Perhaps it’s a feeling of low level depression, anxiety that wasn’t previously there or a strange sense of impending doom.
You are not alone if these have been some of the “side effects” that have seemingly shown up or worsened as the levels of stress in your body have increased.
Mood issues such as depression and anxiety can of course be caused by a whole host of other health issues not related to adrenal fatigue.
However, while the types and severity of mood changes will certainly vary from person to person depending on other aspects of their health, these are common symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Here are 3 reasons why this may be occurring:
1) Chronic and Constant Low Levels of Stress
This type of chronic stress keeps the HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) activated. This in turn keeps the sympathetic nervous system activated releasing stress hormones like cortisol and keeping your system on high alert.
In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is not able to do its job and release the relaxing and calming hormones like dopamine and oxytocin.
This perpetual state of an activated sympathetic nervous system throws out the chemical balance of the body resulting in possible mood “issues” such as depression, anxiety and a sense of doom.
I remember feeling so misunderstood by a close friend who wanted to “fix” the symptom of the depression that I was feeling with supplements, and even went ahead and bought something for me without me asking. The thing is, I knew that the low level depression I was feeling was because of the imbalance going on in my body.
I knew I hadn’t felt that level of depression before my body became so stressed and I also noticed that as my body began to recover and become more relaxed, the symptom of depression began to lift.
So, it’s really important to understand yourself and what’s going on in your life. You really do know better than anyone what is “normal” for you and what is not.
2) An Overall Hormonal Imbalance Affects Your Brain’s Response
Often when levels of one hormone are off, it is very likely that many of your other hormonal levels will be off. In fact, an imbalance in the stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin does things like upset your insulin (which regulates blood sugar), upset your thyroid (which regulates metabolism, energy and mood amongst other things) and upset your sex hormones.
The thing is when your hormones are off, your neurotransmitters, i.e. that which sends the messages to your nervous system, are affected.
Marcelle Pick in her book “Is it Me or My Hormones?” says it beautifully
If your mood, energy, focus, and concentration swerve all over the place, that’s because your hormones affect your neurotransmitters, the biochemicals that allow for communication within the nervous system. Anxiety, depression and mood swings can result from imbalanced levels of stress hormones, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters, including dopamine.
So, it’s back to really getting a handle on the stress in your life by finding ways to relax regularly and looking deeply at what is creating the stress in your life, present and past.
3) You are Creating the Same Repetitive Thoughts
A lot of recent research on neuroscience by people such as Dr Joe Dispenza and Dr Bruce Lipton show that a very high percentage of the thoughts we had yesterday are also the thoughts we are having today and will be the thoughts we will likely have tomorrow.
Repetitive thought patterns, especially when they are of a negative nature, can also create the same stress response in the body over and over again (i.e. the chronic low levels of stress talked about in number 1 above).
The amygdala in the brain can initiate this stress response over and over again because of the subconscious (and conscious) thoughts we are having about situations or people in our lives. The thought alone activates the stress response.
The really great news is that you can rewire these patterns in your brain to create a different response in your system. This is not something that necessarily changes overnight, but with consistent practise it can be done.
The biggest thing is to stay with the process. The latest research from The University College London is that it actually takes 66 days on average to form a new habit, i.e. for a new process to become automatic. So, you’ve really got to stay with it, every day.
You may choose to try some things on your own such as
(i) Affirmations – saying positive statements to yourself with feeling and in the present tense
(ii) Tapping (otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Technique) – tapping on various meridian points while expressing what you are feeling
(iii) Guided Meditations – used over and over to change the subconscious conditioning of your thoughts
Or it may be more helpful for you to work with a trained professional such as
(i) A Counsellor
(ii) A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
(iii) A Hypnotherapist
Most importantly is finding a therapist that you like and trust.
My experience is that it often takes a combination of techniques and practises to really make deep and long lasting changes. And I’ll say it again, you’ve got to stay with it. Changes won’t just magically happen overnight.
You can change this, one step at a time.
Be willing and stay open. And please do whatever you can to create a “relaxation response” in your system. So much will come back into balance in your body by doing this.