Why Do I Have to Feel Worse Before Feeling Better?

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stressed and fatigued man

It seems cruel, but sometimes it seems like your body punishes you for doing the right thing. For example, many people, when starting their journey to battle adrenal fatigue, start to feel worse before feeling better. They’re watching their diet, monitoring their lifestyle to eliminate and reduce stress, supplementing with good nutrients, yet are worse for the wear than before. To get a better understanding of why his happens, we’re stepping into the time machine to pay a visit to one of the pioneers of modern medicine — Hippocrates.

Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) was credited with being the first to argue that diseases are caused naturally, not by godly acts. He put forth the idea that diseases are the product of environmental factors: things like a low-nutrient diet, harsh weather and bad habits. And all this more than 2,000 years ago, in an age when most people believed the Earth was flat and you could fall off the edge.

To explain the worse before better puzzle, Hippocrates put forth the idea of the ‘crisis.’ A crisis in the healing process meant a turning point in the patient’s condition; these would occur at multiple set points during the recovery process, especially toward the beginning. He realized these setbacks would often happen after treatment because it stimulated the body’s ‘vital principle’—the force that animates living beings—which would throw off the recovery process. A crisis could manifest as a bowel irritation, headache, low-grade fever, severe tiredness or a skin rash to name a few. Severity also varies, with symptoms ranging from mild to sometimes severe. In my practice, I generally find that in chronic cases a patient may call or email me around the three day mark to ask if it’s normal to feel worse before feeling better.

As a practitioner himself, Hippocrates was passive yet observant, basing his therapeutic approach on “the healing power of nature.” Hippocrates believed rest and immobilization were the two most important aspects of the recovery process. He also believed that the physician needed to be kind to the patient and intend no harm; these tenants are upheld today, and are known (surprise!) as the Hippocratic Oath. The treatments Hippocrates used on his own patients were (mostly) gentle, with an emphasis on keeping the patient ‘pure’ and sterile. Patients were encouraged to rest and take it easy to minimize any crises during the important healing process.

So in this present day, how do you go about minimizing your own crises after starting a treatment? You go low and start slow with treatment, especially if you have been chronically unwell. Your body will need time to slowly adapt to the changes you are introducing, so be patient. Don’t act in haste and quit your treatment right away because you think it’s not working; these setbacks are temporary, and if you can push through them you will be rewarded for your efforts.

dr eric bakkerAbout the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

Thoughts for Stepping Into the Holidays with Adrenal Fatigue

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Dr. James L. WilsonLooking forward to the New Year with optimism doesn’t always come easy for those with adrenal fatigue. In the midst of the holiday’s social gatherings, late nights, rich food, and magnified financial considerations, stress can affect even the heartiest person. Everyone has a different capacity to handle stress, and that capacity varies over time and events. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the body’s capacity to cope with and recover from it. In addition to the usual stresses of this season, the twists and turns of one of history’s greatest economic storms has hit many people hard, ending 2011 with an overwhelming stress load for adrenals to handle.

Despite how burned out you might feel right now, I want to assure you that the new year can be better; that the past doesn’t necessarily equal the future. It IS possible to recover from the debilitating symptoms of adrenal fatigue – with some knowledge, the right tools, and a commitment to feeling good again. Even in adrenal fatigue, the body is still wonderful, beautiful and incredibly wise. We may not able to change outside events or society, but we can learn to use better judgment when it comes to taking care of ourselves and to respond to stress in healthier ways.

As a New Year and a new decade begin, it is an opportune time to review – and renew – your life, to realize how important health is in the overall scheme of your life and to make your own health a top priority. Honestly ask yourself: “How much would I sell or trade my health for? How hard would I work if I could earn good health?” One of the few saving graces about adrenal fatigue is that you can do most of what is necessary to recover and regain your adrenal health, yourself. Being in charge of your life is important for adrenal health; researchers have found from earlier scientific experiments that rendering an animal helpless is one of the most rapid ways to deplete its adrenals. Putting yourself in charge your health does not mean doing it all yourself, however. Solicit the help of anyone or anything that will lead to your healthy recovery – as long as you retain control of your own recovery program.

Taking your health into your own hands is very empowering but not without its challenges. There are no magic pills for adrenal fatigue. It takes time and dedication to embark on a recovery program, but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery. What you eat and drink, the thoughts you feed your mind, the beliefs you base your life on, the attitudes that guide your choices, the people you spend time with and the way you spend your time all have a potent influence on your health.

