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The Human Design Root Center and the Adrenal Glands

Human Design is a mixture of four Ancient modalities – Western Astrology, I-Ching, Tree of Life, and the Chakra System. It is known as the energetic blueprint of your soul. It takes the conscious and unconscious aspects of you, and combines it all together into this beautiful energy of who you are and who you are uniquely designed to be!

There is so much power in knowing how you're wired as an individual. Since I've learned about my design, it has changed my life in many ways! I feel more expansive. I feel validated. I better understand the way my kids and my husband operate and how we interact and impact each other. If you want to know more, read about the juicy revelations I have learned about myself as a 4/1 Sacral Manifesting Generator.

Human Design and Nutrition with My Clients

I use Human Design as an additional tool to transform client's health and well-being. I have found it extremely helpful for merging mind, body, and spirit with well-being! If you're interested in working with me, check out My Approach and set up a complimentary 15 minute phone call to see if working together is a good fit.

The Adrenal Glands & the Human Design Root Center

In Human Design, the Root Center correlates to the Adrenal Glands, Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Endorphins. It's the energy for anything we do in this life, and the pressure happens because it’s the Root's way of moving energy (via cortisol and adrenaline) toward the throat so we can bring our genius out into the world! It's fuel for progress, for getting through challenges, and for adapting and evolving. It's also where we can burn out if we're not careful, pushing ourselves too hard, allowing ourselves to turn the pressure inward and internalize the stress.

Human Design Root Center Defined vs. Undefined

The pressure from the Root feels different depending on whether your center is Defined (colored in) or Undefined (white). To find out whether your Root Center is Defined or Undefined, get your chart here.

If your Root center is Defined, the energy is consistent and can feel like pulses of adrenaline that turn on and off. This is 60% of the population. During the "off" time, you are likely to feel antsy and have the urge to want to start something just because the pause is uncomfortable. Beware, you may push to start something and it ends up being the incorrect thing for you. Embrace the "off" time to rest so once the energy turns back "on" you will be ready.

If the root center is Undefined, your access to the root energy is inconsistent, and it can feel like you are under pressure to do things to be free. This is Me, and makes so much sense!!

It feels like endless pressure on yourself to keep going and not stop until your to-do list is completely cleared, as if you're negotiating your to-do's before you can get to the fun stuff. It is not designed to “work best under pressure.” It can also feel like there isn't enough time so you need to hurry, hurry, hurry.

The pressure to finish everything can exhaust and burn out the adrenal glands when you are not intentional about what is truly important to you, and what is not.

The Root Center’s Not-Self Talk

When the pressure from the Root Center is being used in a way that is out of alignment, you might find yourself saying:

"Once I’m done with A (chore) then I’ll allow myself to do B (reward)”’

“I have to hurry up and get this done.”

“I feel so much pressure right now”

“You’re wasting (my) time”

“I have to start something new NOW”

“Where can I go to be needed?”

I have felt this pressure so profoundly, all my life! Knowing where the pressure comes from has helped me become more intentional in my actions and self-talk when it comes to getting things done. When the Root Pressure is in full effect, my self-talk may sound this…“once I finish doing the dishes, and after I start the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, and clean the stovetop THEN I will do something I want to do (ie: journal, watch a movie, play with my kids).” Do you see how I put all these stipulations and negotiations on myself before I get to do anything fun?

The good news is, since Human Design, I am totally aware of the Root’s not-self talk creeping in so I pause and I decide in that moment if these to-do’s are really what I want to do or not. The awareness has made it easier for me to be intentional in my actions.

The Wisdom of the Undefined Root Center

The Root can get a bad rap for its pressure, but its wisdom is a center for Stilllness and Joy. It's the feeling you get when you witness a beautiful, still lake at the base of a mountain – Peace, Serenity, Joy, and Stillness.

As you bring awareness to your need to be free from pressure and get things done, you will begin to understand the deep wisdom that comes from having an Undefined Root center. You are here to teach the rest of us how to discern between the tasks and undertakings that are truly important, and what can be let go of in favor of rest, stillness, and joy.

Caring for the Root Center and Adrenal Glands

From a health and nutrition perspective, the cortisol released from the adrenals after a stressful event is damaging to the body in many ways. It disrupts the gut microbiome and actually turns off digestion, growth, and reproduction (difficult to have a baby when stressed) to focus on the stress response. It’s important to support your adrenals and your gut microbiome with the required nutrients.


When it comes to caring for and protecting the root center, it is so important to have discernment about what really needs to get done on your to-do list. Check in with your body to decide whether or not the task feels good in your body before you add it to the list. If it doesn’t feel good, and it isn’t essential, then give yourself the grace of not putting it on your list. This may feel super uncomfortable to start with but just because you have a spare moment doesn’t mean you need to fill it with another task.

There will always be another task to get done. Give yourself a break.


Notice what activities send you into a stress response – watching the news? Social media? Family dinners? Sunday night before work? Where you can, be discerning about how much time and energy you give to these things. Find ways to release the stress.


It is absolutely essential to provide your adrenals the nutrients they need to be able to repair and recover. If your adrenals are burnt out, diet alone will not be enough. You will need higher doses of nutrients from supplements until they've had time to recover, and until you have removed the stressors causing your adrenal health to suffer to begin with! Use adaptogens. Drink herbal tea. Take magnesium. They are all essential!


Sleep is a top priority when you're trying to heal your adrenals. You must get at least 8 hours of quality sleep every.single.night! If you wear a sleep tracking device, such as an aura ring or a watch that tracks sleep, take a look at the number of hours of deep sleep. Aim for 2+ hours of deep, rejuvenating sleep every night.


I find exercise helps with stress management, but if you suspect adrenal fatigue, move your body gently. It's best to stick to low to moderate-intensity exercise and forego the strenuous, high-intensity exercise for now. Sometimes it's best to just take a breather and give your body the rest it needs!

Focus on activities that get the blood and lymphatic system moving gently. Great choices include yoga, walking, hiking, dancing, or simply stretching. Pay attention to how you feel and make sure not to overdo it when your muscles feel weak or tired.


This is the "rest and digest" part of the nervous system that balances adrenaline and cortisol. Some effective stress management techniques include: meditation, listening to music, talking to a calming friend, laughter, journaling, taking a bath, or breathwork. Also, bodywork such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic can all help to turn on the calming influence of your vagus nerve.

Just taking a pause to be alone is key for me🔑❤

Thanks for reading! I love hearing from you, so feel free to leave me a question or comment. If you're interested in working together, let's set up a free strategy call to explore your needs.


Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN


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Dec 11, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

Kelly Harrington, MS, RD
Dec 15, 2023
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Awe, what sweet feedback to receive. Thank you so much!

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