What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
How Does Exercise Reduce Stress Surprising Answers To This Question And More
How does exercise reduce stress, and can exercise really be relaxing?
Rest and relaxation. It’s such a common expression that it has become a cliche. And although rest really can be relaxing, the pat phrase causes many men to overlook the fact that exercise can also be relaxing. It’s true for most forms of physical activity as well as for specific relaxation exercises.
Exercise is a form of physical stress. Can physical stress relieve mental stress? Alexander Pope thought so: “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.” Plato agreed: “Exercise would cure a guilty conscience.” You’ll think so, too if you learn to apply the physical stress of exercise in a controlled, graded fashion.
The Dangers Of Excess Cortisol
Before we look at how to lower cortisol, lets take a look at why too much of it is so hazardous to your health and mental well-being.
When you face a potential threat or danger, your bodys stress response, often called the fight-or-flight response, is triggered.
First, the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine;are released in a;quick;burst.
They quickly dissipate after the stressful situation is over and dont hang around to do any damage.
That is followed by the release of cortisol.
” High levels of cortisol can kill brain cells by literally stimulating them to death.
When your life is one crisis after another, your;body continuously;pours out cortisol.
This leads to a chronically;elevated cortisol level, and this has some serious;health;implications.
If you get your caffeine from coffee, soda, or energy drinks, you may want to switch to tea.
Green tea contains about one-quarter the caffeine of coffee and it also contains two unique relaxing compounds, l-theanine and EGCG .;
According to nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection Diet, l-theanine is an amino acid;that counteracts the cortisol-increasing tendency of caffeine.
EGCG has been found to be a potent inhibitor that blocks the formation of cortisol.;
It also increases the relaxation neurotransmitter GABA.
If green tea isnt your favorite, you can get similar effects from black tea.
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Tips For Controlling Cortisol
To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the bodys relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place.
The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:
Getting more information on stress and resources to help you to manage it can help you to build habits that can help you to cope with stress once your stress response is triggered.
If youre more sensitive to stress, its especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle. This is a great way to get cortisol secretion under control and maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Top Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress. We all experience it, and everyone can benefit from reducing it. Stress can wreak havoc on your health – including your heart health. And reducing stress can go a long way to helping you prevent and maybe even reverse conditions that can lead to heart disease. So, what can you do to reduce your stress and save your heart?
Here are some tips for reducing stress that can have the added benefit of improving your heart health.
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Maintaining A Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine usually results in longer and higher-quality sleep. People should get into the habit of turning off all screens and just relaxing before heading to bed.
It will usually also help to keep phones, and any other potential distractions turned off. Limiting fluid intake before bedtime can also minimize the likelihood of disturbed sleep.
What To Do About It
Effectively dealing with stress requires an integrative approach that not only addresses the causes of stress but also works to actively reverse the damage that has already been done. For me personally, this is one of my toughest health challenges to address, since even though I know what I should be doing, I dont always have time to fit it all in.
To start, we definitely must address the basics:
- Physical Stress: While some physical stress is good other types can be harmful and dietary causes also create a physical stress. A poor diet, especially one that includes any foods you are intolerant or allergic too can create a stress reaction in your body, even if you minimize other types of stresses. To help reduce physical stress, eat a solid real-food diet, get enough sleep and avoid toxins when you can. See the supplement and sleep info below for some practical tips.
- Emotional Stress: This one can obviously have many causes, but can often be addressed by working through tough relationships, making time for prayer and meditation, keeping a gratitude journal to focus on the positive, and making time to unwind.
- Mental Stress: Similar to emotional stress, this type of stress is often helped my meditation, time management, and organization to only need to focus on one tast at a time.
Since this is one of my biggest struggles personally, Ive been experimenting lately with ways to reduce stress and wanted to share some of the ones that seem to be working for me:
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Are There Foods That Reduce Cortisol
Yes, no and maybe. Some research suggests that foods like tea, chocolate and fish oils might lower cortisol. But such studies tend to be small and not very conclusive, Dr. Lin says.