The precise, comprehensive program I developed to address all of these different aspects of adrenal health and stress has been gratifyingly successful at empowering many people to effectively help themselves. I hope you find the following “D-E-S-T-R-E-S-S” acronym useful as a guideline for starting the new year with a fresh outlook and a positive frame of mind, making 2012 your time for establishing adrenal health and attaining greater happiness and health:

  • Define who and what are important in your life and Decide to live accordingly.
  • Energize yourself with foods that nourish, and Exercise to increase circulation, optimize function and eliminate toxins.
  • Support your body with dietary Supplements designed specifically to help compensate for the effects of stress on your body and supply nutrients used up during stress.
  • Take Time to breathe deeply and fully, to find a moment of calm, and to enjoy something each day
  • Reframe events that stress you in order to Release yourself from paralysis so you can discover what you can do, and how you can benefit from these events or turn them to your advantage.
  • Eliminate energy robbers and health drains, and Establish clear boundaries.
  • Sleep to give your body a chance to recharge and heal, and your mind a few moments of Silent Solace each day so you are refreshed and ready to take effective action.
  • Smile and See the Soul-fullness in your life. The physical action of smiling changes how you feel inside, which changes how you behave and how your body reacts.

Yours in health,

Dr. James L. Wilson

“Start Low and Go Slow” with Supplements for Stress & Adrenal Fatigue

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Some people experiencing adrenal fatigue may notice that they feel a little worse after beginning a dietary supplement program designed for stress and adrenal support. This can feel like a cold or flu that never quite comes to fruition, achiness or being “slightly under the weather.”

There are several reasons this can happen specifically when introducing high quality adrenal supplements. During both stress and adrenal fatigue some of the physiological processes modulated by adrenal hormones slow down, including immune function, detoxification and elimination of waste. When the supplements start supporting the adrenal glands and adrenal hormone production, these processes pick up again. It is the new spurt of detoxification and immune activity, not the supplements themselves, that produces the feelings of unwellness.

With enhanced adrenal function, the liver initially has to work harder to get rid of toxins that have built up throughout the body during the period of adrenal fatigue and stress. This means that the toxins are released from the cells and sent to the liver to be degraded and/or eliminated. Both the release of the toxins and the increased liver activity can create temporary aches, malaise and toxic symptoms.

As the immune system gets the signal to increase activity from the adrenal hormone, cortisol, it sends out white blood cells to find and eliminate any lurking pathogens (viruses, bacteria, aberrant cells and other harmful organisms) that have taken hold during the period of adrenal fatigue, stress and lower immune function. Just as during an illness, it is primarily the biochemical actions of the white blood cells that produce the symptoms of sickness. Hence, during the initial phase of adrenal support, the renewed immune activity can create temporary flu or cold-like symptoms and a low grade fever.

Therefore, temporarily feeling worse at the beginning of the adrenal supplement program may be a good indication that the adrenal support is effective. This typically happens the first time the supplements are used consistently and should only last about two to three weeks. During this period, continue to take the recommended dosage and make sure to drink a lot of water to promote healthy adrenal, immune and liver function, as well as facilitate elimination of toxins.

Start Low and Go Slow

Adrenal Quartet HASF largeBecause it is often most beneficial to allow the body to slowly adjust to new chemistry, Dr. Wilson suggests the motto “Start Low and Go Slow” to those beginning an adrenal supplement program. Begin with a low dosage and increase the daily amount slowly over a period of time.

To assess how the new supplement may affect you, begin at the lowest recommended dose for a week and see how you feel. If you’re doing fine with that amount, increase your daily dosage by one supplement and maintain that level for another week. Continue on like this, assessing your tolerance weekly, until you reach the recommended daily dosage.

Depending upon the impact stress and adrenal fatigue have had, it can take anywhere from six months to over two years of consistently following an adrenal fatigue program to fully achieve optimal results. However, a successful outcome is both possible and probable, and during this whole recovery period there should be relatively steady progress, especially after the first month or two.

Although many people quickly experience an increased sense of wellness with the initial intake of dietary supplements, it is important to continue for as long as needed with a dedicated program that includes a combination of:

  • Healthy lifestyle modifications
  • Proper nutrition
  • Correct dietary supplements
  • Moderate physical exercise and daily movement

Remember: “Start Low and Go Slow” and you will get there.

Minimizing Adrenal Fatigue & Letdown After a Stressful Event

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depressed young manThe letdown that almost invariably follows an illness, a stressful event or even the holiday season is largely attributable to adrenal fatigue. However, with proper adrenal support you can often minimize or avoid the letdown and maintain a healthy ability to handle stress. To understand why letdown occurs, it is helpful to know a little about the pattern of physiological adjustments your body makes in response to stress — regardless of its source.

