Emotional Intelligence Webinar IGNITE: Energy for Life!

One of my most helpful mentors is a guy named Nicholas de Castella, who developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after a series of particularly stressful life events. He fully recovered years ago, and attributes his recovery to developing and using emotional intelligence.

I remember asking Nicholas during a private phone conversation a couple of years ago about his experience of CFS, and he said “Oh yeah; I’d forgotten about that”. I thought at the time: “That’s where I want to be!”

Nicholas gave up his previous career as an architect to teach what he learned to other people for a living, and since then he has helped thousands of people go from feeling stuck, blocked and frustrated to creating a wonderful life, relationship, and career of their dreams.

If you happen to be feeling tired, burnt out or overwhelmed and would like to ignite some energy and move forward in your life, then Nicholas has an exciting opportunity for you.

Nicholas is holding a complimentary emotional intelligence webinar called:

IGNITE: Energy for Life!

IGNITE is a fun and informative 60 minute training on using Emotional Intelligence to increase energy for life by mastering burnout (including overwhelm, anxiety, chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue).

He can show you how to have more energy, be more productive, boost well-being, improve relationships and achieve success with more joy and ease.

IGNITE will be held on WEDNESDAY 18th OCTOBER 2017 8.00 PM (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)

If the time doesn’t work for you, go ahead and register for the webinar anyway, and you’ll be sent the recording afterwards.

As a bonus for attending the webinar you also receive the IGNITE PACK consisting of:

  1. IGNITE: Energy for Life! Webinar recording
  2. IGNITE: Energy for Life! E-book Guide. Things to do to pep up your energy
  3. Rejuvenation Meditation – Create a calm inner state to boost your energy

To register click on this link.

Nicholas is a legend and I’m sure you will really enjoy his presentation.

In the meantime, take care
Graham

My Cortisol levels are sky high

Hi folks. I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve been of focusing on what I need to do in order to get well. However, there has been a very significant development in my health: I visited a Naturopath in December 2012 who got me to do the salivary hormone test recommended in the Adrenal Fatigue book. My results came back mid-January this year, very elevated. My nighttime reading in particular is way too high: 27nmol/L, when it should be under 5.

I was elated to get these results; it’s the first medical test I’ve had in 5 years that showed any abnormality at all. So I’m not crazy after all. I also don’t have adrenal fatigue; what I have is constant stress on my body due to excessive cortisol. It’s a bit chicken-and-egg, and not entirely clear what is causing it, but apparently if the nighttime reading doesn’t drop low enough, my body doesn’t enter sufficiently restful sleep to repair itself. Next day I wake up with elevated cortisol again, and the whole thing just repeats. No wonder I feel exhausted all the time. This is pretty consistent with what Gupta says, but now that I have lab test results to prove it, I’m more convinced than ever.

So the most important thing now is to get my nighttime cortisol levels down below 5nmol/L so my body can sleep properly. My nervous system should then start repairing. To help do this, I’ve changed my routine so I:

  • Get up at 6am every day.
  • Eat and exercise before 7am (within an hour of getting up).
  • Don’t exercise after mid-day.
  • Start winding down at 9:30pm
  • Be in bed by 10pm every night

Apparently exercise raises your cortisol levels temporarily, but they peak half an hour or so after you stop, and then fall below where they would have been if you hadn’t exercised. I had been exercising in the afternoon when I felt terrible, and even worse sometimes went dancing at night. So I was exercising at the wrong time of day.

Getting to sleep by 10pm is really important. It’s not just how long you sleep; what hours you are asleep also makes a difference. I had read this before, but wasn’t doing it religiously. I don’t go out in the evenings now, unless it’s to something low-energy that’s directly related to reducing my stress levels. My social life is restricted to daytime for the time being, which gets pretty lonely. I do a free acting class on Tuesdays during the day run by Milk Crate Theatre, because it’s really fun. We laugh a lot. Hanging out with homeless people is funnier than I would have expected.

My night time wind-down ritual involves turning the TV off early, lighting some candles, putting on some lavender aromatherapy oil in my burner, and playing relaxation music while lying on the lounge.

I’m also doing a massage course, which is good for calming the nervous system. I get together with other students to practise, so I’m getting lots of massages while also overcoming my fear of physical touch with strangers and learning a handy skill at the same time.