Youre unlikely to balance cortisol levels by adding anchovies to your pizza or scarfing a block of chocolate, she says. But good nutrition can make a difference.
Cortisol interacts with neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters play an important role in mood. And cortisol isnt the only compound that influences them. To make those neurotransmitters, you need all the raw ingredients: vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, Dr. Lin says.
The best way to get them is with a balanced, plant-heavy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, she adds. A healthy diet is the underpinning of stress management.
A balanced meal plan can ensure youre getting the nutrients your body needs. And talk to your doctor about taking a basic multivitamin. Its a good insurance policy to make sure youre not deficient in any vitamins, Dr. Lin says.
How To Overcome Stress By Lowering Your Sensory Load
Most of us living in the modern world are now constantly bombarded by flickering lights, rapidly changing sights and sounds, social media, text, phone, email, TVs, phones, music, games, movies. And all of that is on top of the hectic lives we live. These things are all foreign to our biology and tax our brain on a level that it has never been taxed before in human history.
To cope, the brain is constantly trying to figure out;how to overcome stress and find a way to calm itself down. It does this primarily through trying to increase the inhibitory neurotransmitters, serotonin and GABA. But when these systems are constantly taxed in this way, its a losing battle and you eventually wear out the system and start to create neurotransmitter imbalances.
So think about the following activities you may be doing:
- Always being on the go doing things without taking breaks to recharge.
- Listening to loud aggressive music while driving or exercising.
- Getting involved in exciting, fast-moving or violent movies before going to bed
- Staring at a computer monitor for most of your workday. .
- Staring at the TV for hours.
- Listening to overly stimulating background music .
- Being indoors under artificial light for most of the day. .
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Reduce Cortisol By Monitoring Your Thoughts
One of the most insidious sources of stress is your own mental chatter.
The average brain has 70,000 thoughts each day and, for most people, 70% of them are negative.;
The negative impact of stress is not due to the events in your life as much as it is due to your thoughts; your;automatic negative reactions and;cognitive distortions about these events.
Positive self-talk and thinking can effectively reduce cortisol.;
One of the best ways to gain more control of your thoughts is through meditation.
Research confirms that trying to;multitask;is;stressful and actually makes you less productive.;
Even the seemingly innocuous habit of frequently interrupting what you are doing to check emails increases cortisol levels.;
So, stop multitasking and start focusing on doing one thing at a time.
Chronic Stress Causes Fatigue By Suppressing Your Immune System
One of the other ways that chronic stress can be damaging is through lowering immune function.
While many people think that whenever they get sick, it is because they caught something from someone else some new bug that is going around that is actually not the case most of the time.
Our bodies are full of all sorts of potentially disease-causing germs all the time. In other words, the bugs are usually already inside of us!
When we are healthy and our immune system is functioning well, it keeps these bugs at bay.
But when our immunity is weakened, our bodies become susceptible to these invaders taking hold. . Thus, one of the big problems with chronic stress is that it chronically suppresses immune function.
This can lead to getting new infections as well as reactivation of old latent viruses in your system. When that happens regularly, the body is being chronically overtaxed and is suffering chronic oxidative damage in the cells.
Many types of viruses also specifically attack the mitochondria , thus causing a big hit to our cells ability to produce energy. .
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Cortisol Induced Weight Gain
Problems arise when you are in a constant state of stress. Exposure to cortisol over a long period can lead to weight gain, as your appetite and insulin levels are continuously increased. Continual stress leads to a constant state of excess cortisol production, which stimulates glucose production. This excess glucose gets converted into fat, ending up as stored belly fat.
Alongside the stress and the resulting chronic overload of cortisol, you also feel tired and listless. You reach out for high carb foods to renew your energy and comfort yourself, with the end result of even more extra inches accumulating around your belly.
