Seemingly very simple advice. I have long suspected that the increased and ever-increasing stress on the human nervous system requires increased attention and efforts to develop a relaxation habit. About the physiology of stress and hormones that take part in the destructive stress “business” below:
The stress hormone in the blood triggers the same reactions in the human body that made our distant ancestors fight or flee when faced with predators or other environmental hazards. For glands that produce hormones, several thousand years is not a period. So it is to them that we can say “thank you” for the “easy replay” in response to stressors. Let’s find out what hormones are produced during stress and what to do to effectively return the body to normal.
Stress hormone cortisol
The steroid hormone cortisol is the most well-known stress hormone responsible for this unpleasant condition. Like all substances that our body produces, it is needed for some reason. Here’s why: at critical moments, cortisol takes control of fluid balance and pressure, dampens those bodily functions that do not play a large role in saving lives, and improves the functioning of systems that can save us. Thus, cortisol inhibits:
Don’t give in to stress and let it guide you.
In brief moments of danger or anxiety, this does not matter, but the situation changes completely when you are under the influence of prolonged stress (which has practically become the norm in modern life). In this case, an increased level of cortisol in the blood significantly reduces the effectiveness with which the immune system fights off infections and viruses, raises pressure to an uncomfortable level, increases the amount of sugar in the blood, causes sexual dysfunction, skin problems, growth, etc.
Nutritionists note that the stress hormone cortisol causes the desire to constantly eat something high in calories and sugars, which not only disrupts blood sugar levels and can lead to diabetes, but also noticeably adds centimeters at the waist. And they, in turn, contribute to an already long list of stressors.
5+ Ways to Reduce Cortisol Production
Walking in the fresh air has a positive effect on the body
Fortunately, we are not held hostage to the negative effects of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Tips on how to reduce it will help you effectively restore normal body function.
So, to reduce your hormone production by 12-16%, just chew the gum! This simple action helps you distract and relax. The parts of the brain that are activated when the digestive system starts up (and chewing is the catalyst for the process) reduce the stress on the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol. If you prefer natural treats, eat a couple of tablespoons of honey and walnuts. It will not only help the nerves, but also strengthen the immune system.
Tip: Use gum, not a small snack like a cookie or a sandwich, so you don’t build up extra calories.
Meditation can help reduce cortisol production by about 20% . In addition, regular relaxation practices reduce pressure and help distract yourself from difficult thoughts and stressful circumstances – at work, in your personal life, etc. Any activity that draws your attention to the spiritual sphere, in principle, is excellent in reducing stress. You can choose what is closer to you:
Walk in nature, away from the bustle of the city
Meditative manual creativity
Attending a service in a church
Eastern practices: yoga, qigong, tai chi and others
Massage is an effective way to deal with stress, and therefore with the production of cortisol. A relaxing session will literally physically help shake off the accumulated anxieties, increase the content of so-called happiness hormones in the blood: dopamine and serotonin.
Advice: if you are an active lifestyle supporter, do not forget about sports. It works in a similar way, while enhancing your health and increasing stamina. Running is an excellent choice.
Get enough sleep – or at least take the time to nap during the day. Sleep is essential for lowering blood cortisol levels. Try to get at least the recommended eight hours of sleep and remember that sleep is the best rest for your brain and body. By getting enough sleep, you are much more effective at solving everyday problems, not allowing them to accumulate in a huge coma of stressful circumstances. A small workout with dumbbells at home helps you to get exhausted. At the same time, you can help your body.
A cup of fragrant tea will perfectly cheer you up!
A natural relaxant that you probably have at home is regular black tea. Brew a cup of sweet, aromatic tea and give yourself a few minutes for a cozy and relaxing tea – it will help reduce the level of stress hormones in the blood by 40-50%, thanks to the action of flavonoids and polyphenols contained in tea.
Tip: choose large leaf tea instead of tea bags – it contains many more nutrients.
And finally, the simplest recipe, which is also one of the most effective: listen to music! An enjoyable, positive, relaxing or invigorating playlist promotes dopamine and serotonin secretion and decreases cortisol production. Classical music is considered especially useful during times of stress, as it activates the maximum parts of the brain and forms new neural connections – literally growing new nerve cells for you.
Music has a healing effect on the nerves
Adrenaline: what stress really is
As a stress hormone, adrenaline gives us an unambiguous hint of the nature of disturbing circumstances. As you know from the school curriculum, adrenaline is generated when you are afraid. It makes the heart and muscles work more actively, and the brain – to focus on one problem: how to escape from a threatening situation. Should I fight her? Should I run?
Under the influence of adrenaline, the body functions to the limit, also limiting your horizons, creativity and the ability to relax. An increased load with prolonged exposure to this hormone leads to excessive fatigue, headaches and mental fatigue: due to concentration on the problem, it seems that nothing but it in life already exists.
How to calm down and say goodbye to adrenaline
To stop being afraid, you must first fight the cause of the fear. Take a closer look at your life: what is causing you distinct discomfort? Stress factors can be:
Troubled environment in the area where you live
If you are having difficulty identifying problem areas on your own, talk to a partner, a trusted friend, or a professional. Often, fear is associated with experiences from childhood, and in order to completely get rid of this feeling, the help of a psychologist will be very helpful. Adrenaline is especially dangerous for pregnant women, in this case it is necessary to resort to outside help for the baby’s health.
Talk about your problems with loved ones. It is important!
Advice: no need to be afraid of going to a specialist. Choose a doctor carefully and do not hesitate to go to trial consultations with several of them in order to choose the one who inspires your trust and disposition.
In addition, it is possible to reduce the production of the stress hormone adrenaline with the help of healthy sleep and a diet that excludes sweet, fatty and starchy foods.
Stress hormone in women
There is another unexpected enemy in the female body, which under normal circumstances does not carry anything bad – this is prolactin. It is normally responsible for lactation and naturally rises during pregnancy, after breastfeeding, or after sex. However, in a stressful situation, its production can increase, converting prolactin into a stress hormone.
Prolonged exposure to prolactin on a woman’s body leads to problems with the reproductive system, menstrual irregularities and ovulation, a decrease in estrogen levels and a “shutdown” of libido. The most terrible disease it can cause is diabetes mellitus. Prolactin also inhibits the effects of dopamine, making it even harder for you to enjoy what you normally enjoy – and thus increasing stress.
Normalization of prolactin levels
Dopamine is the main assistant in the fight against elevated prolactin levels. These hormones compete in a peculiar way in the body, and the activation of dopamine production inhibits the production of the female stress hormone. Doing something that brings you pleasure, making time for hobbies and rest – this will be the first step towards normalizing your condition.
Don’t be alone with your problems.
Proper nutrition is of the utmost importance. Essential substances in the highest concentrations can be found in a variety of fruits and berries:
It will be useful to take vitamins, especially if the stress overtook you in the autumn-winter period. Save yourself from vitamin deficiency and help your body deal with anxiety!
How to prevent hormonal disruption during stress
Knowing what stress hormones are called, and how to effectively deal with their increased production in the body, you can quickly cope with a negative condition. However, it is even more important to know how to prevent hormonal disruption so that you can deal with stress even before it absorbs you.
The main rule is to listen to your body. Give yourself time to rest and relax, exercise, eat right, and spend more time outdoors. Do not forget about communication, which helps the psyche to unload and switch from anxiety to more positive experiences. Take frequent rest breaks and use anti-stress toys to relieve tension.
Tip: Choose to meet people you like. A society of repulsive personalities can only aggravate the condition.
Remember, you can manage your stress as well as your pleasure. Therefore, do not let him take over. Be healthy and happy