Primarily through adrenal hormones, you prepare for the same physical “fight or flight” reactions as did primitive man, even though modern day stress rarely requires that you physically fight or flee. Your initial stress reaction produces a large rise in cortisol, adrenaline and other adrenal hormones that mobilize your energy, mental and physical resources to take action. This lasts for a few minutes to a few hours — essentially how long it might take you to fight or run away from a threat. At the end of this alarm phase there is a recovery period lasting a few hours to a few days (depending upon the magnitude of the stress) when levels of cortisol and other adrenal hormones drop and remain low. This is a natural letdown phase during which you likely feel more tired and listless and want to rest. At this time your adrenals are temporarily fatigued and less able to respond to stress. The more fatigued or depleted your adrenals were at the time of the initial alarm, the longer and more debilitated your letdown.

If stress continues, your adrenals adapt to handle it by producing slightly elevated levels of hormones, particularly cortisol, in a kind of constant semi-alarm phase. This phase can last for weeks, months or even for many years. However, your body’s prolonged biochemical readiness for “fight or flight” without commensurate physical action causes increasing problems in your body the longer it goes on, and it becomes another source of stress. If stress persists beyond your adrenal’s capacity to maintain this higher function, or another stressful event occurs, your adrenals may eventually become depleted, leaving you in the more lasting letdown of adrenal fatigue and no longer able to respond adequately to stress.

Stress intensifies the demands on your body — nutrients are used up faster than they can be replaced by food, toxic by-products rapidly build up, and every organ and gland (including your brain) is asked to work harder. Your adrenal glands must respond to every stress you experience by producing hormones that help your body cope with the stress and maintain homeostasis.

When you can anticipate stressful times, you can make a significant difference to how you will feel and the amount of letdown you will experience by paying attention to what your body needs and stepping up your level of self care. The following tips should minimize letdown, and help you bounce back more quickly, become more stress hardy, sustain good energy, experience more refreshing sleep, and remain calm, clear-headed, focused and steady.

  • Eat what your body needs to function optimally by choosing fresh, wholesome food. When your adrenals are stressed, it is especially important to eat regular meals morning, noon and evening which each contain protein, healthy fat and complex carbohydrate.
  • Avoid foods that stress your body, such as sugar, white flour/refined grains,hydrogenated oils, excessive additives and junk food.
  • Minimize substances that over-stimulate your adrenals, such as caffeine.
  • Exercise regularly and make sure you get up and move around frequently throughout the day to help keep that “fight or flight” reaction from creating further internal stress.
  • For at least ten minutes a day take a mental break – concentrate on your breathing, meditate or focus on something peaceful.
  • Take dietary supplements specifically designed to support and strengthen your adrenal glands for at least a month leading up to the anticipated stressful time, as well as for as long as needed afterward. Look for supplements, like the ones suggested below, formulated by an expert in stress to provide your adrenals and stressed body with precise forms, amounts, and ratios of high quality, natural ingredients they can optimally assimilate and utilize to enhance your health and minimize letdown.  The right supplements can make a world of difference.
  • If you are stressed and having difficulty staying balanced during the day, tend to feel anxious or mildly depressed, or are having trouble sleeping, look for a combination of organic herbs designed to support the Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal (HPA) axis and adrenal function to help balance you during the day and promote sound sleep at night.
  • Adrenal hormone production is very nutrient intensive, so supplementing with the precise nutrients your adrenals need to make these hormones can help you feel good and maintain a healthy response to stress. To enhance your response to and feel better while under stress, look for a combination of vitamins and minerals formulated in precise ratios, forms and amounts to replenish the specific nutrients used up by stress, facilitate the production of adrenal hormones, and support adrenal health.
  • To replenish the vitamin C that gets rapidly used up during stress, look for a true sustained release supplement that provides a steady supply of an optimal amount of vitamin C, plus a 1:2 ratio of bioflavonoids to vitamin C to enhance the vitamin C activity and help protect your tissues from the oxidizing damage of stress, as well as trace minerals to neutralize the acidity of vitamin C so it’s easier on your stomach.
  • If you have been depleted by stress, your adrenal glands may need deep replenishment and extra support to maintain healthy function and adequately respond to further stress. Look for a hormone-free multiglandular that contains adrenal, hypothalamus, gonad and pituitary concentrates designed to provide natural building blocks that fundamentally support and strengthen the structure and function of the adrenals and other glands affected by stress.
  • Many people who feel stressed also experience energy lows at in the morning, mid-afternoon, or after exertion. To help temporarily bolster your energy at these times, look for a caffeine- free energy booster that is designed specifically to both provide support to your adrenals and naturally enhance your energy levels.

By taking steps to bolster and protect your health from stress, you can minimize the debilitating letdown that often occurs during and/or after a stressful event, and discover a new level of steadiness and stamina that allows you to enjoy life more fully, even in stressful times.

