When stress overwhelms
Cortisol is the predominant stress hormone, and understanding it on a deeper level helps explain why. Cortisol is involved in a spectrum of processes in the human brain and body, from blood sugar regulation and metabolism to your body’s immune response. It is central to the body‘s fight or flight response which is a critical piece of human existence and evolution. Suffice to say, we wouldn’t be alive without it. But we seem to be witnessing a trend today in which people are suffering from too much cortisol. Chronic stress, along with prolonged use of corticosterioids, are two of the primary causes for prolonged high levels of cortisol in humans.
What happens with too much cortisol
Every part of the body and brain are affected when cortisol levels remain high for prolonged periods of time. You may gain weight rapidly, or start to develop acne; it can increase anxiety and interfere with sleep, adding to the cycle of stress; it can cause fertility problems and affect your libido. These are just a few of the side-effects of high cortisol levels that may prompt a raised eyebrow. If you are feeling chronically stressed out, it is worth asking your health provider about cortisol levels and their effect on our life.
Reducing cortisol levels naturally
- Start with diet: a diet low in nutrients and high in processed ingredients does only bad things for hormone balance and blood sugar regulation. This can raise cortisol levels and inflammatory markers in the blood.
- Address your stress: we all go through wave-like periods of stress and relief. If your peaks and nadirs feel particularly polarized, it’s time to start focusing on stress reduction. If possible, indulge yourself by pursuing activities you like that don’t have such a serious edge.
- Get out and exercise: exercise increases circulation which oxygenates the brain and improves the functioning of all the major systems in the body. Exercise actually plays a direct role in cortisol regulation.
- Focus on sleep: sleep and stress are inextricably linked. Fearlessly search for the factors that are causing your sleeplessness and focus on overcoming them as soon as possible. For example, if back pain is keeping you up at night, stop ignoring it and seek treatment!
If you suspect that high cortisol levels are affecting your wellbeing, you should seek the opinion of a medical professional. It is our opinion that most people could benefit from lowering cortisol levels through natural methods. At Associates in Chiropractic, we are dedicated to helping people find natural health solutions to improve wellness. If you are living a high-stress lifestyle that leaves little room for your sanity and wellbeing, give our office a call and let’s start reducing the stress in your life today.