Chances are, if you’re like most other people living in any industrialized country anywhere in the world, your daily routine is hectic and stressful, you suffer from constant fatigue, you rarely sleep well, you continue to gain weight, and you’re at least occasionally moody. In fact, you may be experiencing what we often refer to in metabolism research as “burnout” or exhaustion.
Vigor vs. Exhaustion
Vigor and exhaustion are polar opposites. Psychologists define ‘vigor’ as a three-tiered sustained mood state characterized by physical energy, emotional energy and mental focus. People with high levels of vigor are the ones who always feel like getting things done. They feel energetic. They are in a good mood. Their minds are sharp.
You might try to temporarily treat your exhaustion with coffee or an energy drink, but those are inadequate and temporary solutions that are likely to leave you feeling even more exhausted when their stimulant effects wear off. Instead, I generally advise people to beat exhaustion and restore their vigor naturally by restoring what I call “Biochemical Balance,” the balance between hormones like cortisol and testosterone that become disrupted by chronic stress.
Connecting the Dots: Stress, Cortisol and Testosterone
One of the major problems with today’s late-to-bed, early-to-rise” lifestyle is that your cortisol levels never have enough time to fully dissipate overnight as they should. As a result, your body never has a chance to fully recover and repair itself from the detrimental effects of chronic stress. That overexposure to cortisol throws a monkey wrench into your ability to maintain biochemical balance. And when your biochemical balance is out of whack, it puts your overall metabolism into a downward spiral, accelerating the breakdown of tissues and sending your energy, mood and mental focus into a tailspin, leaving you exhausted with low vigor.