Our bodies have a built in survival mechanism for times when we are in danger. In response to a threat, the brain sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, which is part of the brain that connects the endocrine system to the nervous system. From this signal, adrenaline is released and triggers the sympathetic nervous systems “fight or flight” response. This causes changes in our body to help us deal with the threat. Increased blood pressure and heart rate push blood into our muscles. Our breathing becomes rapid to increase oxygen intake. Our alertness increases and stored glucose is released for immediate energy.
After the initial adrenaline release, cortisol, known as our stress hormone, is released to maintain our ability to deal with the high stress we are experiencing. This is a natural response to help us survive.
This becomes a problem when living a high stress lifestyle keeps our adrenaline and cortisol levels elevated. It can lead to health problems like anxiety, depression, insomnia, weak immune response, inflammation, low libido, moodiness, fat gain, muscle tension, digestive issues, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, memory and concentration impairment. Too much stimulant consumption (too much caffeine) can cause chronically high levels of these stress hormones.
With chronically high stress hormones, there is a decrease in sex hormones production as well as human growth hormone production, so building muscle comes to a halt and so does your sex drive.
How do we cope with this?
By spending time at the opposite spectrum.
If we are chronically stressed, these hormones are turned on too often. To combat this, we need the opposite, which is relaxation. We need to turn on our "rest and digest" hormones. Here are some ideas to help:
* Get regular Message or Osteopathic treatments, which are both effective at turning on your bodies calm, relaxed state by activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
* Take regular, leisurely walks in nature. Nature has a way of calming and grounding us and helping us to feel restored.
* Meditate or just sit quietly, breathing deeply, focusing only on your breathing or your heart beat. Do this whenever you feel you need it.
Anything you enjoy that helps you relax should be done regularly to combat your stresses, and help you to refresh. Hot baths, pleasure reading or anything else you can think of.