In today’s modern world, people are always in a hurry to get things done. Working from 9 till 5 every day is hard, paying bills and juggling a private life, especially with a big family, is no easy task either and yet it must be done – one way or another.
A tough repercussion and the biggest problem of this kind of lifestyle is a large amount of stress. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in reality, it can be very dangerous for each individual experiencing it.
It comes in many forms and things that cause stress vary from person to person.
The question poses itself – how does one overcome the overwhelming stress?
Thankfully, it’s not an unsolvable issue. There are different ways of toning down the level of stress, varying from psychological tips to actual substances called stress supplements.
The way our body functions is amazing. It’s very complicated and its organs do their best to try and keep our body healthy.
The organs are connected to the brain which releases certain hormones in order for us to deal with certain situations. One very important organ we have is called the adrenal gland.
The adrenal glands are situated above kidneys. They contain an inner medulla and an outer cortex, which produces steroids.
One of such steroids is a hormone named cortisol – it is very important for us because it helps us cope with the stress. However, too much of a good thing can turn out to be not so good. Cortisol levels can sometimes be very high for a long time, which can cause particular problems to the body.
Adrenal problems can include:
–chronic complications – which means there is a risk of high blood pressure, diabetes as well as osteoporosis.
–weight gain is a possibility due to body wanting to store fat
–hormones are impaired, which means sleeping patterns are also impaired
–brain functions can be weakened, for example, the memory is worsened
–the body is weaker, and as such more prone to infections
-sometimes, high levels of cortisol can even cause an illness such as Cushing’s disease.
As aforementioned, there are ways the weaken our attacker called stress.
Firstly, it’s important to always have a good night’s sleep. Length, quality and time of sleep influence cortisol.
If one sleeps during the day and not during the night, certain helpful hormones can’t be created and therefore, there is a larger amount of cortisol and a larger amount of stress. This problem mostly influences people who work during the night shift as well as people with health problems such as insomnia.
In order to improve the quality of sleep, you should include exercising in your everyday life, avoid caffeine close to bedtime and not look at a phone/TV screen as well as take the occasional short nap during the day.
Exercising can increase or decrease cortisol, dependent on the intensity. The short-term increase helps prepare the body for rigorous training, while it later decreases during the night.
Having a strong mental state is very important in keeping up with the stress and hopefully lowering it. Stressful thinking is a great help to the increase of cortisol. The cure is to be aware of such thoughts – to work on breathing and lowering heart rate which would be fastened in stressful times.
Another important aspect is being able to relax, which is never easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Friends and family are also very important in being less stressed; the more time you spend with your loved ones, the less stressed out you will be, so the least you could do for others and yourself is to try and maintain healthy relationships.
Another great way to release stress is by getting a pet – there is a reason a dog is considered a man’s best friend.
In the beginning, it was mentioned there were two types of steroids produced by the adrenal glands. The first one was cortisol and the second, more famous one is called adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in the medulla of the adrenal glands and in neurons of the central nervous system. They are, just like cortisol, released into the bloodstream and their goal is to reach certain organs and have an effect called fight or flight; it means that our body is enduring certain amounts of stress due to our primal instinct, but without the adrenaline the body wouldn’t be able to protect itself.
Key actions adrenaline has an effect on are:
increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, dilation of the pupils, expanding the air passages of the lungs as well as changing the body’s metabolism in order to increase glucose levels in the blood.
Adrenaline is released only in the time of need – during acute stress.
Overproduction of adrenaline is common and the symptoms include:
rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, anxiety, weight loss and excessive sweating. Rarely, the overproduction of adrenaline causes an adrenal tumor called paraganglioma. Adrenaline deficiency is extremely rare and it’s not considered a medical condition.
The next segment is very important and it is in regard to nutrition.
One of the biggest cortisol triggers is sugar. On the contrary, a few foods benefit you by lowering the amount of cortisol being produced and they are dark chocolate, various fruit, black and green tea and water.