So what is the stress hormone? Well the main one is Cortisol, however the other one you may be more familiar with is adrenaline.
More or less we know that too much stress is bad for us; however, a small amount is a good thing, it gets us up in the morning and ensures we get on with our work for one thing.
Some people actually like the feeling of stress and adrenaline pumping through them; that’s all well and good but it can destroy your health and even your relationships as you seek the next big thrill or get irritable or easily angered.
Your body is quite amazing; it’s armed with self-repair systems that can fight infection and deal with diseased cells that may kill.
But these systems only work well when we are relaxed. However, if we are stressed our body can go into “fight or flight” mode, and then our repair system shuts down so you can deal with whatever it is that is causing the stress.
Causes of the stress hormone
Below are the signs you have too much cortisol and adrenaline:
- You suffer backache and/or headaches.
When your stress levels are high over a protracted period of time, your adrenal glands start to reduce. This raises the body’s sensitivity to pain, such as backache. When you have an overload of cortisol it also causes the brain to feel more pain, even a small twinge can stimulate the brain, causing headaches.
2. You are having poor quality sleep or insomnia
Cortisol levels should drop at bedtime, allowing your body to relax ready for refreshing sleep. But if the levels too high, you may get a second wind at bedtime. Then you either cannot settle and go to sleep or you wake up in the morning feeling you haven’t had a good night’s sleep and feel tired all day.
3. You put on weight and/or find it difficult to lose.
Cortisol is a hormone that tends to lead to a thickened waistline. Even if you are exercising and eating healthy food you may find it difficult to keep to an even weight or even lose the excess.
4. You are run-down.
If you easily catch colds or other infections, that most people are able to shrug off effortlessly, then it may mean that Cortisol is switching off your body’s natural self-repair systems. This may mean your immune system is compromised, leaving you open to all these bugs.
5. You crave unhealthy carbs.
You feel so stressed you just need something to take your mind off it. Cakes, biscuits, milk chocolate, or even bread and pies; you look upon them as comfort foods. All these foods raise your blood sugar and that combined with the hormone Cortisol raises your blood sugar, putting you at risk of diabetes and the tendency to become sick more easily.
6. Your sex drive gets lower and lower
You could well consider Cortisol as anti-Viagra, as when stress levels are high
libido-inducing hormones like testosterone drop and then your sex drive hits the deck.
7. You have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Your gut is very sensitive to stress. You might experience nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, or constipation all as a result of too many stress hormones. In fact, science has proven that relaxation reduces symptoms of IBS.
8. You feel anxious or in a low mood.
Cortisol and adrenaline can lead to feelings of panic; doom and despair. Your own prescription – go to your calm place and let all this stuff go. Ask yourself “Will it really matter in a week’s time?