January 1st is the day the western world has chosen to commemorate the journey of our planet’s revolution around the sun. It has also become “The Day” to set goals for the coming year. Again and again, health-related resolutions hover at the top of the list: losing weight, getting more exercise, stopping smoking. For people with adrenal fatigue, health and stress issues probably dominate their lists. Although many people make resolutions, only about half stick with them for more than six months. On the other hand, people who explicitly state their resolutions are ten times more likely than non-resolvers to attain their goals.1 If you have adrenal fatigue, making changes that support a healthier lifestyle or reduce stress can have a profound impact on your energy levels, your attitude and your general well-being. However, adding additional stress by using resolutions to beat yourself up is counterproductive.
If the looming New Year and long winter nights have left you introspective, reevaluating your life as you know it and thinking about ways it could be better, the question becomes: how do you improve your chances of feeling better and getting what you want out of life without stressing yourself out more?
1. Reframe Resolutions
For many, following a resolution feels like a chore, a “have to.” There is a feeling of deprivation associated with it, and trying to white knuckle your way through a number of self-imposed restrictions can create added stress when your ultimate goal may be the exact opposite. Why not revise the concept of resolution? In audio-visual terms, ‘resolution’ is simply the measure of quality of a digital sound or image. What if, instead of thinking of a resolution as an imposing, restrictive rule, you simply imagine improving the resolution in your life? That is, you take the time to reflect on the quality of your life and how you can fine tune or enhance it. For example: maybe changing the way you eat could give you more energy. Perhaps there is a way to spend less time with people or activities that drain you or a way to create more time for activities and people that bring you enjoyment and revive your energy. Search for the places where you can enhance value or improve quality in your life.
2. Choose your focal point
Another source of stress can be biting off more than you can chew. It can be easy to come up with a hefty list of areas that could stand some improvement, which can be overwhelming. If you find that you have done this, try ripping off the bottom ¾ of that list and setting it away for later. The truth is a small positive change in one area can have a ripple effect, improving overall feelings of satisfaction about your life as a whole. Tiny adjustments on the lens of a camera make a huge impact in the final picture, and little adjustments to one or two areas of your life can greatly impact your health, your outlook, and your ability to manage stress. Instead of tackling ten tough areas, think about which ones will create the biggest improvement in your quality of life. Try to narrow the list down to three or fewer focal points. Maybe after reviewing your list, you realize that your biggest sources of stress have to do with lack of personal time. Consider making that area your focal point. Eliminating other areas for now doesn’t mean that you can’t go back to those areas or that you won’t achieve those goals; by limiting your frame of reference now, you will have better results in that area, and you can always focus on another area later.
About the Author
Dr. Lise Naugle is an associate of Dr. James L. Wilson. She assists healthcare professionals with clinical assessment and treatment protocols related to adrenal dysfunction and stress, and questions regarding the use of Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations supplements. With eleven years in private practice and a focus on stress, adrenals, hormonal balance and mind-body connection, she offers both clinical astuteness and a wealth of practical knowledge. Dr. Naugle also maintains updated information about the latest scientific research on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, endocrine balance and nutritional support for stress and develops educational materials about stress and health for clinicians and their patients.