I know it’s been a while since I wrote a post, so I thought it was about time I gave you your mindset fix. Well, actually this one could legitimately be called a body fix too.
Our bodies react to stress in a number of ways, primarily due to a combination of 2 main hormones. The first, adrenalin, is loud and rather obnoxious. It announces its presence by raising your heart rate, making your limbs shake, narrowing your focus and thoughts on 1 thing (the threat). When we think about the fight/flight response, adrenalin is the hormone responsible for the physical “symptoms” we experience. It is designed to get us through a crisis and will then disappear (which is when we most often fall apart). Often the way to best cope with this one’s obnoxious nature is to simply allow yourself some down time following the crisis. Nurture yourself, breathe, be mindful, relax, do things you enjoy.
The other hormone, cortisol, is by comparison, the shy little brother. It is sneaky and insidious and builds layer upon layer of impacts. I’ll cover them briefly here and will follow this up with a full post in the next couple of days. For the moment though, a summary will suffice. Cortisol builds up in your body over time and affects most aspects of your wellbeing. Immune function (making you prone to illness), heart disease, weight gain, sleep, digestion, depression, anxiety, memory and concentration, among other things.
This article from Mind, Body, Green has a slide show on 13 relatively simple (and many of them enjoyable) things you can do to lower your cortisol levels, thereby improving your well-being and overall health. You’ll find the functions of your body improve and you will hopefully find that you’ll have more energy to get through your days.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with these strategies and how they help your stress levels!