses available as well as books on both these subjects.
  • Consider attending a stress management training course. You do not have to be stressed to attend one of these. It is better to know fully what to do prior to experiencing stress than during, and a course can help you greatly.
  • Consider adrenal fatigue treatment. I can recommend a B Complex vitamin in addition to Magnesium as dietary supplement support.

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