Always Tired and Stressed?
Chances are you are reading this because you are tired, maybe even somewhat exhausted after getting up in the morning despite a good night’s sleep. Others will be quite tired in the afternoon, and around 3.00pm some may even feel like lying down.
At least 50% of adults who seek medical treatment self-diagnose themselves as being afflicted with fatigue. Are you tired? It is surprising how many people with fatigue seek help from their practitioner, health-food store or their pharmacy. I’ve almost always found in these situations, they recommend the person to purchase a magnesium or B complex vitamin dietary supplement. There is a lot more to fatigue than meets the eye, not just popping a pill.
You may find Eating for Fatigue a useful article and a good start. The article I wrote on Adrenal Fatigue describes one of the most common physiological reasons accounting for chronic tiredness of so many people in Western developed nations suffer from, a condition known as hypo-adrenalism, otherwise known as under-active (or ’burned-out’) adrenal glands. I’m certain that many readers will relate to this article, because so many people we see in our natural medicine clinical practices come in for similar problems.
Most people get little joy from their fatigue like state in a medical doctor’s office, apart from being told they need to ‘get a grip’ or to ‘stop being depressed and to get on with your life’. Are you fatigued?
Articles of Potential Interest
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Adrenal Fatigue Diet
- Adrenal Fatigue FAQs
- Adrenal Fatigue And Stress
- How To De-Stress
- Eating For Fatigue
- Fatigue Syndrome
- Coping With Stress
- Stress And Your Gut
- Stressing Your Children Out?
- Stress Is A Nervous System Reaction
- Why Am I Tired And Stressed All The Time?
- Muscular Tension Is Common With Stress
- Managing Your Stress Or Managing TO Stress?
Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects of Stress
We all face unique challenges and obstacles, and sometimes the pressure is hard to handle. When we feel overwhelmed, under the gun, or unsure how to meet the demands placed on us, we experience stress. In small doses, stress can be a good thing. It can give you the push you need, motivating you to do your best and to stay focused and alert.
Stress keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work or drives you to study for your midterm when you’d rather be watching TV. But when the going gets too tough and life’s demands exceed your ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both your physical and emotional well-being.Stress is a psychological and physiological response to events that upset our personal balance.
When faced with a threat, whether to our physical safety or emotional equilibrium, the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” response. We all know what this stress response feels like: heart pounding in the chest, muscles tensing up, breath coming faster, every sense on red alert.
Your Body’s Stress Response
The “fight-or-flight” stress response involves a cascade of biological changes that prepare us for emergency action. When your body senses danger, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus sets off a chemical alarm. The sympathetic nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline, nor-adrenalin and cortisol. These stress hormones race through the bloodstream, readying us to either flee the scene or battle it out. When the threat becomes resolved, the body secretes another hormone called acetylcholine, which helps the body to lower the stress hormones, allowing the body to return to a normal state.
With stress, heart rate and blood flow to the large muscles increase so we can run faster and fight harder. Blood vessels under the skin constrict to prevent blood loss in case of injury, blood tends to clots less readily, just in case we bleed, pupils dilate so we can see better, and our blood sugar increases, giving us an energy boost and speeding up reaction time. Your body suppresses processes not essential to your immediate survival. The digestive and reproductive systems slow down, growth hormones become switched off, and your immune response becomes inhibited.
This is stress, and many of these bodily processes can really mess with our health if they remain in a chronic low grade state long term.
The biological stress response protects and support us. It’s what helped our stone age ancestors survive the life-or-death situations they commonly faced. But in the modern world, most of the stress we feel is in response to psychological rather than physical threats. Caring for a chronically ill child, being caught in peak hour traffic with our mobile phone or getting audited by the tax department all qualify as stressful situations, but they do not call for either fight or flight. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t make this distinction.
Whether we’re stressed over a looming deadline, an argument with a friend, or a mountain of bills, the warning bells ring. And just like a cave dweller confronting a large animal, we go into automatic overdrive. Our minds cannot distinguish between real or perceived stressful events, either.
If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, you may run on stress a good portion of the time, launching into an emergency mode with every traffic jam, phone call from the in-laws, or segment of the evening news as you sit down trying to digest your evening meal. But the problem with an increasingly activated stress response is that the more it gets activated, the harder it is to shut off. Instead of behaviour off once the crisis has passed, your stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure all remain elevated.
Extended or repeated activation of the stress response takes a heavy toll on the body. Prolonged exposure to stress increases your risk of everything from heart disease, obesity, and infection to anxiety, depression, and memory problems. Because of the widespread damage it can cause, it’s essential to learn how to deal with stress in a more positive way and reduce its impact on your daily life.
The particular rest you need to recover from stress and adrenal fatigue comes not so much from lying down, but from standing up for yourself, and from removing or minimising the harmful stresses in your life.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
To get a handle on stress, you first need to learn how to recognise it in yourself. Stress affects the mind and body, all directly tied to the physiological changes of the fight-or-flight response. The specific signs and symptoms of stress can vary widely. Some people primarily experience physical symptoms, such as low back pain, stomach problems, and skin outbreaks. In others, the stress pattern judgement around emotional symptoms, such as crying spells or hypersensitivity.
For still others, changes in the way they think or behave predominates.The following lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. Use it to identify the symptoms you typically experience when you’re under stress. If you know your red flags, you can take early steps to deal with the stressful situation before it—or your emotions—spiral out of control.
Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
- Memory problems
- Poor short-term memory
- Can’t focus
- Mind wanders
- Inability to concentrate
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Poor Behaviour
- Seeing only the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Loss of objectivity
- Fearful anticipation
- Short temper
- Irritability, impatience
- Inability to relax
- Feeling tense and “on edge”
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Depression or general unhappiness