Thoughts for Stepping Into a Healthy New Year with Adrenal Fatigue

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Dr. James L. WilsonLooking forward to the New Year with optimism doesn’t always come easy for those with adrenal fatigue. In the midst of the holiday’s social gatherings, late nights, rich food, and magnified financial considerations, stress can affect even the heartiest person. Everyone has a different capacity to handle stress, and that capacity varies over time and events. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the body’s capacity to cope with and recover from it. In addition to the usual stresses of this season, the twists and turns of one of history’s greatest economic storms has hit many people hard, ending 2009 with an overwhelming stress load for adrenals to handle.

Despite how burned out you might feel right now, I want to assure you that the new year can be better; that the past doesn’t necessarily equal the future. It IS possible to recover from the debilitating symptoms of adrenal fatigue – with some knowledge, the right tools, and a commitment to feeling good again. Even in adrenal fatigue, the body is still wonderful, beautiful and incredibly wise. We may not able to change outside events or society, but we can learn to use better judgment when it comes to taking care of ourselves and to respond to stress in healthier ways.

As a New Year and a new decade begin, it is an opportune time to review – and renew – your life, to realize how important health is in the overall scheme of your life and to make your own health a top priority. Honestly ask yourself: “How much would I sell or trade my health for? How hard would I work if I could earn good health?” One of the few saving graces about adrenal fatigue is that you can do most of what is necessary to recover and regain your adrenal health, yourself. Being in charge of your life is important for adrenal health; researchers have found from earlier scientific experiments that rendering an animal helpless is one of the most rapid ways to deplete its adrenals. Putting yourself in charge your health does not mean doing it all yourself, however. Solicit the help of anyone or anything that will lead to your healthy recovery – as long as you retain control of your own recovery program.

Taking your health into your own hands is very empowering but not without its challenges. There are no magic pills for adrenal fatigue. It takes time and dedication to embark on a recovery program, but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery. What you eat and drink, the thoughts you feed your mind, the beliefs you base your life on, the attitudes that guide your choices, the people you spend time with and the way you spend your time all have a potent influence on your health.

The precise, comprehensive program I developed to address all of these different aspects of adrenal health and stress has been gratifyingly successful at empowering many people to effectively help themselves. I hope you find the following D-E-S-T-R-E-S-S acronym useful as a guideline for starting the new year with a fresh outlook and a positive frame of mind, making 2010 your time for establishing adrenal health and attaining greater happiness and health:

  • Define who and what are important in your life and Decide to live accordingly.
  • Energize yourself with foods that nourish, and Exercise to increase circulation, optimize function and eliminate toxins.
  • Support your body with dietary Supplements designed specifically to help compensate for the effects of stress on your body and supply nutrients used up during stress.
  • Take Time to breathe deeply and fully, to find a moment of calm, and to enjoy something each day.
  • Reframe events that stress you in order to Release yourself from paralysis so you can discover what you can do, and how you can benefit from these events or turn them to your advantage.
  • Eliminate energy robbers and health drains, and Establish clear boundaries.
  • Sleep to give your body a chance to recharge and heal, and your mind a few moments of Silent Solace each day so you are refreshed and ready to take effective action.
  • Smile and See the Soul-fullness in your life. The physical action of smiling changes how you feel inside, which changes how you behave and how your body reacts.

Yours in health,

Dr. James L. Wilson

Adrenal Fatigue: How to Beat Negative Thinking

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Which came first, the depression or the pessimistic thoughts? The answer may surprise you! In many cases, depression actually is the result of habitual negative thoughts. When bad things happen, we begin chastising ourselves with thoughts such as: “I’m no good, I’m a total failure” or “Nothing ever goes my way”, or “I’m fat, stupid, lazy”, etc. Our feelings constantly follow what we are thinking, and negative thoughts like these can send us spiraling down into anxiety and depression.

Your thoughts are your world; they create a blueprint for how things will turn out for you in your life. This article is excellent and so relevant for many patients I see in general naturopathic practice. Print it out and read it carefully. Which category do you slot into? Are you like Rhonda, or maybe like Donna? Look at your “self-talk”, you may be too hard on yourself or maybe have an unreasonably high expectation of yourself and others. We are all guilty of this – because we are all human beings.

People with adrenal fatigue people often experience depression, anxiety and generally feelings of unhappiness at some stage. Understanding why and how you think and react to a given situation allows you to “reframe” as Dr. Wilson mentions in his book Adrenal Fatigue The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Our practice has sold hundreds of copies and I can’t recommend this book highly enough for anybody to read either for themselves or to give to a friend or family member who has fatigue or suffers from stress. If we think something often enough, we begin to believe it’s true and our feelings match what we are thinking about ourselves. To conquer depression, we must stop those automatic negative thoughts and replace them with more positive, truthful ones. By nipping these thoughts in the bud, we can halt depression before it even starts.