I was already on a low-sugar diet, so I’m still doing that. The Naturopath said that fruit was OK, and pointed out that some of the breakfast cereals I was eating had sugar in them. I’m avoiding them now.

I’m currently taking these supplements, which are intended to calm the adrenal glad, lower cortisol levels, and heal the nervous system:

  • An adrenal-calming herbal tonic twice a day. I haven’t asked what herbs are in it, but beware that some herbal medicines stimulate the adrenals, which isn’t what you want.
  • Vitamin C: 2000 mg (I take Blackmores BIO C)
  • Vitamin B12: 1000 mcg
  • Folic Acid: 500 mcg (No, I’m not pregnant)
  • Fish Oil: >800 EPA (I take Nature’s Own Liquid Fish Oil, which is easier to swallow than 3 high-potency capsules you’d need for the EPA dosage)
  • A multivitamin, just for the hell of it

The Naturopath also measured my breathing, and found that it was shallow and had too low a level of CO2. High CO2 level have a calming effect on the nervous system apparently. So now I do breathing exercises where I take a long slow in breath, and an even longer slow out breath. The idea is to slow the out breath down as far as possible. “It should feel as if you just want to gasp for air”, she said.

I’ve also been doing a regular meditation every day. After trying hundreds, I’ve settled on chanting the Oneness Chakra Meditation recorded by Ananda Giri because it’s the most calming I’ve tried.

Can’t say I’ve seen miraculous results yet, but it’s early days. I was on the right track before seeing the Naturopath, but there were a few things I was doing that weren’t helping me; like exercising too late in the day. The cool thing about having the cortisol test results is that I can do the test again in a few months to see if what I’m doing is having an effect on reducing the levels; even if I don’t feel radically better yet. I like at least having a metric that shows I’m heading in the right direction.

I was influenced to visit the Naturopath by Daniel Neuffer’s book CFS Unravelled, which recommends finding a health practitioner who is on top of this stuff. It’s hard to do it on your own. I spoke to Daniel via Skype (by a freak coincidence, he went to my high school) and he seems to genuinely want to help other CFS sufferers now that he’s recovered. His description of the mechanics behind CFS is the best I’ve come across; assuming he’s right. If so, I should be all better within a few months. I recommend Daniel’s book, with the reservation that following his advice hasn’t healed me… yet. It will be free on Amazon next week, since he really wants to get the word out.

I also recently came across another recovering CFS sufferer named Marissa Hakansson who saw her experience of CFS as a spiritual journey, and now teaches stress-reduction techniques to other people suffering from CFS. She specializes in helping women but I still found it really helpful talking to her; like Daniel’s book, it helped confirm that I was on the right path. I recommend contacting her if you’re stressed out and need someone to talk to who understands where you’re coming from.

I have a lot more free time now I get up so early in the morning. I’m spending it writing comedy on my home blog, in the hope of pursuing the dream of being a comedian when I’ve recovered. That probably won’t be until next year, since getting up on stage causes a huge adrenaline/cortisol rush; which definitely isn’t what I need right now. I can see now why getting up on stage and doing Improv caused me to have a meltdown. Oops.

When I’m not doing that, I’m playing my drums (but only in the mornings) or guitar. Or watching Woody Allen movies or other comedies to make me laugh. Occasionally I’ll meet up with a friend during the day. That pretty much fills up the time while I recover.

I still feel more anxious than I would like more of the time than I would like. I can see that some of the personal development courses I’ve done over the past few years in an attempt to address this haven’t been such a great idea in hindsight, given that I really had to push my body in order to get to them. I decided last night that I have power over my thoughts, and that thought makes me feel less anxious. I find this easier than doing the Stop-Stop-Stop technique that Gupta recommends, which is exhausting when the scary thoughts are coming thick and fast. Much of my anxiety is around thoughts like “This won’t work! I’ll never get better! I’m missing out! It’s taking too long!” I’ll just have to stick at it and see.

Anyone Tried The Chrysalis Effect Programme?

Has anyone tried The Chrysalis Effect Programme? Beneath the rather cheesy Internet marketing spin, what they’re offering sounds pretty consistent with adrenal fatigue and the ideas in the Gupta Programme. They seem to get the mind/body connection thing and the importance of emotional support in dealing with this illness.

