Cortisol is released when we experience stress. Most people have heard this part before.
Did you know that cortisol is a catabolic hormone, that can break down the gut lining and break down brain tissue? When I say brain tissue, I am referring specifically to the hippocampus, which is the centre of memory (and the place where we assign emotions to memory).
So here’s where it can get confusing:
Cortisol is a potent immune suppressant and anti-inflammatory hormone. As an example, you might have heard of a steroid injection into an inflamed joint or even the use of cortisol to stop the cytokine storm in Covid-19. What you need to be aware of is that this is cortisol’s function in the acute setting.
If cortisol is persistently raised, it will result in immune dysregulation, and inflammation.
This could very well be the reason for your fatigue, joint pains, poor gut health, brain fog, poor memory, or difficulty concentrating.
Continue on this way of life, and you are looking at autoimmune diseases, poor sleep, hormone imbalances, and, as more and more research is showing, cancer.
While stress is an adaptive response, it is a built-in chemical process that serves to protect us. But by design, it is supposed to be activated for short periods of time, not all the time. When it is activated all the time there is a maladaptive response, therefore the breakdown of brain tissue, increase in inflammation, and immune dysregulation.
Today, take 10 minutes to reflect on how you have been and consider your stress levels honestly. There are so many ways to support what I often call a “healthy slowing down.”
What I tell everyone is that to achieve a “healthy slowing down” we need to build a strategy that includes body, mind and spirit and it happens over months, not days. The strategy can include everything from walking more in nature, to IV Vitamin Therapies and Life Coaching.
If you get this right, then your biggest worry (“I won’t get everything done”) is actually turned around (“I’m getting more done”) and yet you feel like there is more space around you.
If you would like some help in building your “healthy slowing down” strategy, reach out to me and let’s talk about an integrative and sustainable approach to anxiety.