Lifestyle: Stress

14 11 2010

A few mates came up to see me this weekend and I had a great time as always. Unfortunately this meant the posting went on the back-burner yesterday. I hope you didn’t miss me too much whilst I wallowed in my grief hole, incredibly hung over. I felt like any water I had in my body had been forcibly removed whilst sleeping.

So as this is a fashion and lifestyle blog I want to talk about stress. I know, I’ve written tirelessly about the dangers of wearing horizontal and vertical stripes together but I’m more than a guy with awesome dress sense, oh yes!

So on Friday I had one of those days at work… things didn’t go how I wanted, I had to count to ten and I went home a vacuumed with such ferocity the carpets are now threadbare. Some situations are understandably stressful and you have to roll with it. But there are those times when you feel anxious or irritable and you can’t work out why… could it be your lifestyle perhaps?

The offender her is Cortisol. It’s a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland during a stressful situation. There are evolutionary reasons for why it is beneficial in a stressful moment: Increasing blood sugar and speeding up metabolism, which, if you’re being chased by a lion being ridden by one of those wraiths from Lord of the Rings, could prove pretty useful right?

Been there sister.

However, if you are a long term sufferer of stress, feeling like you’re on high alert all the time can be a real strain on your body. Diminished fertility, a suppressed immune system and increased weight loss isn’t cool so here are some factors that increase Cortisol levels (if you are prone to stress, I’m willing to guess one of the following applies to you:

Caffeine may increase cortisol levels.

Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels.

Intense (high VO2 max) or prolonged physical exercise stimulate cortisol release in order to increase gluconeogenesis and maintain blood glucose. Proper nutrition and high-level conditioning can help stabilize cortisol release.

Severe trauma or stress events can elevate cortisol levels in the blood for prolonged periods.

Commuting increases cortisol levels! It relates to the length of the trip, the amount of effort involved and the predictability of the trip

So some factors that increase Cortisol there. Some things like commuting for example are necessary evils in 21st century society so here some things you can do that studies have shown to decrease cortisol levels. I’ve put some links to some of the nutritional stuff as I am proud to have Health and Essentials as a partner:

Magnesium: Supplementation decreases serum cortisol levels after aerobic exercise,but not in resistance training.

Omega 3 fatty acids: in a dose dependent manner (but not significantly), can lower cortisol release influenced by mental stress

Music can reduce cortisol levels in certain situations. I’m thinking more Zero 7 and less Slipknot.

Massage therapy can reduce cortisol.

Sex: Can reduce cortisol levels, so you can tell your other half that you have a medical condition now.

Laughing: and the experience of humour can lower cortisol levels… so keep stop reading my blog posts!

Vitamin C may slightly blunt cortisol release in response to a mental stressor.

Black tea may speed up recovery from a high cortisol condition.

So when you have one of those days and running out of the office like Forrest Gump is out of the question, your body will be in a better position to cope. I am so good to you!

Have a nice week.





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