On her website, www.drnorthrup.com, Dr. Christiane Northrup describes what the adrenals do, symptoms and diagnosis of Adrenal Exhaustion, as well as multiple options for addressing the condition. The new ideas, for me, came under her Spiritual and Holistic Options where she includes the power of positive thinking and joyful living as ways to approach healing.
Dr. Northrup's first suggestion is to "focus on more loving thoughts." As in, very literally, pausing to think about good things in life - people you love, fond memories, things you enjoy. She follows that up with, "do more things that bring you pleasure and make you laugh." Build up the sphere of your life where the happiness happens. Choose to be with good folks, be selective, and lessen the time with the folks that drain you and such. Plan for and do the activities that bring joy.
Her second suggestion is along the same lines. "Allow yourself to accept nurturing and affection." This includes good care from others as well as yourself. She recommends practicing positive affirmations and remembering times when you felt loved.
For me, Dr. Northrup's recommendations are an affirmation and reminder to practice acts of "love and pleasure" as a regular part of self care and positive living. Doing that involves establishing some simple daily rituals of my own:
- Gratitude seems like an obvious place to start whether in a nightly journal recounting the good of the day or in a weekly blog post here.
- Visits to the beach are one of my favorite treats, especially following a tough day at the office, so I'll be adding more of those on evenings when Little N can hang out with his dad.
- Listening to affirming guided meditations is something I used to do on the bus to work in the morning and is easy to resume both then and on weekends with Little N.
- Visiting with friends, my book club, and celebrating with my group are more simple pleasures that I enjoy.
- Resuming my yoga practice, which always made me feel energized, centered, and positive, is a goal I have yet to engage.
The adrenals respond to stress from real or perceived threats. Changing my perception of myself, my life, and the world at large(!) decreases the strain on my adrenal glands, and essentially builds in a cushion for them to rest and recover. Examining and undoing the negative is much of the work I'm doing with the Beloved Therapist these days. Reflecting upon, seeking out, and actually engaging in the positive is the other significant piece that I sort of overlooked.
What are your rituals of love and pleasure?
Curious about more from Dr. Northrup? I am rereading and loving her book Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom. It means as much to me now, and it means different things to me now, as when I first read it twenty years ago.