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relationship between cortisol and stress

How are cortisol and stress related? Cortisol is nothing but what we have been calling the stress hormone. It is released by adrenal gland into our blood stream, whenever our brain perceives that the changes happening around us are a threat to our survival.

Our body's natural response in such a situation, when it perceives the change as harmful for our survival, is to try to fight the change; or to flee from it. Both these automatic responses require much more heightened sensory abilities, than what is available to us in our normal daily routine.

You may have heard stories about how an ordinary man or woman displayed extraordinary strength or grit when they were attacked, and came out of the threatening situation successfully. That is nothing but our stress hormone, cortisol, in action.

What exactly does cortisol do to us, when released into our body?

Several changes, a few prominent ones being:

  • It gives us that extra boost of energy needed to protect ourselves, either by fighting or fleeing from our real or perceived threat.
  • Our senses are sharpened and become more alert.
  • Memory momentarily improves, and
  • Pain threshold is lowered.

So are we saying cortisol is good for our body?

Yes, and is in fact necessary for our potential survival - as long as it is released in a limited amount, or on a strictly as needed basis. In fact, too little cortisol is also known to cause fatigue and exhaustion problems.

But in today's reality, many of the situations we run into in our daily lives do not pose a direct threat to our physical survival.

And consequently, most of these situations do not warrant the release of excess cortisol into our system.

And yet, because of the importance we assign to these situations, these stress hormones do get released into our system on a daily basis. And our body reacts the same way to a perceived threat, as it does to a real threat, by releasing equal hormones.

So how does all the extra cortisol that gets released into our system, affect us?

  • It affects our mental performance, our memory suffers
  • Immunity reduces, we get sick often
  • Blood pressure rises, we feel constantly on the edge
  • Blood sugar imbalances can occur

And in many more ways.

Oh yes, we become stressed, and we feel the stress.

How do we keep cortisol under control?

Following preventive stress management tips, and proactively looking for ways to deal with stress, go a long way in helping keep the negative slant between cortisol and stress at bay.

One way is to listen to soothing self hypnosis sessions can help relieve the stressful feelings in your body and mind.

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