Killer Stress: The stress / cortisol connection

stress relief, adrenal fatigue, colorado natural medicine, castle rock

Stress!!! It's a killer!! Literally and figuratively!

The Stress Stigma
Our culture tends to wear stress like a badge of honor.  We're multitasking like crazy, "carving out time" for all kinds of things, stretching our 24 hours and ourselves to limits beyond our wildest imaginations.  Seeking help, asking for support, delegating?  NO WAY we say I'VE GOT THIS.  And we don't just say it, we YELL it with vigor as we rush past each other with a smart phone in one hand and coffee in the other.  Psst … it's okay, we have your back when things get tough.   Kick the stigma.  We can help.

About 80% of doctor visits are related to stress
Learning to manage stress is key!  If you are stressed, we definitely want you to come in and see us to kick-start your healing.  Together, we can get a plan in place to support you and empower you to heal yourself.

What IS stress?
If you want to get scientific about it, stress = Cortisol.  Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone".  So, managing stress means that we are working together to manage your cortisol levels and optimize your adrenal health.  We often start with lab work involving an adrenal stress test to learn about your current levels.

Cortisol is an adrenal hormone and is essential.  Warning … more science coming at you:  most of your cells have cortisol receptors which means that stress (cortisol) affects many areas of your body!  It can affect metabolism, blood sugar, inflammation, memory function, and more.  Did you know that cortisol even affects the salt vs. water balance in our bodies which, in turn, affects blood pressure?! 

Why do we even have cortisol?
Cortisol is good and bad! Why good? Because if you are chased by a lion in the woods, you need energy to run and get away!  It's our primitive fight or flight response mechanism and has kept us humans alive since the cave days. 

Cortisol overload
When your body is in chased-by-a-lion mode all day, you are in cortisol overload.  Consistently high cortisol levels may cause you to gain weight, mess up your sleep, and make you feel anxious or depressed! So yeah, it needs to be managed!   

Here are my 6 favorite ways to manage stress aka cortisol!

  1. Walks
    Walking is one of the best ways to lower cortisol and stress! Why do other countries eat fatty foods and not get fat! Because they walk everywhere and thus their cortisol is lower, so they store less fat! You feel better and manage weight.  A win, win!  So go for a walk, lots of them, they're even better with a good friend to talk to! If going for walks each day sounds too routine … mix it up throughout the week. Do any movement that is fun and relaxing… yoga, relaxing bike ride, etc.
  2. Massage
    Need we say more?  A clear cortisol balancer, right?  Watch out for that stress stigma though!  Getting your cortisol levels down isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.  A massage is no more a luxury than getting an oil change for your car.  Mind/body maintenance!  All that stop and go stress traffic in your system causes wear and tear. 
  3. Acupuncture
    Of course my favorite! A massage for your brain!
  4. Processing and Expressing Emotions
    Caught you off guard with that one didn't I?  Yes, we as a culture are horrible at this in my opinion! Expressing and processing emotions can help lower cortisol, help us feel more connected with others and help us relax. This can be a individual process, so journaling, counseling, talking with a friend or family member, even better if while on a walk!  A good cry and a good hug!
  5. Sleep
    Shoot for 6-8 hours so your stress and cortisol can drop to their lowest and your hormones and nervous system can get reset for the next day! If you have trouble falling or staying asleep try adding in the stress tips above or give us a call.   We love sleep and more importantly love helping others get good sleep.
  6. Warm baths with epson salt
    Epson salt is magnesium.  You sit in it, it soaks into your skin and you feel relaxed.  Magnesium helps the body and mind relax, so if you're feeling stress, add in a warm espon salt bath with 1-2 cups in a tub! And then, give yourself the gift of going to bed earlier than usual (see tip #5).

cortisol, stress, adrenal fatigue, colorado natural medicine, castle rock coloradoTreat yourself with love, respect, compassion, and kindness.  Kick the stress stigma by using our tips above to stop.the.stress. Get out of the daily fight or flight lion chase.  And, just take it one step at a time.  We can help.  No need to get stressed out about trying to be less stressed out.

Click here to book your free 15 minute phone consult.


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