From “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”

See if you recognize yourself in any of these 10 common cognitive distortions or faulty thought patterns that send us into depression.

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking: John recently applied for a promotion in his firm. The job went to another employee with more experience. John wanted this job badly and now feels that he will never be promoted. He feels that he is a total failure in his career. He thinks it is all over for him and he will never get an opportunity like this again.  Of course he won’t, this is what he is projecting to others.

2. Overgeneralization: Linda is lonely and often spends most of her time at home. Her friends sometimes ask her to come out for dinner and meet new people. Linda feels that that is it useless to try to meet people. No one really could like her. People are all mean and superficial anyway.

3. Mental Filter: Mary is having a bad day. As she drives home, a kind gentleman waves her to go ahead of him as she merges into traffic. Later in her trip, another driver cuts her off. She grumbles to herself that there are nothing but rude and insensitive people in her city.

4. Disqualifying the Positive: Rhonda just had her portrait made. Her friend tells her how beautiful she looks. Rhonda brushes aside the compliment by saying that the photographer must have touched up the picture. She never looks that good in real life, she thinks.

5. Jumping to Conclusions: Geoff is waiting for his date at a restaurant. She’s now 20 minutes late. Geoff laments to himself that he must have done something wrong and now she has stood him up. Meanwhile, across town, his date is stuck in traffic. “what a bitch, she has stood me up” thinks Geoff.

6. Magnification & Minimization: Scott is playing football. He bungles a play that he’s been practicing for weeks. He later scores the winning touchdown. His teammates compliment him. He tells them he should have played better; the touchdown was just pure “dumb luck.”

7. Emotional Reasoning: Laura looks around her untidy house and feels overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning. She feels that it’s hopeless to even try to clean.

8. Should Statements: David is sitting in his doctor’s waiting room. His doctor is running late. David sits stewing, thinking, “With how much I’m paying him, he should be on time. He ought to have more consideration.” He ends up feeling bitter and resentful.

9. Labeling & Mislabeling: Donna just cheated on her diet. “I’m just a fat, lazy pig”, she thinks.

10. Personalization: Jean’s son is doing poorly in school. She feels that she must be a bad mother. She feels that it’s all her fault that he isn’t studying.

If you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself, then you’re halfway there. Here’s a homework assignment for you: Over the next few weeks, monitor the self-defeating ways in which you respond to situations. Practice recognizing your automatic responses. Now, we will take each of the above cognitive distortions and discuss some powerful coping strategies that will help you dispel the blues before they even start.

All-or-Nothing Thinking:
John recently applied for a promotion in his firm. The job went to another employee with more experience. John wanted this job very badly and now feels that he will never be promoted. He feels that he is a total failure in his career.

This type of thinking is characterized by absolute terms like always, never, and forever. Few situations are ever this absolute. There are generally gray areas. Eliminate these absolute terms from your vocabulary except for the cases where they truly apply. Look for a more accurate description of the situation. Here’s an example of self-talk that John could have used to cope with not getting that promotion:

“I wanted this job a lot, but it went to someone with more experience. This is disappointing to me, but it doesn’t mean I’m not a good employee. Other opportunities will be available in the future. I’ll keep working on my skills so that I’ll be ready for them when they arrive. This one setback does not mean my career is over. Overall, I have excelled in my work.”

Overgeneralization:
Linda is lonely and often spends most of her time at home. Her friends sometimes ask her to come out for dinner and meet new people. Linda feels that that is it useless to try to meet people. No one really could like her. People are all mean and superficial anyway.

When one over generalizes, one takes an isolated case or cases and assumes that all others are the same. Are people really all mean and superficial and could never like her? What about her friends who are trying to get her to go out? Obviously she does have someone who cares about her. The next time you catch yourself over generalizing, remind yourself that even though a group of people may share something in common, they are also separate and unique individuals. No two people are exactly the same. There may be mean and superficial people in this world. There may even be people who dislike you. But, not every person will fit this description. By assuming that everyone doesn’t like you, you are building a wall that will prevent you from having what you crave the most — friendship.

Mental Filter:
Mary is having a bad day. As she drives home, another driver cuts her off. She grumbles to herself that there are nothing but rude and insensitive people in her town. Later, a kind gentleman waves her go ahead of him. She continues on her way still angry at how rude all the people in her city are. When a person falls victim to mental filters they are mentally singling out only the bad events in their lives and overlooking the positive. Learn to look for that silver lining in every cloud. It’s all about how you choose to let events effect you. Mary could have turned her whole day around if she had paid attention to that nice man who went out of his way to help her.

