by : Dr. Christiane Northrup: This summer I’ve been rereading The Healing Secrets of the Ages, by Catherine Ponder, and want to share her insights on adrenal exhaustion.
I was drawn to Catherine Ponder’s books as a young doctor, and return to them again and again. Ponder was one of the first to write for the masses about the mind/body/spirit connection, which she began in the 1960s. In The Healing Secrets of the Ages, Ponder connects health conditions to emotional issues and life circumstances. According to Ponder, the adrenal glands are where the Strength center of our body is located. This is where you get the ability to “keep on keeping on” and to endure.
You probably know that the adrenals are there to spur you on, to give you energy to tackle stressful situations, both emotional and physical. The adrenals—think adrenaline—are closely connected with the sympathetic nervous system (the gas) as opposed to the parasympathetic nervous system (the brake). During times of fight or flight, you need the sympathetic nervous system to change your physiology, so you can take action. You also need the parasympathetic nervous system to change your physiology, so you can benefit from deep rest and restoration.
Unfortunately, many women’s adrenals are tasked with constantly producing the hormones that keep them amped up. Abnormal adrenaline and cortisol levels can result in mood disorders, sleep disturbances, reduced immunity, and changes in vital circulation. Because these side effects are not uncomfortable enough to be intolerable, a self-destructive, adrenal-depleting lifestyle often continues.
Eventually, the adrenals become overtaxed and exhausted, and can’t keep up with the burden. Sound familiar?
Women with adrenal exhaustion often complain of too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them. If you’ve got a lengthy to do list, make sure you’re avoiding this trap: the old “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” That’s a false sense of responsibility, and it also depletes your adrenals.
Here’s an affirmation that will help you embrace your responsibilities and keep you from being a martyr. Affirmations can help you uncover a spiritual solution to physical ailments, which in turn promote true healing:
I no longer resent my responsibilities. They are expanding my good in every phase of my world. My yoke is easy and my burdens are light.
The same is true of perfectionism—having impossible standards for yourself. I suggest you check out the Fly Lady, who gives great tips for overcoming perfectionism and easing day-to-day responsibilities. For example, set a timer for 15 minutes per day to do burdensome tasks. You can do anything for 15 minutes.
Strong Emotions Task the Adrenals
When Catherine Ponder talks about strength, she’s referring to emotional strength, too. Ponder explains that the adrenals react strongly to unhealthy mental and emotional conditions, such as jealousy, hate, fear, as well as struggles of success, power, or position. Strong emotions cause the adrenals to release extra reserves of stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). And, because the production of these hormones requires a lot of nutrients, including B vitamins and magnesium, excessive emotional demands will exhaust the adrenals. Your lower back can be affected, too.
Adrenal exhaustion usually suggests that there are long-standing life problems in need of resolution. These issues will loom all the larger when seen with the no-nonsense mental clarity of perimenopause. Not only will adrenal exhaustion make the transition needlessly unpleasant, it also can deprive a woman of the resources she needs to address those issues and to take full advantage of the creative promise of the second half of her life.
This need not be the case! The solution is to remind yourself there is an endless source of strength available to you. Tap into it and shore up your inner strength with this beautiful affirmation:
New strength is flowing freely to every part of my being now.
I am renewed in spirit, soul, and body.
If you persistently affirm the strength available to you and your adrenals, the power of your mind and body will be activated. Try it for 30 days. Then let me know your results and experiences by leaving me a message here or on my Facebook page.