It is generally accepted that stress-induced cortisol weight is usually gained around the waistline, because fat cells in this area are more sensitive to cortisol. The fat cells in your abdomen are richer in stress hormone receptors, are particularly sensitive to high insulin and are very effective at storing body fat.
Unfortunately, this is the most dangerous place to gain weight, as it can lead to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.
Supplements For Estrogen Dominance
It’s important to determine why you have estrogen dominance to begin with and address that. But, that can take time. In the meantime, leveraging high-quality supplements is a great way to provide your liver with nutrients to process estrogen and could help some women create more favorable estrogen metabolites.;
In addition, probiotics and nutrients that help your body’s stress system may help address some of the other factors that can lead to estrogen dominance.
This is why we designed the Period Problems Kit to provide adrenal, gut, and sex hormone support.
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Yoga And Meditation For Stress Release
Practicing meditation can significantly reduce cortisol production. Most things that are in your control when it comes to healing with stress include relaxation techniques, yoga, exercise and meditation. When the source of stress is ongoing marital or sexual problems, specific counseling may be required.
Yoga is one of the best practices you can do if you need help to relieve stress. We all have stress in our lives, but what we do with that stress, and how we let the stress affect our life, is the real issue that needs to be addressed.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of yoga here is an article I wrote where I open up about my not-so-happy experience with yoga and what I did to turn it around and make it an amazingly wonderful experience.
Have you found yourself under stress lately? What did you do to relieve the stress in your life? Or, perhaps this is the first time you have been made aware of how stress can impact your life. I would love to know what changes you made to help you be more aware of the stress in your life, and what you did to help cope with it. Please share your experience in the comments below.
Let’s Have a Conversation!
Highly Effective Tips For Relieving Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief, however. What works for one person might not work for another.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community .;
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.;
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Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
How To Reduce Stress Hormones
Want to learn how to reduce stress hormones? Youre in the right place. Reducing chronically high stress hormones is sort of my lifes mission.
Stress is, well, stressful. Sometimes we even get stressed out about how much stress were under!
But you dont want to get caught up in that vicious cycle. Trust me.
Stress reduction shouldnt be stressful!
Lets talk about stress, what it is, and how to reduce stress hormones so we can enjoy more vibrant health.
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Stress Causes Fatigue By Inducing A Leaky Brain Barrier
Our brain comes built with a sort of filter thats designed to make sure that substances which shouldnt get into the brain stay out of the brain. The problem is that chronic stress can cause certain types of immune cells;in the brain to release histamine and various inflammatory compounds. Over time, these chemicals can increase permeability in the brain barrier.
This basically means that substances which would normally be prevented from getting into the brain are now getting in, which;leads to inflammation in the brain.
In turn, inflammation in the brain can wreak havoc on all sorts of brain areas that impact on health and energy. Its related to depression and other mood problems, numerous brain diseases, and of course, fatigue.
What Causes A Stressed
Even though stress plays a major role in the buildup of stubborn belly fat that doesnt mean its everything. Your diet and exercise usually have the biggest impact on the size of your lower stomach fat. Then genetics is also a factor as many people have a natural pear-shaped body. Those with an apple-shaped body tend to have worse heart health .
As you age your muscle mass decreases causing your body fat to increase . Having a higher body fat will cause you to quickly store excess fat in places your genetics predisposed to . Since many people tend to gain weight as they age this will also contribute to increases in abdominal fat .
Is belly fat caused by stress?
But with that said your stress also can have a hidden role in the build-up of stomach fat. Constant stress releases the fight or flight response hormone called cortisol . Cortisol is a well-known stress hormone that your body releases when you feel threatened .
With this cortisol pumping through your body youll be better adapted to escape an emergency or fight off a threat. Now its fine if cortisol is going through your body once in a while but when its constant then it becomes a problem. Cortisol can signal for your body to start storing fat in your abdominal area even if youre skinny .
Another problem that arises from having stomach fat is it causes an increase in cortisol . Having visceral fat creates an unhealthy cycle of constant cortisol that especially affects women.
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