Disqualifying the Positive:
Rhonda just had her portrait made. Her friend tells her how beautiful she looks. Rhonda brushes aside the compliment by saying that the photographer must have touched up the picture. She says she never looks that good in real life. We depressives are masters at taking the good in a situation and turning it into a negative. Part of this comes from a tendency to have low self- esteem. We feel like we just don’t deserve it. How to turn this around is simple. The next time someone compliments you, resist the little voice inside that says you don’t deserve it. Just say “thank you” and smile. The more you do this, the easier it will become.

Jumping to Conclusions:
Geoff is waiting for his date at a restaurant. She’s now 20 minutes late. Geoff laments to himself that he must have done something wrong and now she has stood him up. Meanwhile, across town, his date is stuck in traffic. “what a bitch, she has stood me up” thinks Geoff. Once again, we fall victim to our own insecurities. We expect the worst and begin preparing early for the disappointment. By the time we find out that all our fears were unfounded, we’ve worked ourselves into a frenzy and for what? Next time do this: Give the person the benefit of the doubt. You’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary worry. If your fears have some basis in reality, however, drop that person from your life like a hot potato.

Magnification and Minimization:
Scott is playing football. He bungles a play that he’s been practicing for weeks. He later scores the winning touchdown. His teammates compliment him. He tells them he should have played better; the touchdown was just dumb luck. Ever looked through a telescope from the wrong direction? Everything looks tinier than it really is. When you look through the other end, everything looks larger. People who fall into the magnification-minimization trap look at all their successes through the wrong end of the telescope and their failures through the other end. What can you do to stay away from this error? Remember the old saying, “He can’t see the forest for the trees?” When one mistake bogs us down, we forget to look at the overall picture. Step back and look at the forest now and then. Overall, Scott played a good game. So what if he made a mistake?

Emotional Reasoning:  
Laura looks around her untidy house and feels overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning. She feels that it’s hopeless to even try to clean. Laura has based her assessment of the situation on how it makes her feel not how it really is. It may make her feel bad to think of the large task ahead of her, but is it really hopeless? In reality, cleaning her house is a doable task. She just doesn’t feel up to it. She has reached the conclusion that it is useless to try based on the fact that it overwhelms her. When a situation feels overwhelming, try this: Break down the task down into smaller ones. Then prioritize what is most important to you. Now, do the first task on your list. Believe it or not, you will begin to feel better and ready for more. The important thing is to just do something towards your goal. No matter how small, it’s a start and will break you out of feeling helpless.

Should Statements:
David is sitting in his doctor’s waiting room. His doctor is running late. David sits stewing, thinking, “With how much I’m paying him, he should be on time. He ought to have more consideration.” He ends up feeling bitter and resentful. We all think things should be a certain way, but let’s face it, they aren’t. Concentrate on what you can change and if you can’t change it, accept it as part of life and go on. Your mental health is more important than “the way things should be.”

Labeling and Mislabeling:  
Donna just cheated on her diet. I’m a fat, lazy pig she thinks. What Donna has done is label herself as lazy and hopeless. She most likely will reason that since she can’t lose weight, she may as well eat. She has now effectively trapped herself by living up to the label she placed on herself. When we label ourselves, we set ourselves up to become whatever that label entails. This can just as easily work to our advantage. Here’s what Donna could have done to make labeling work in her favor. She could have considered the fact that up until now she has been strong. She could then forgive herself for only being human and acknowledge that she has been working hard to lose weight and has been succeeding. This is a temporary setback that she can overcome. Overall, she is a strong person and has proven it by her successful weight loss. With this type of positive thinking, Donna will feel better and be back to work on her weight loss goals in no time.

Personalization:
Jean’s son is doing poorly in school. She feels that she must be a bad mother. It’s all her fault that he isn’t studying. Jean is taking all the responsibility for how her son is doing in school. She is failing to take into consideration that her son is an individual who is ultimately responsible for himself. She can do her best to guide him, but in the end he controls his actions. Next time you find yourself doing this, ask yourself, “Would I take credit if this person were doing something praiseworthy? Chances are you’d say, “No, he accomplished that by himself.” So why blame yourself when he does something not-so praiseworthy? Beating yourself up is not going to change his behavior. Only he can do that. The solutions I’ve presented here are some of the common situations we find ourselves in.

Take these as examples and create your own positive solutions to your negative thoughts. Recognizing that you do it is the first step. Then play devil’s advocate and challenge yourself to find the positive. Turn your thoughts around and your moods will follow suit. Remember, you are what you think!

References

Burns, David D. “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”. Avon Books : New York, NY, 1999.

