Putting a high priority on your mental health becomes even more important than normal in times of high stress, especially in light of the continued concern caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. When chronic and out of control, stress and worry may negatively impact your mental and physical health, mostly by increasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone, produced by our adrenal glands, increases during intense stress or worry and decreases during relaxation.
Your Well-Being and Cortisol’s Effects
Understanding the body’s response to stress is the first step in comprehending the effects of cortisol. Cortisol regulates several body processes under normal circumstances, including hunger, blood pressure, metabolism, weight, and glucose levels. The body’s energy is reallocated when the cortisol levels rise, as they happen during intense stress or worry. Despite the bleak image that chronic stress may provide, there are practical approaches you may take to lessen its effects. The following are some significant lifestyle adjustments you can make:
- Adopt a plant-based, whole-food diet: Dietary choices significantly impact cortisol levels. You are more likely to develop other health issues if you consume a diet high in processed foods and added sugars. Instead, choose a diet high in fiber, especially fruits, and vegetables, since these foods help to control gut flora, which are crucial for hormone balance.
- Using supplements: Several supplements can help manage cortisol levels. However, they should never replace a healthy, balanced diet and should always be used under medical supervision. Magnesium, which has been discovered to have a role in cortisol control, is the mineral we use most frequently in our therapeutic work. These nutrients, like vitamin B12, folic acid, and C, can enhance cortisol metabolism.
- Make deep breathing exercises a regular part of your regimen: The advantages of deep breathing exercises have been highlighted in several studies, especially when done often, for at least five minutes, three to five times daily. These exercises have increased memory and focus while reducing cortisol levels and easing anxiety, depressive symptoms, and stress.
Instead of controlling vital processes like immunity and digestion, this energy normally controls perceived stresses. A good way to visualize this idea is to imagine yourself being pursued by a lion; in this situation, your primary concern would be fleeing the danger rather than everyday concerns like being sick or having a regular bowel movement. As a result, when your body is under constant stress, its homeostasis is upset, which can cause various health problems. Among other health difficulties, these might include a rise in anxiety or depression, recurrent headaches, memory troubles, brain fog, digestive problems, a compromised immune system, accidental weight gain, sleep disorders including insomnia, and even illnesses like pre-diabetes.
For Enduring Effects, Implement Changes Gradually.
While implementing these suggestions at once might be challenging, they are unquestionably helpful. But keep in mind that getting better mental health does not have to be a difficult path. One or two at a time, you can progressively implement these tactics. You may gradually add more after they get ingrained in your routine until they are a necessary component of your way of life. The Alternative Health Center of the Woodlands might be of assistance. To schedule an appointment, call (281) 419-9104 immediately!