I’ve been using the free meditation download they offer, and I quite like it. I figure anything that reduces stress is good for this illness whatever the underlying cause turns out to be. I could relate to a lot of what they say in their Essentials Guide which you get for free when you register on the site. I am a A Type driven person, and many of my friends with CFS are (or at least, were before they fell ill) too. They take a holistic approach and are offering a support community, which is probably particularly helpful if you don’t know anyone else who is suffering from CFS, has recovered or really understands what we go through. I don’t know if it’s worth 19 pounds a month, but I’ve spent a lot more than that on my recovery so far. It’s probably worth at least having a look at what they’re offering.

That said, I sure hope they have a sense of humour! After you enter your email address, watch their video.

Then have a look at this hilarous parody:

After all, laughter is the best stress relief…

Adrenal Fatigue and Nervous Exhaustion

I spent the last 2 months staying at my sister’s holiday house at Hawks Nest, about 3 hours drive north of where I normally live in Sydney. The plan was to get away and relax. I ended up working quite a lot, and having a lot of headaches. When I rested for long enough, the headaches went away. Hardly surprising really. But then my restlessness would kick in and I’d just want to go and do something. I got a lot done but I realize that as a writer, the more you write the more you realize that you have more to say. It never ends. On the plus side the income from my websites is slowly increasing, which lessens my sense of financial stress. It’s still not nearly enough to live on and only growing slowly. Some days I feel depressed about this but there’s not much else I can really do right now.

Anyway, I spent much of my time either relaxing at the house, writing content for my blogs, or working down at the local library which had free internet access and was open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I don’t work Saturdays. They dolled out the internet access in 2 hour blocks, and eventually I realized that if I only worked 2 hours maximum per day, I didn’t get headaches but did have a sense of moving forward. After work each day I went and either lay on the beach or sat by the lake and just relaxed. It was beautifully peaceful and quiet up there, far away from the crazy city life I normally live. I didn’t really feel very lonely. A few friends came and visited which was great, and I had heaps of books to read and DVDs to watch to occupy my time. I was a mixed blessing that the wireless internet adaptor I’d bought didn’t work well enough at the house for me to work from home; kinda forced me to take a bit of a break on Tuesday and Thursdays when the library was closed.

While I was away I finally got around to doing some Internet research into Adrenal Fatigue. A girl in my acting class last year said she suffered from it, and it immediately sounded very familiar. I stumbled upon the Wikipedia article on Neurasthenia, a.k.a. Nervous Exhaustion, which also matches my symptoms very closely. Sounds pretty consistent with Ashok Gupta’s hypothesis and many of the suggestions in the Gupta program match the advice given in Dr Lam’s article on Adrenal Fatigue. I’m going to be following this advice more closely; especially the bits about diet, going to bed earlier, and taking B-group vitamin supplements. I feel nervous a lot of the time, find it hard to relax and always feel like there’s a lot of stuff to do, which all fits the pattern.

I’ve also been continuing my morning Yoga, breathwork and meditation almost every day; except a few times when I’ve woken up with a really bad headache or just felt too cranky to bother. But they’re in the minority. It seems to be gradually calming my nervous system and I’m not feeling so resistant to doing it. I feel a little less jumpy and shaky. The weather at home is warmer now, so I do it out in the backyard behind my block of units in the sun. I start off with Surya Namaskara (salute to the sun) which is a bit silly to do it in my living room where there is no sun. First time I ventured into the backyard to do it, I worried about the neighbours in the other units thinking I looked ridiculous… downward facing dog and all; but I’m getting over my fear of what other people think.

The other obvious thing about nervous exhaustion is that the cure involves large amounts of rest. That means doing nothing, which I struggle with so I’ve borrowed a heap of guided meditation CDs from the local library to help with that. Meditainment Stress Relief and The Stress First Aid Kit are my favourites so far.

My other exciting news is I’ve won two Toastmasters humorous speech contests lately, meaning I progress to the next level. I’d love to be a comedian one day when my health is back, and I’ve been studying everything I can get my hands on about comedy. Besides, laughter is a great stress relief. I hope you’ve had a laugh today!