Warning - Here Comes Some Science Stuff

I was intrigued to know if the chemicals adrenalin and cortisol, which are produced in our body when we are stressed, were good or bad for us. If they are good then let’s get more of them in there, if they are bad (and we all know that they are bad) then what can I do to stop them from causing me harm.

When you are faced with danger or feel stressed, your sympathetic nervous system ignites your body's fight or flight response. Every organ, blood vessel, sweat gland, and other important functions are affected.

The release of adrenalin speeds up your heart rate, helps divert blood from non-essential organs and redirects the blood to the brain for thinking and into muscles for movement.

Your breathing rate increases to keep up with oxygen demand. You become alert and have a heightened sense of purpose. Essentially, adrenalin is produced so that you can stay and fight or run. If it is danger that you are facing, then adrenalin is a good thing. If it is stress (worry and anxiety) that causes adrenalin to be produced, then that is a bad thing because it will continue to be produced while you worry.

How do you get rid of adrenalin - exercise. A 30-minute medium to fast paced walk each day should be enough to burn up adrenalin that has been produced during the working day. If you don’t burn it off, you may have a runny bowel movement first thing in the morning.

Cortisol is a little different, cortisol is a poison to your body and is directly related to stress. When facing an 'emergency', cortisol performs a controlled shutdown of non-essential body systems that would otherwise drain our needed resources.  

For each minute that a stressor such as anxiety persists past when it is needed, cortisol keeps suppressing the body systems that digests food, stores energy, and helps cells in major organs to grow, repair and replenish. 

Cortisol promotes the release of glucose, fats and amino acids into the bloodstream thus making our blood thicker. In sum, Cortisol is a primary stress hormone.

Know that cortisol can cause obesity, heart disease, depression and anxiety, diabetes, osteoporosis and chronic fatigue syndrome amongst many other things.

So how do you get rid of cortisol - the same way that you should always strive to do each day regardless of your situation;

·       Sleep – 7 to 8 hours.

·       Exercise – 30-minutes of medium to fast paced walking every day.

·       Socialisation – Talking with people as much as you can, talk about anything and everything.

·       Diet – Eat a slow release carbo at the beginning of the day and protein at every meal.

Listening to music, meditation and laughter are also helpful ways to rid your body of cortisol.