About the Author

dr eric bakkerEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com.  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

The Flu Shot & Adrenal Fatigue

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Whether or not to get a flu shot is an individual decision, even if you have adrenal fatigue

My reservation about the H1N1 flu shot is the same as it is about any other flu shot in any other year. Each flu vaccine only protects against one or two specific strains of influenza. However, there are many viruses and bacteria that make people ill, especially during the winter months. Vaccination against only one or two strains, albeit common or particularly virulent ones, does nothing to protect against the many other causes of flu and respiratory infections. I have had the same question posed to me by my staff and what I told them is that the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from this virus or any other cause of the flu or other upper respiratory ailment is to continually strengthen your immune function. Arm yourself by doing the key things that lead to a strong and responsive immune system:

• Be proactive by regularly using (especially in the months preceding and during cold and flu seasons) the supplements that enhance and build your body’s own natural immune processes over time.

• In addition, take approximately 2,000 mg per day of the best vitamin C you can find (sustained-release, pH balanced, with 1 mg of bioflavonoids for every 2 mg ascorbic acid), and 15 to 30 mg per day of zinc gluconate or picolinate.

• Keep a quick-acting, natural immune booster on hand to help nip things in the bud in case something slips by your immune defenses.

• Adopt an immune-hardy lifestyle by getting eight to nine hours of sleep a night; eating nutritious foods with abundant vegetables, whole grains and some fruits; avoid junk foods and driving yourself with caffeine; and exercise within your tolerance but without exhausting yourself.

It is true that if you are going through adrenal fatigue, you are more vulnerable to respiratory infections. However, the steps listed above combined with proper adrenal support will go a long way toward helping you stay healthy during the winter. If you do get the flu, it will probably be much milder and shorter-lived than had you not taken care of yourself in this way. By continuing to support your adrenals, your recovery should be better, faster and stronger. An important thing to remember during the recovery phase is that once you begin to feel better, not to push yourself. Already this fall I know of two incidences where people with adrenal fatigue got the H1N1 virus, but with continued adrenal support recovered very quickly — only to over extend themselves too soon, get exhausted and further weaken already challenged adrenals, and then become ill with another virus. Had they taken two more days to rest and recover, or had they also strengthened their immune systems, they would probably both have been fine.

Having a flu shot can give you a false sense of security and lull you into believing you are protected from all flus, when in fact you are only protected from one or two specific pathogens. Taking care of your body and personal responsibility for your health, including preparing for the winter by strengthening your immunity as well as maximizing adrenal support if you have adrenal fatigue, is an important concept to understand.

Yours in health,

Dr. James Wilson 

Dr. Wilson’s Guidelines for Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue

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Here are some general guidelines to follow and things to avoid to help you recover from adrenal fatigue. Use this list as a reference guide and adapt it to your particular situation.

Dr. James L. WilsonThings to Do for Adrenal Fatigue

  • Make your lifestyle a healing one
  • Do something pleasurable every day
  • Be in bed before 10PM
  • Sleep in until 9AM whenever possible
  • Look for things that make you laugh
  • Eliminate the energy robbers (things in your life that drain your energy)
  • Take action on one of the “three things you can do” whenever you are not enjoying your life – first locate the energy robbers and then 1) change the situation, 2) change yourself to adapt to the situation, or 3) leave the situation. Notice at least one small, everyday thing that you are grateful for each day
  • Take your dietary supplements, regularly
  • Move your body and breathe deeply
  • Believe in your ability to recover
  • Use your mind as a powerful healing tool
  • Keep a journal – jot down your experiences each day
  • Eat the foods your body needs
  • Learn which foods make you feel bad (keep a list of them)
  • Read/Re-Read Part 3 of Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
  • If you do not have high blood pressure, try having a glass of water in the morning containing ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt stirred in until dissolved. If this makes you feel better, continue doing it. Note: On mornings when you exercise fully, you may not want as much salt. Be mindful of your cravings for salt and potassium containing foods (e.g. bananas, melon, potatoes, tomatoes, beans) during the day. These desires may serve as rough indicators of adrenal function during the day.
  • When you eat fruit, have something with salt before or after the fruit and chew very well
  • Combine starchy carbohydrates, protein and fats at every meal, including breakfast
  • Always eat breakfast – it is very important for people experiencing adrenal fatigue
  • Eat an abundance of whole foods – those foods which are eaten like nature grows them
  • Eat lots of colored vegetables
  • Chew your food well
  • Take the power and responsibility of your health into your own hands
  • Make whatever lifestyle changes you need to make to regain your health
  • Laugh several times every day
  • Enjoy your recovery
  • Take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C complex with 200mg magnesium and pantothenic acid at approximately 2PM every day along with a small snack containing protein, complex carbohydrate and fat in order to help avoid the 3-4PM low
  • Follow my Program for Adrenal Fatigue and Stress

