Cortisol is elevated in response to stress. The stress can chemical, physical, environmental or psychological. The human brain is hard wired with automatic responses to protect the body from harm. In this “fight or flight” response, the adrenal glands enlarge and secrete large quantities of adrenal cortical hormones.
These hormones suppress inflammatory responses and mobilise the body‘s energy reserves. This puts the body on ALERT and diverts all of the body‘s biochemical resources to immediate survival. This “fight or flight” response works well when in a life or death situation, but it is generally not suited to our modern lifestyle. Meeting deadlines, constant information overload, battling traffic, and watching the evening news can produce the same physiological responses as running for your life. Unfortunately, the stimuli don‘t stop and go away; this leaves the body with chronic high cortisol levels.
The consequence of continual chronically elevated cortisol levels can be the accumulation of abdominal fat and an increased difficulty in getting rid of it. The immune system is suppressed and the individual becomes more susceptible to infections, both minor and major.
Stress reduction is an essential part of all efforts to normalise cortisol. Stress is the stimulus that caused the cortisol levels to get out of hand to begin with. Each individual should explore and find the stress reduction techniques that work best for themselves. Examples of stress reduction techniques include meditation, progressive relaxation and breathing exercises.
Stress can lead to eating more and the storage of fat which in turn can lead to more stress, and on it goes. Break the cycle and find a way to live a more relaxed and healthy life.