Cortisol, Your Anti-Stress Hormone

Cortisol. People call it the stress hormone. It is really the anti-stress hormone. The how you deal with stress hormone. The conquer the challenge you are facing right now hormone. Historically it was reserved for life or death issues, as in the fight or flight response.

When this fast action hormone gets secreted it suppresses your standard go to action hormone testosterone in men as well as women. Cortisol throws off other hormones and plays a role in all chronic, degenerative diseases of today as well as depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, mental decline, ruins our libido and sex drive, and lowers our quality of life.

Flash forward to today, we pump cortisol at high levels and steadily throughout our day, every day. But very few of us are fighting or flighting.

Here are some actions that have been shown to elicit an acute cortisol reaction:

Poor Sleep
Refined Sugar/Grains
Alarm clock going off
Cell phone alerts
Checking email
Microwave oven proximity
Running late
Driving
Mild dehydration
Financial distress
Arguments/bad relationships

There is a price to pay. Today we see epidemically low levels of testosterone and the series of problems with other hormones that testosterone helps regulate. It is a mess.

But stress is part of life right? Not the stress we deal with. Modern lifestyle stress is invented. It will not harm us, kill us, eat us, nor do we need to run it down to feed ourselves or our family. We have created the stress associated with much of what we deal with on a daily basis. We have created the social construct that keeps us swimming in cortisol. What is worse we have taught this to our children and convinced them it is real and should be accepted as such.

There are many proven ways you can redefine your physiological, psychological reaction to perceived stress, here are a few:

1. Quality Sleep
2. Being physically fit
3. Mental Conditioning
4. Avoiding chemical exposure (contact or ingestion)
5. Periodic Fasting
6. Breath Work
7. Meditation
8. Body work
9. Goal setting
10. Positive social activities

With Cortisol, like any hormone, high peaks are an issue but pale in comparison to steady, constant, exposure. Peaks are what happen to us, are events in life we have a hard time controlling, but the continual secretion combined with the slow dissipation of cortisol from our system creates the constant exposure from the “stress” we have accepted and produced ourselves.

Get clear on what is really important in life. Let go of what is not. Work on your body and mind. Involve your children, form your tribe or join one you like, because it takes a tribe, not a village, it takes a choice not a status quo. You can do this. After all what is the alternative?

Don’t worry, be happy my friends!

Dr. Don

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