Adrenaline, or epinephrine as it is medically referred to, is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands when the body registers a threat, real or perceived. When the perceived threat is gone, the body is designed to return to a state of physiological relaxation via the relaxation response. The problem, however, is that our bodies are in a constant state of physiological arousal over perceived threats. As a woman, you will never, ever feel safe, and therefore calm, if you have high levels of adrenaline running through your body. That is the point of adrenaline. You need to reduce the amount of adrenaline flowing through your body in order to feel calm and safe and start to thrive.
Here are 3 powerful and easy ways to reduce the amount of adrenaline flowing in your body:
1. Vagus Breaths.
The vagus nerve runs from the part of your brain called the limbic brain all the way down to your gut. When you stimulate the vagus nerve and activate your parasympathetic nervous system, you activate feelings of safety. Feelings of safety, in turn, trigger your hypothalamus (the hormone command center of your body) to release oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that increases feelings of trust, safety and connection while reducing fear and anxiety. As women, we need high levels of oxytocin in order to feel safe, connected, and at peace.
Oxytocin remains in the bloodstream for about 5 minutes so its effects are fleeting. Your hypothalamus needs to be retrained to release oxytocin instead of adrenaline. As you continue to activate the release of oxytocin through the vagus breath, your hypothalamus will start to recognize that you are not constantly at risk and the biochemistry in your body will start to change for the better.
Vagus breaths can be done anywhere, anytime. You can do them at work. You can do them in the grocery store. You can do them at the soccer field. You can do them at home. Doing several throughout the day will retrain your brain to release oxytocin instead of adrenaline.
To do a vagus breath, sit or stand up straight, relax your shoulders and relax your jaw. Allow a deep belly inhale to the count of 4. Exhale through your mouth making a pleasurable sound to the count of 4. The pleasurable sound should start with a “Ha” sound, not an “Ah” sound. The “Ha” sound stimulates the vagus nerve. The “Ah” sound doesn’t. Do 5 or more breaths at a time.
If you are uncomfortable making the pleasurable sound out loud in front of others, do what you can to get past this. It is for more important to your well-being to do the breaths and get into oxytocin than to stop yourself because of what you think others are thinking of you.
The big caveat to this is – don’t do the breaths in front of others if this is going to activate your fight or flight response. Remove yourself from your current environment and do them privately in the washroom at work or in your car or at home or wherever else it feels comfortable to do them.
The point is that you want the vagus breaths to deactivate your adrenaline. You don’t want to increase your adrenaline because you are afraid of what people will think of you.
2. Move Your Body
There are 3 key reasons why moving your body helps to reduce the amount adrenaline flowing through your body.
The first reason to move your body is that movement helps you get out of your head. It helps you get into the now, into the present. It helps you get grounded. You feel more safe when you are grounded.
The second reason to move your body is that when you do so, your brain releases endorphins into your bloodstream. Endorphins are chemicals released in your brain in response to stress or pain. Endorphins block the transmission of pain impulses and make you feel good. You can’t feel good and unsafe at the same time.
The third reason to move your body is to use up the energy and chemicals that have been released through the fight or flight response. If we actually physically fought our way out of the situation or ran away, this physical activity would effectively metabolize the energy and stress hormones that were released as a result of the activation of our fight or flight response.
The problem is we generally deal with stress mentally and we never respond to stress with the physical activity necessary to metabolize the chemicals and extra energy released through the fight or flight response. Actively moving your body will do this.
An important note about activity. Only do something you like to do and when you feel like doing it. If you do an activity you dislike and do it when you don’t want to, you will constantly be activating your fight or flight response. This defeats the purpose of doing the activity.
The best activity? Laughter. Besides the immediate relief you get from laughing, laughter has long term benefits. It lowers blood pressure as well as increasing vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood. It gives a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It reduces cortisol and adrenaline and it increases memory and learning. Even fake laughter will give you these benefits.
3. Cellular Memory Reprogramming
Vagus breaths and physical activity are excellent actions to take for immediate adrenaline relief but their benefits are not permanent. For long term adrenaline relief, you need to reprogram your cellular memories.
Scientists used to believe that memories were stored only in the brain. They now know that every cell stores memories. Destructive cellular memories are the biggest source of stress in your body.
Everything that has happened to us is recorded in the form of cellular memories. Some of these memories contain destructive wrong beliefs that cause the body’s stress response to activate when it shouldn’t. Most of these memories are stored in the subconscious mind. In fact, scientists now believe that 90-95% of our memories are stored in the subconscious mind.
All memories are energy patterns in the form of images. A disruption in the body’s energy field can be traced back to a destructive image. Healing the destructive images deactivates the stress response and creates permanent healing in the body.
According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, the cause of stress that activates our fight or flight response when it shouldn’t is a wrong belief. This comes from an incorrect interpretation of what happened to us at some point in time.
What are the most common incorrect interpretations? – I am worthless. I am never safe. I am unlovable. Something is wrong with me.
Healing these wrong beliefs will shut off the constant activation of your stress response. You will finally experience safety, peace and calmness in your body.