The Effects of a High Stress Life
Living a high stress life can raise your cortisol levels but a simple practice like meditation could help lower those levels. When you experience stress, your cortisol levels rise. Now cortisol can be a lifesaving hormone. When you are under stress it comes to your rescue, helping to mobilize carbohydrates and fat for instant energy. It also keeps your blood sugar steady while you’re sleeping and helps you wake up in the morning.
However, when this “helpful” hormone is over-produced, your body suffers. Cortisol is a natural byproduct of a stress filled life. High cortisol levels can be deceiving — they allow you to be productive, but at the same time rob you of much needed sleep and keep you feeling wired too much of the time.
Sustained high cortisol levels have even been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Working to normalize those cortisol levels is crucial to lifelong health.
When you live in a constant high-alert state, your cortisol levels remain unnaturally high, which can cause all kinds of health problems, including:
• Impaired healing and cell regeneration.
• Disrupted digestion, mental function and metabolism.
• Weakened ability to fight infection.
• Imbalances in other important hormones such as DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
• Loss of muscle and bone.
• Mood swings and depression.
• Hair and skin problems.
• Thyroid imbalances.
• Low sex drive.
• Weight gain (especially around the belly).
Thankfully, meditation can help you lower those cortisol levels. When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol and adrenaline in abundance. This is a normal natural product of our evolution.
However, over the long term, chronic stress can tear your body down, destroy healthy muscle and bone, block the creation of good hormones, and even lead to anxiety and depression, amongst many other things.
In one study done by a Rutgers University doctor it was discovered that meditators had a nearly 50% reduction in cortisol levels! So the next time you feel stressed, close your eyes, and try a little meditation, your mind and body will thank you!