Stress, Hormones and It’s Effects
Beginning our day with a calm relaxed mind has many advantages as we all know. But in order to see these advantages we need to understand the drawbacks and workings of a non-calmed mind. In essence, a non calmed mind is a stressed mind. Stressors happen daily, whether it is subconscious or conscious and the way that we deal with these stressors can have a big impact on our body, especially when we are attempting to reach a certain goal. When the body is stressed it cannot perform optimally, and many of its thoughts will produce negative reactions and responses to various stimuli within our body which a calmed, stress-free mind would otherwise be able to handle in a more controlled and logical fashion.
The interesting fact is that stress actually changes your body’s chemistry. Trying to put up or deal with stress results in a chemical change that may be quick to pass or could possibly take many weeks, depending on which way your body wants to fight it. In the struggle to gain strength, lose weight or perform at our optimal level, stress is a major factor that needs some consideration. Understanding how to handle stress is very important to achieve the fitness level and physique that you desire.
During stressful situations our body releases two hormomes; fast-acting Adrenaline and long-lived Cortisol. The short term response to body stressors is the release of massive amounts of Adrenaline; which acts to increase your heart rate and breathing like when you are scared or surprised. For our long-term reaction to stress that occur on a daily basis, the body uses a hormone called cortisol, which enters our bloodstream at a slower pace. Once cortisol is present in our body, it slows our metabolism down and may take months or even years to remove its excessive effects. One important fact to know is that cortisol is closely associated with belly fat, which leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health related issues. Life is becoming more and more stressful as an American and in return our bodies are producing more and more cortisol. People are eating more starchy processed foods only contributing to the obesity epidemic we are facing today.
Its not only our daily stressors that affect us, we even stress when we sleep, making it more difficult to function the next day. Several hours before you get up in the morning, a very tiny portion of your brain, sends a signal to stimulate your adrenal glands which causes a slight rise in adrenaline. And further more after you have awakened, cortisol levels begin to rise. Most heart attacks and strokes occur between 6 am and 8 am in the morning and are often related to the increased rise of cortisol. It is obvious that getting cortisol under control is of a major importance for a healthy fit individual.
BEST TIME TO COMBAT STRESS?
Cortisol is usually at its highest level a few hours after you wake. Over a period of time through the day, your levels decrease. This can answer the age-old question of the when is the best time to exercise. Mornings are optimal as your cortisol levels are high and you have the best chance to suppress them at this time. Nothing like releasing a little tension by lifting weights or taking a class!
REACHING OUR GOALS!
We all have specific goals we want to achieve, and a general direction we want our lives to head in. If we are running around stressed, frustrated, dishonest, with forced anger and violent actions pressed on others, how can we remain focused and calm enough to accomplish our own life’s goals?
This becomes more important when trying to achieve physique related goals. Anytime a goal is set with a stressed or disorganized mind, you can expect to struggle whether you know it or not. Some of the obvious steps to controlling stress are associated with simplifying your life. Putting too much on your daily schedule is a sure way to make life too difficult. There is no question that some people seem to handle stress much better than others, but it is a constant work in progress. Life is too short to walk around stressed out, so try taking a look at your daily habits by organizing your day. Try adding things to help combat stress can help fight these effects; taking a quick vacation, exercising, taking a nap, or doing anything that helps you to relax and feel good, will likely result in a decrease of cortisol!