Do you think we live in a stressed society? Do you feel tired on a daily basis for no reason or effort that gives you an explanation? Have you noticed that your sleep rhythm has changed? Do you feel bloated or bloated when you finish eating? Do you regularly feel tightness or pressure in the chest? Have you noticed that you live in a constant state of alertness? Have you noticed an increase in hair fall?
All this questionnaire is not intended for the third degree … but it can help us to assess whether we are living in a state of constant stress, something that we must stop now if we do not want to stay intoxicated. are by our own cortisol…
Table of Contents
What is cortisol?
cortisol, the stress hormone
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is essential to the body and has many important functions. I list its three essential functions:
Regulation of metabolism: Helps control how the body uses nutrients and energy. For example, cortisol can increase the release of glucose (sugar) into the blood during times of stress or energy needs. It may also promote protein breakdown and fatty acid mobilization to provide the body with energy.
Stress response: This is part of the body’s stress response and helps prepare it to deal with situations of physical or emotional stress. Cortisol can increase heart rate and blood pressure, as well as promote the release of stored energy so the body can respond to stress.
Regulation of inflammation: In situations where inflammation occurs in the body, cortisol can help reduce inflammation and regulate the body’s immune response. However, excess cortisol can also suppress the immune system and increase the risk of infection and autoimmune diseases.
This is where the crux of the matter comes in:
While cortisol is essential to the body, an imbalance in its production and levels can have negative health consequences. Excessive or insufficient cortisol may contribute to other health problems such as obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety.
Therefore, it is important to keep cortisol levels in balance through a healthy lifestyle and effective stress management strategies.
Of course, it all sounds so simple, so simple and logical, said like that… but the body doesn’t understand the words when the mind is permanently communicating danger. A test, a worry, a difficult conversation, a person who doesn’t share the same values or ideas as us… thoughts, ideas, feelings change the biochemistry of our body and the mind doesn’t know how to figure it out What is a real danger that is only in our mind.
‘We pay more for what we think than what actually happens’
There is a very popular phrase that says: “We suffer more for what we think than for what actually happens.” In fact, almost 90% of our worries are not real. It may take us a book or several volumes of a good thing, but as we begin to learn how our mind-body works and how we respond to threats we perceive to threaten our existence. Let’s put ourselves in context.
Because yes: stress in itself is not bad. It’s an amazing evolutionary bias that has allowed us to survive as a species. When we feel in danger, our body reacts very effectively, preparing body and mind for flight or fight, and thank goodness. The wonderful and precise mechanism that our body-mind must have to be able to respond to a threat works like a Swiss watch. The problem comes when that response doesn’t stop and we stay on alert for longer than necessary…
Threats Have Changed, But Our “Fight/Flight” Response Has Not
It all goes back to our hunter-gatherer grandparents, something that may seem very distant to us, but on a physiological level it is not that long ago. When the grandparent was at risk of finding either a predator, adverse weather conditions, or a good game to eat… the body responded by secreting cortisol, among other substances, to respond to that threat.
But today, when we have the same physiology as before, we are presented with threats that our mind threatens our existence (work, money, family, health…) and the body in its “fight and flight” mode. Responds with. .. But this may be a disproportionate response to the situation. This is where consciousness comes into play. Being aware of the situation creates a turning point where we can take action to manage our reactions to stress.
eye! This does not mean that it is our “fault” that we feel stressed because of an unfair situation, a serious health problem for ourselves or a family member, or a conflict resulting from a traumatic event in our lives. The question is to shed light on the causes of that stress and examine whether it is only in our mind or if it is something real. Reality can be seen only through consciousness.
Now let’s see what happens to our body and mind when stress overwhelms us and we are on top of cortisol…
When a person experiences a stressful situation, the brain activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which in turn stimulates the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands.
Cortisol prepares the body to respond to stress by increasing blood sugar, raising blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.
If the body is under chronic stress, the prolonged release of cortisol can have negative effects on health. For example:
Weakened immune system: Cortisol suppresses the immune system response, which can lead to increased susceptibility to infection and disease.
Sleep problems: High cortisol levels can disrupt sleep, which can affect general well-being and quality of life, leading to irritability, isolation…
Weight gain: Cortisol can increase the level of insulin in the body, which can lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems.
Heart problems: Cortisol can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which increases the risk of heart problems.
Digestive Problems: Cortisol can contribute to digestive problems such as heartburn, reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, intolerances, SIBO…
Memory and concentration problems: which can cause difficulty with learning and performing complex tasks.
Skin problems: such as acne, dermatitis and premature ageing.
Yes, many of you may think: But if almost all diseases are here… In fact, when we are in a permanent state of alertness, it is like a car with the engine running continuously and the accelerator And apply brake pressure. at the same time; In the end, the machine ends up breaking down, doesn’t it? Take account…
I want to stress the fact that, although it is true that there are situations in life that we cannot avoid and it is logical that we feel anxious and stressed: rising prices, inflation, social injustice, the environment, any The health of the loved one…; It is also true that we can do a lot of good for ourselves by knowing ourselves and knowing what our vigilance is.
To facilitate this self-knowledge, there are several strategies over which we can have some control. I tell you…
How to reduce cortisol?
1/ Regular exercise
Moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking or running, may be particularly effective at reducing cortisol. As well as strength training and all kinds of disciplines that promote coordination and concentration on the breath, such as yoga or Pilates.
2/ get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can increase the level of cortisol in the body, so it is important to get enough sleep every night. Try to sleep for at least 7-8 hours at night.
3/ Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can lower cortisol levels in the body. Spend a few minutes a day practicing these relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
4/ Reduce caffeine intake
It is important to reduce or eliminate the consumption of coffee and other caffeinated or stimulant beverages.
5/ Eat a healthy diet
Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.
6/ Avoid stressful situations
If avoiding the stressful situation is not possible, try to find ways to manage stress effectively, such as relaxation techniques, breathing, or physical exercise.
*Remember: These are some tips to reduce cortisol levels in the body. If you have concerns about your mental health, in particular, or your health in general, and you feel like it’s too much of a weight to bear alone right now… seek help. You are not alone, you are not alone.
From Sport Life I invite you to examine your own life and find out what makes you feel good, what makes you feel bad and how you react to it. Questioning and introspection are very effective ways of dealing with stress.
If you want to get started, I propose this simple mindfulness exercise that I recorded for our YouTube channel with conscious movements, paying special attention to the breath, letting it be the engine of the movements.
Basic Mindfulness Exercises for Athletes
I wish everyone had the opportunity to stop, observe, breathe, and be free. It helps me a lot to remember that this life is only temporary and doesn’t exist after the present moment. It is true that we must heed the lessons that past experiences have taught us and there must be some room for planning for the future; But the harshest reality is that life happens only here and now.
have a nice day ????