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The Most Effective Techniques for Boosting Your Stress Tolerance

Neuroaffect Circuit

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Our bodies have a stress response system, which can be overloaded, leading to an inability to handle stress.When the majority of people hear the word stress they usually think of stressful situations, such as financial or career problems, relationship issues, or the death of someone close. This is not entirely accurate, however, because stress is far more common than that. In fact, in the modern world, stress is a very common occurrence because of emotional, physical, or mental factors. Whenever you experience stress, it has definitive physical ramifications. However, many people have developed what’s known as stress tolerance, which allows them to function normally under these conditions. But when you have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and your adrenal glands become fatigued because of chronic stress, you may start to experience stress intolerance. And this can be very dangerous and detrimental to your life.

The Natural Mechanisms of Stress Tolerance

Cortisol is the most important hormone in your stress tolerance system. In a healthy body, cortisol levels naturally rise whenever stress is introduced. This hormone increases your body’s functioning so you can cope with the source of the stress and then the levels decline once the source of the stress is over. Everyone has a different level of stress tolerance, which is why some people can handle stressful situations better than others.

If you experience chronic stress, the adrenal glands can become fatigued with the ongoing high demand for cortisol. The body can start to struggle to produce enough cortisoland so Adrenal Fatigue begins to set in. Stress intolerance can occur when the body starts to struggle to manage even small sources of stress, causing a cycle of stress and decline as this problem compounds. This can be a very dangerous situation, particularly as AFS progresses and stress intolerance symptoms start to set in.

Common Stress Intolerance Symptoms

As your intolerance to stress increases, you may find yourself experiencing a range of symptoms and problems. These will not only impact your quality of life. They will also increase your stress levels, increase the demand for cortisol, and further tax your adrenal glands. Over time, this may lead to or exacerbate AFS. Some of the most common stress intolerance symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Substance abuse
  • A weak immune system, resulting in frequent infections.

Almost more dangerous than the symptoms of stress intolerance is the way the situation can spiral downward. They will cause additional stress, which your body will struggle to cope with, which will in turn worsen your symptoms. This can obviously be a very dangerous situation that can make you feel hopeless and as if there is no way out. This is not true however. When you’re in this situation, you just need to work on your stress tolerance skills.

Causes of Stress

Stress can come from a number of different situations and events. In fact, it is possible for you to be stressed without really realizing it. This is especially true if your tolerance to stress is low. Previously unnoticed, small stresses can compound and cause your body to react in an unusual ways. This means that it isn’t just the big stressors such as serious illnesses or death that are a problem. Even everyday stressors can be dangerous if your body is already vulunerable Some common sources of stress that people often overlook are:

  • Intolerances to certain foods like dairy products
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Cold air exposure
  • Vacations
  • Poor health
  • Infections
  • Work pressures
  • Environmental toxins
  • Inflammation

Inflammation is one of the key causes of stress. It occurs whenever you body senses an invader that could cause damage. Unfortunately, this means that inflammation levels increase when you’re stressed too. And when your high stress levels become chronic, so does the inflammation. Inflammation is kept in check by a regulatory system that includes your adrenals and your liver. The adrenals prompt inflammation with cortisol and the liver breaks down inflammatory molecules. However, if your adrenals are weak and your liver is congested, as is often the case in AFS, then inflammation will start to build up in the body. This will cause your body to become more sensitive to any stimulus that increases inflammation and result in stress intolerance.

This cycle is why it’s so important to pay attention to and be prepared for the smaller stresses. These small stresses can give you a lot of important information about your body. They can help you to understand the strength of your adrenal glands, your nutritional reserve, and how healthy the overall functioning of your body is. If you experience stress intolerance, your body may not be functioning at its optimal level.

Building Your Stress Tolerance

There are several important things to do to build your stress tolerance and recover from the spiraling ill health that can occur as a result of stress intolerance symptoms. This includes:

Pay Attention

The first step to increasing your stress tolerance is to realize when you’re stressed. This will allow you to take steps before that stress can build to dangerous levels. So, pay attention to your body, to points of tension, and to your emotions. Your sleeping and eating patterns can hold clear signs of stress as well, so listen to what they’re telling you.

Build your Nutritional Reserve

Your nutritional reserve is your energy reservoir, which is designed to be drawn upon when you experience stress. It takes energy to overcome stress, and that energy must come from your nutritional reserve. When these nutritional reserves have been depleted, your body has a challenging time coping with stress as it is not able to draw on these reserves to create the necessary hormones for handling stress. The problem is that most people don’t know how to properly restore the reserves. They key to this is to eat a balanced diet that fulfils all of your nutritional needs.

Avoid Stimulants

If you want to build your stress tolerance then you need to avoid stimulants such as coffee. These may give the appearance of replenishing your nutritional reserves, but this is a false impression, particularly when you have AFS. It may work in the short term, but in the long term it will only make your body weaker.

Seek out Help

There is no quick fix for stress intolerance, so make sure you look for help from a medical professional who’s an expert in this field.

Get Support

Ask close friends and family for support and help when you need it.

Identify and Eliminate Stressors

Chances are that you have unnecessary stressors in your life. It’s almost automatic for many people to take on too much, particularly if you struggle with saying no to loved ones. This isn’t the time to do unnecessary things that are causing more stress. So, look at your schedule and identify activities that aren’t important and yet cause a lot of stress. And then work on eliminating them.

Watch Your Self-Talk

When your stress tolerance is low you can feel hopeless and helpless. This kind of self-talk will only worsen your situation. Focus on being kind to yourself during this time because you definitely need and deserve it.

Take a Break

This is probably one of the most vital stress tolerance skills. You need to learn to take breaks regularly. This doesn’t mean you should throw off all your responsibilities and move to another country.Instead, focus on taking small breaks during the day, even if it’s just to have a cup of tea or to have dinner with a friend. You’ll feel better for it.

Do Something for You

If you’re stressed, chances are that you spend a lot of time doing things for other people. It’s time to change that. Think of something you love or used to love. ANd make time for it in your schedule. This shouldn’t be an additional cause of stress, instead think of it as a way to nurture yourself. Try taking a walk, listening to music, painting, going for a swim, walking the dog, sitting in nature, or journaling. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.

The Importance of Building your Stress Tolerance

If you struggle with stress intolerance, then AFS should be explored as the clinical presentation. Too much stress is havoc on the adrenal glands, which makes it harder for them to produce cortisol to deal with the stress.

Of course, stress is just one of the larger contributors and consequences of AFS.

  1. Improve your diet by including healthier foods such as lean protein, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables.
  2. Talk to your doctor about sustainable, long term stress tolerance skills.
  3. Take small breaks during the day and larger breaks regularly and don’t feel guilty about them!

If you need more help to increase your stress tolerance or are struggling with its symptoms, then call Dr. Lam’s team on +1-626-571-1234 or click the banner below to use the Ask The Doctor system.

© Copyright 2020 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam's Key Question

When the maximum stimulatory level is reached, the body may send you signals such as anxiety, panic attack, brain fog, and fatigue to warn you.

If the body is weakened by fatigue and stress, instances that are normally not considered stressful may be difficult with the inability to handle stress

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