Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone. Consistently high levels of cortisol damage intestinal integrity and gut health. Fortunately, there’s a simple – and fast! – fix to turn the tables in your favor. Are you taking advantage of this easy practice to help your digestive system work as it should?
Before we get to the quick fix, you need to know WHY you must put it into practice.
Your autonomic nervous system has two opposing responses that are important to understand. The stress response, and the relaxation response. Each one tells the body how to feel and respond by releasing hormones and other signals that communicate with every part of the body.Bash Cortisol Boost Gut Health #Fibromyalgia Click To Tweet
One main hormone generated from the stress response is cortisol. It’s definitely the one that gets the most media attention. Spend just 15 minutes in a grocery store line and you can probably see the word, “cortisol” sprawled at least a half dozen magazine covers. Google it and you can fall down over 11 million rabbit holes of research.
Let’s not do that. Instead, we’ll get to the nitty-gritty. Here’s what’s important about the negative effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. Consistent elevated levels of cortisol generate or contribute to the following symptoms of dysfunction.
- Impaired immune system
- Impaired digestion and absorption (leaky gut)
- Impaired memory
- Hormonal dysregulation
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- High blood pressure
And, this is just the tip of the iceberg (or romaine, you choose).
We know for sure that cortisol doesn’t do a body good. Even if we can’t eradicate it (it’s part of our natural checks and balances so SOME is necessary), how do we stop it from pumping through our body like plug water through a firehose?
We have to know what causes it.
Good thing the answer is pretty simple. The answer is … chronic stress.
Notice I didn’t say, stress. Everyone has stress. It happens. The critical difference here is when stress becomes commonplace. This is about the type of stress that occurs more than “once in a while.”
Fast Fix for Stress
I’m not a fan of misleading tactics used in the media to get your attention. In this instance, I’m pleased to report that my reference to “fast” is actually true.
So, cut to the chase for crying out loud! WHAT IS THIS FAST FIX?
This post includes some very pertinent information you need to know about the stress response. But we’ve yet to discuss the relaxation response. I’ll leave details on the plethora of benefits of relaxation for another article.
For now … simply take a deep breath and proceed.
There. You’re done.
That was it!
All it takes is a D-E-E-E-E-E-P and slow B-R-E-A-T-H to stimulate and engage the relaxation response. To encourage the relaxation response to keep on going takes practice. But every intentional practice begins someone simple. For now, breathe in and breath out slowly at least 3 times at the first sign of stress. It’s a great way to deal with negativity as well.
Of course, you can finesse and structure your deep breathing exercises in a multitude of ways. But simply take a moment to actually breathe. The chronic illness community is rife with the unhealthy habit of taking short, shallow breaths. It’s time to remedy that.
What to know how to assess if your stress is chronic? Grab a copy of my 23-page guide, Is Stress Making You Sick?