Cortisol is vital to keep you healthy in tense situations. If you stay in any stress situation for too long then cortisol can have the opposite effect and make you sick.
The role of cortisol is to restore order to your body, it puts more glucose into your blood stream so you don’t collapse when the adrenalin secretion has stopped, because the frightening event has gone. Your liver responds to extra cortisol in your system by flushing out extra glucose that it is storing.
Way back when we spent our life fighting off tigers, bears, crocodiles and other predators, our cortisol levels spiked along with our secretion of adrenalin to help us in responding to the fight, flight response. It then stopped being released once we were in a safe place.
However, now days, our cortisol levels can stay constantly elevated if we are struggling to cope with the pace of life. We can become over stressed when we have too many texts and emails to respond to, we lose our internet connection, too many assignments, or our boss overloads us with work that is time sensitive. This kind of stress tends not to go away.
If your cortisol levels stay constantly elevated due to your reaction to the way you handle life, then this leads to health problems. Elevated cortisol can inhibit your immune responses which allows you to get sick and it also takes longer for wounds to heal. Too much cortisol can slow bone growth and produce more fragile bones.
Our body’s physiological response to the stress created by our work situation, personal finances, our relationships, our negative thoughts about the future can often result in a desire to eat more fatty and sugary foods. This stress overload activates free cortisol constantly moving around in your system. This in turn leads to weight gain and the inability for a person to lose weight.
Elevated cortisol is also connected to people who are sleep deprived and this in turn is related to weight gain. A no win cycle is set up in your body which can be very difficult to bring under control.
You need to develop your own ‘toolkit’ of strategies and techniques so stress moves from being your enemy, to your friend.
Check out https://www.stresstostrength.com/stress-relief-tools/ to support you in moving forward.