Things to Avoid with Adrenal Fatigue

  • Getting overtired
  • Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and white flour products
  • Coffee, even decaf
  • Staying up past 11PM
  • Pushing yourself
  • Energy robbers
  • Being harsh or negative with yourself
  • Feeling sorry for yourself
  • Foods you are addicted to
  • Foods you suspect an allergy or sensitivity to
  • Foods that make you feel worse, cloud your thinking or pull you down in any way
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Avoid fruit in the morning
  • Never eat starchy carbohydrates (breads, pastas) by themselves
  • Do not eat foods that adversely affect you in any way, no matter how good they taste or how much you crave them

Stress – Separating the Good from the Bad and the Ugly

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Separating the Good from the Bad

angel and devil by Flickr user Alex Gorzen

It is important to be able to distinguish which things in your life are contributing to your health and which things are detracting from it. The first step in helping yourself obtain a lifestyle you love is to make a complete and thorough list of all the things that are beneficial to you life and health, and all the detrimental things in your life.

To help you get clear on this, I use the following, very simple but informative exercise. Take a piece of paper, date it and draw a vertical line down the center. At the top of the left column write “Good For Me,” and at the top of the right column, write “Bad For Me.” These can be physical or leisure activities, eating patterns, exercises, relationships, work, family, emotional patterns, attitudes, beliefs, dietary supplements, and any other things that make you feel good and contribute to your sense of well-being.

In the “good” column, list all things that bring you pleasure and add to your life, even if you haven’t done them for a while. Reach into your heart and health and find what makes you feel good and what you love in life.

In the “bad” column, list everything that seems detrimental to your health and well-being. Again, they can be physical, emotional, or attitudinal; they may be work or family related situations, relationships, eating and drinking patterns, or anything you are doing or are involved with that is not good for you.

If some aspects of a situation are good and some bad, separate them out. For example, you may have a job that you love, but the grueling hours and the fast pace are exhausting. In this case, put your job in the “good” column and the excess hours and high pressure demands in the “bad” column.

This is not a test. There is no maximum or minimum number of items to include. There is no pass or fail, no right or wrong answers. The more forthcoming you can be with information, the more you can help yourself.

Locating the Energy Robbers

Finding out what drains you and tires you out will help uncover the external factors using up your adrenal resources. In most cases of adrenal fatigue, there are life situations that are draining, such as being around a certain person or group, in a particular building or environment, at work or at home or in some other specific situation that leaves you feeling excessively tired or stressed.

These external factors are what I call the energy robbers. Energy robbers are like holes in the barrel preventing you from being full of energy. It is detrimental to keep demanding more and more energy from your body instead of just plugging as many of the holes as possible. Every time you eliminate or minimize one of these energy robbers in your life, it is like plugging one of the holes in the barrel, allowing your energy reserves to begin to rebuild. As you become aware of what is robbing you of your energy and make the necessary changes, you will see significant differences in your energy levels. Freeing yourself from the energy robbers in your life is much easier once you have identified them.

On a fresh sheet of paper, make a heading “Energy Robbers” and list everything and everyone in your daily life that takes away your energy. Many of these will be the same as the items you listed in the “bad” column earlier, but in this one, look at your life in terms of what makes you feel more tired or worn out. What or whom do you feel drained around? It can be anything from a food to a perfume, an activity, a nagging memory, a co-worker or a spouse. It may be a building, a room or a situation. There may be many heads to this dragon but it is worth the effort to see them clearly.

Three Things You Can Do to Eliminate Energy Robbers

Now that you are more aware of what and who is taking your energy, we can talk about some ways to deal with them. The most valuable thing I learned in Psychology 101 is that there are three things that you can do when you are in a difficult situation:

1. You can change the situation
2. You can change yourself to fit (adapt to) the situation
3. You can leave the situation

Remember, stresses are additive and cumulative. Removing or neutralizing your largest source of stress will make a very significant difference to your adrenal glands and to you health and well-being. Most of the time, if you take care of the big ones, the smaller ones will take care of themselves. Your body has a natural ability to handle stress and remain healthy. It is only when the stresses are overwhelming in quantity, duration or intensity that the systems in your body start to break down.

Image Credits: Angel and devil by Flickr user Alex Gorzen

British Work Stress – 65% higher risk of Heart Attack

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LONDON (Reuters) – Work really can kill you, according to a study providing the strongest evidence yet of how on-the-job stress raises the risk of heart disease by disrupting the body’s internal systems.

Read post and commentary by Dr. Eric Bakker, ND here