You might remember that earlier on in the course we talked about the interplay between testosterone cortisol and estrogen and suggested that these hormones compete in the body for metabolic pathways. For this reason it’s important to go a little bit deeper into the topic of cortisol more specifically to understand the top cause of cortisol stress.
You’ve probably heard of people refer to cortisol as the stress hormone. Truthfully speaking this is a huge oversimplification though that nickname can cause you to think that cortisol is an inherently bad thing. The reality is that without it we would drop dead on the spot. Cortisol is an essential hormone for hundreds of processes from gluconeogenesis to memory to immune response and many more.
Unfortunately however the old adage about all things in moderation is especially true when it comes to Corozal in excess cortisol not only lowers our body’s natural testosterone but also can cause osteoporosis insulin resistance immune dysfunction and a lot of other really nasty things that we won’t get into here. As with all of the other hormones we’ve learned about then the key when it comes to cortisol is to allow the body to properly regulated finding and maintaining the ideal moderate levels. So how do we keep Corozal in check.
Well as the nickname suggests cortisol is elevated by stress of course I can’t tell you to simply avoid stress because that’s unfortunately not a realistic request. In today’s fast paced society however what I will do is give you some quick tips for minimizing and reducing cortisol boosting stress in your life. The first and perhaps most important tip I can give you is meditation.
You might think that meditation is a bunch of religious or spiritual Woo-Woo but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. In fact out of the plus superhumans I’ve interviewed on my podcast The overwhelming majority have said in meditation or mindfulness practice as one of the key factors to their success. At this point there are literally thousands of studies proving the benefits of meditation. From studies showing actual physical alterations in the structure and chemistry of the brain to study showing decreased cortisol levels in experienced meditators exposed to stressful stimuli.
Two studies that show meditation actually increases testosterone and much much more. Meditation is so thoroughly backed by the medical community that it needs almost no substantiation. The bottom line. Meditation can powerfully alter the way your body and your mind react to stress. Among many other benefits and you be very wise to incorporate it into your daily routine. The idea behind meditation is a simple one. We train the body and the mind to slow down.
Focus on one thing such as our breath and thereby learn to monitor and control our emotions and reactions . It takes months or years of practice but eventually the goal is to gain the ability to look at life’s stressful situations impartially and to avoid getting sucked into or being affected by stressful situations . Against your will. Personally after just four or five months of meditating everyday I found that I was able to observe my negative thoughts and emotions as they started to arise. And in doing so I was able to pick and choose whether I wanted to engage with them or not. In the syllabus I’ve given you a few fantastic links about meditation and mindfulness to help you get started.
Meditation will get you a long way when it comes to reducing stress in your life but it’s not the only measure you should take. Indeed if you truly want to ensure optimal health you need to do everything you can to eliminate stress in your life. This may mean setting clear boundaries with your co-workers implementing more effective organization systems or reaching out to potential people in your life who can support you during stressful times . Far too often these days high performing individuals thrive off stress and feed off the adrenaline rush that it provides without realizing that it is literally killing them slowly.
Stress is toxic to our well-being and to our bodies screwing up our sleep boosting our cortisol and dramatically damaging the healthy balance of hormones in our bodies. If you want to ensure optimal endocrine health take some time to look at your lifestyle and identify the sources of stress in your life. Some of them of course will be unavoidable. Some of them will be temporary. But if you’re truly honest with yourself you may just find that a lot of the stress in your life is self-imposed.
I know I know. Sometimes stress feels great. It helps us meet that deadline. It motivates us and let’s be honest sometimes the feeling of being busy and stressed makes us feel important like we have meaning and purpose in our lives. But realistically speaking going through our lives this way is both dangerous and exhausting. From my experience it’s much better to find our motivation and satisfaction from within and then to operate from a place of calm collected control. So much of the stress we feel is unavoidable can actually be avoided with tools such as better communication better delegation better efficiency or better organization.
I talk a lot about all of that. In my other courses so I won’t revisit it here. However your homework for this episode is to look back over the last few weeks of your life and ask yourself where you felt stressed. Once you’ve identified some of the sources of your stress ask yourself how you could have avoided them and maybe something as simple as starting to write that final paper a few weeks early or having an honest conversation with your partner about his or her unrealistic expectations. In any other situation it may just be a case of getting organized to prevent the panic of losing important documents.
Whatever you find I encourage you to pay special attention to the sources of stress in your life and look at them with your problem solving cap on. If you treat stress like the toxic threat that it really is rather than some form of motivation or recognition you’ll start engineering ways to avoid it and only good things can come from that.