Cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) is secreted by your adrenal glands. It helps regulate your blood pressure; it’s involved in your immune function, insulin release and many other factors within your body.
As you can see it’s an important hormone.
Your cortisol levels tend to be higher in the morning and lower at night when your body starts to relax before you go to bed.
Cortisol was termed “the stress hormone” because it’s at its highest level during the bodies fight or flight response to stress, which is the body’s response to imminent danger or threat. During this time cortisol and adrenalin are released into the body which will cause your heart rate to speed up, shunting blood flow to your major muscles, which will give your body a quick burst of energy and strength.
We’ve all seen on TV when a person lifts a car of someone who is trapped underneath, this is their fight or flight response to the situation.
After you experience a burst of the stress hormone, it’s important that your body returns to a relaxation response, so it can return to normal. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen due to the high pressured lives that we tend to lead these days, which for some people can result in chronic stress.
Chronic stress can have such negative effects on your body. You may experience blood sugar imbalance, high blood pressure, lower immunity which means you will pick up illnesses a lot easier and find it hard to fight them off, increased abdominal fat which is associated with a lot of extra problems such as strokes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Not everyone is the same and certain people will release more cortisol than other people.
It has been proven that people who have higher levels of cortisol also overeat, they tend to crave carbohydrates and I don’t mean the healthy fruit and vegetable kind! They eat a lot more cakes, white bread, white pasta and biscuits.
There are plenty of dietary supplements out there telling you that by popping a pill it can reduce your cortisol level and help you lose weight but no studies have shown that they actually work.
One of the best methods of reducing your stress hormone is through doing regular exercise and the added benefit of exercise it burns body fat whilst you are doing it!
It’s important that you learn how to keep cortisol, the stress hormone under control. You must learn to relax and take yourself out of stressful situations that you find difficult to cope with.
That may be easier said than done but to keep yourself in good health; you must start to put yourself first.
There are a number of different techniques that you can use to help reduce your stress levels, here are a few that you can start straight away.
• Breathing Exercises
• Listen to Music
• Writing down your stressful situation
Next time you are in a stressful situation, or someone is causing you stress then take yourself away from that situation. If you can’t exercise then find a quiet spot and breathe deeply and relax, after all it’s all about getting a strong healthy body and you don’t want cortisol to come along and ruin it for you.