Cortisol: The Little Stress Hormone With the Big Impact

Hi there! How are you today?

Are you reading this while hunched over your desk or your phone?

Feeling the effects of managing your life, the time change, and upcoming holidays?

When was the last time you took a nice deep breath?

The answers you gave to these questions are a big clue to how you manage stress. You experience it just about every single day. It’s causes are everywhere and so hard to get away from.

I’m going to share with you some information about stress hormones, their impact on the body, and how to help yourself feel better even if you live a stressful life.

 Cortisol production cycle.

Cortisol production cycle.

It’s a good thing that our bodies have a built in system for dealing with stress. Or is it?

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after the crisis has passed. However, that doesn’t happen too much in our society - it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic.

You know if you are living in this state of chronic stress. Your body feels tight, you might feel at times like it’s hard to breathe, or you get annoyed at the drop of a hat. Living in this state means your body is working really hard and creating a lot of the stress hormone known as Cortisol.

This hormone is released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. Your body produces more of it in the mornings to help you get moving and then ideally it tapers off production so you can get good sleep. However with a high stress lifestyle this production cycle can get set into overdrive and contribute to a whole series of issues with various body systems [1].

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with poor quality of sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, depression, and impedes your body’s ability to reduce inflammation?

If you are tired of feeling, well, tired. It’s time to make a commitment to hitting a reset button and giving your body a chance to catch up with healing the demands of a stressful life.

Strategies for Reducing Stress

people-2567915_1280.jpg

Connect with friends and loved ones. Enjoy the positive relationships you have in your life and evaluate the time you spend with people who make you feel tired.

Physical touch is widely shown to relieve stress. Get a hug, give a hug.

Attend to your mind. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.  Sign up for next week’s webinar “Listening to the Body” Friday November 9th at 12 PM PST. RSVP to get the link to the Webinar.

Get your body moving. A walk or gentle exercise is enough to boost your ability to manage stress and reduce cortisol levels.

Get adequate sleep. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways. If your sleep routine needs some help, take a look at this blog for tips on getting better rest.

spendtimeinnature.jpg

Relax and have fun. Things like deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol.

Drink water. It seems like every blog I mention this, it’s very important. Being hydrated helps your body function at its best.

Spend time in nature and/or with animals. Visit a dog park or cat cafe, spend some time helping at a local animal rescue. Or get yourself outside to enjoy some fresh air and sunlight. Just a few minutes a day can do wonders for the mood and stress levels.

Eat food that you enjoy and helps you feel good. Nourishing your body goes a long way to helping it restore itself and manage future stressful situations. I was recently introduced to this pudding that uses avocados. It’s delicious and I did not expect it to be so satisfying. This is a great option for people sensitive to gluten and dairy who want to enjoy a dessert that won’t have them stressed.

avochocmousse.jpg

De-Stressing Chocolate Pudding - Serves 6

3 ripe avocados

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 dash salt

Instructions: Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Try adding a pinch of cinnamon for a deeper flavor.


References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/

I hope you can join me for the webinar I’m hosting Friday November 9th at 12 PM PST. RSVP now!

Nancy Trunzo1 Comment