Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function, as well as the body’s use of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. When your body experiences stress, it produces cortisol during the “fight or flight”response.
In itself, cortisol is positive as it helps the body deal with stress by granting quick burst of energy, heightening memory functions and lowering sensitivity to pain. But in today’s world where most people deal with stress 24/7, levels of cortisol get too high and stay too long in the bloodstream, and this can have negative effects on our bodies: poor cognitive performance, messed up blood sugars, suppressed thyroid function, decreased bone density and muscle tissue, and lots of other ailments, one of these being increased abdominal fat associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. No fun…
So we go back to the issue of dealing with stress rather than ignoring it.
In order to keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, we need to make the necessary lifestyle changes that will allow our bodies to either not experience too much stress (good luck with that one!) or activate a relaxation response after the fight or flight response does occur. And there is your permission to
take a bubble bath,
read a magazine,
work up a sweat,
go for a walk,
Tell them Barb told you to!