Is the stress hormone making you fat and hurting your heart?
Pay Your Body back by understanding how Cortisol impacts your health:
Cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. We all need cortisol to help us react to stressful situations, especially those requiring a “fight or flight” reaction. Our bodies react to stress by giving us a quick burst of energy, lowering our sensitivity to pain and increasing our attention and memory. Once the crisis passes, the body relaxes and allows the cortisol to process out of the blood stream.
We lower the level of cortisol when we sleep, relax, exercise, and laugh. The problem comes when a constant state of stress doesn’t allow our bodies to get rid of the hormone.
Over time high levels of cortisol can:
- Increase belly fat
- Raise risk of heart attack
- Raise risk of stroke
- Raise blood pressure
- Lower your body’s ability to heal or resist infection
- Decrease bone density
- Throw blood sugar out of balance
- Lower brain function
- Interfere with your thyroid
Tips to lower your Cortisol level at work:
- Take A Breath: Stop once or twice per day and take ten deep breaths. Stress tends to creep up over time and you may not even realize how tense your body (and your brain) is. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol level. It will also clear your head and allow you to refocus and be productive.
- Take A Walk: A short 10 – 15 minute walk (especially if you go outside) can work wonders. Exercise reduces your cortisol level and the change of environment will help your brain be more on task when you return.
- Take A Break: Really, vacation isn’t a dirty word. Weekends are meant for recharging. Disengage from the cellphone, email and work obligations (just for a while) and allow your body to relax and recover. Often the most creative ideas come when we allow our brains to disengage from the problem.
Reduce your Cortisol level and Pay Your Body Back for all you ask it to do!
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after heart health, stress management, & wellness speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.