The following is an email Adam received
and his reply.
Got quite a few things
to say today some of which may be a bit silly. I will begin with
my new job as that causes me a lot of unnecessary stress and
misery that is predominantly self-induced. Not sure how to start
but here goes. Basically in recent weeks I have had extremely
low self-esteem. I'll give you a couple of examples of my thoughts
about work as that is probably the best way to explain.
(1) I work in a team of
5 people and am more academically qualified than most and feel
a constant pressure that I should know more than them and have
the answers. I often feel that they are more competent than I
(2) I am quite soft in
nature at times and think that has lead to people not taking
me seriously I blame myself for this.
(3) I think my boss does
not have much respect for me as he does not speak with me as
much as some of the others (I could approach him I know).
These things along with
others mean that I am not functioning as well as I know that
I am able to do. I feel low in confidence and so am not able
to use time constructively. If I could get these things out of
my head then I would work a lot better. All right I am not the
smartest person in the world (I know this) but at least I could
work with a clear head. I could list more examples but I think
that you get the general idea. I am making my working life very
hard for myself. Like at this moment I am feeling a little worried
about work tomorrow. I feel threatened by others.
During the weekends I often
do not see so many people that much as I don't have that many
friends here yet. You can imagine that that gives me time to
think and further doubt myself. I do actually keep active but
need more conversation. I don't want to appear desperate to people
so sometimes I don't call people. I told you that I am a silly!!!
This weekend just gone
I had a friend of mine visit me from Germany a lovely
girl who I met in Sweden. We get along really well and it was
the nicest week that I have had in quite a while. We are so comfortable
together and I can really be myself with her. We laugh a lot
together and even had a bit of romance. I remember thinking at
certain times that I was living in that moment rather than thinking
ahead or back (something Dale Carnegie says one should do in
his book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living").
Then when she left I felt quite empty and alone. If I was the
same with other people then I would be so much happier.
You know how I told you
how I feel at work, well that often translates to other areas
of my life. I will endeavor to explain what I mean. For example,
when I was with my German friend I sometimes felt that she would
not like me if she saw how I was at work. I even feel that my
parents may be disappointed if they could see me at work. Feel
as though I am not being strong enough or a real man. Does that
These thoughts are wearing
me down and I want them out. Any suggestions?
Your troubles are more common than you
think they are. People who have overactive adrenal glands are
afraid of what people might think, so they don't share that stuff
very often, giving all the rest of us the impression we're
the only ones who feel so anxious about things.
Your body is producing extra stress hormones.
Bodies vary. Some are tall. Some are short. Some produce lots
of stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, etc.) and some don't
produce as much. There is also a byproduct of adrenaline called
lactate that specifically produces anxiety symptoms and thoughts
You said twice in your letter you wanted
to get rid of your thoughts. You probably already know that isn't
possible. You can think whatever you like, but you cannot just
get rid of thoughts, and any attempt to make it happen will only
cause you to think those thoughts more persistently.
But your problem is not your thoughts.
Your problem is your body producing so many stress hormones.
When you physically lower your stress hormone level, your thoughts
will be less anxious.
How can you lower your stress hormone level?
That's the million-dollar question, isn't it? First off, stop
drinking coffee and alcohol, and quit smoking cigarettes (if
you do). Those all stimulate your adrenals to produce extra stress
hormones, which you don't need.
Also, eat fewer carbohydrates, especially
sugars. And make sure you get plenty of calcium. Lactate is incompletely
burned sugar, a by-product of stress. But lactate bonds with
calcium, so make sure you get a steady supply.
Also, take 3 grams of vitamin C per day
(3000 milligrams). Work up to it. Increase it gradually until
two weeks from now you are taking three grams. And take it throughout
the day one one-gram tablet with every meal. Vitamin C
is water-soluble and isn't stored by the body. You want to keep
a constant vitamin C presence in your blood. Vitamin C has been
shown to directly lower the level of stress hormones in the blood.
Train yourself in a relaxation technique
and practice it every day for twenty minutes or so. Ideally twice
a day. My recommendations for relaxation techniques that work
Silva Mind Control
Just find one of these you like, and do
it. The best way, I think, is to get a tape or CD that talks
you through the exercise (learn more
about that here). Your anxious thoughts are being driven
by the physical presence of stress hormones. Just starting a
new job probably raised your base level of stress hormones. Lower
them, and your thoughts will calm down. You're a reasonable man.
But if I gave you a shot of lactate, your thoughts would turn
anxious, no matter how reasonable you are. Stress hormones not
only effect the body, they effect the brain, stepping it up to
a higher activity, and stimulating certain brain centers. Your
brain stimulates you to be on the lookout for danger, and it
starts interpreting situations as dangerous that are not, in
fact, dangerous or threatening at all.
Let me know how this goes, okay?