Meet adrenalin’s cousin …

You know about adrenalin. We talk about an “adrenalin rush”. Most people understand the role of adrenalin in the human flight or fight response.
But adrenalin isn’t the only stress hormone. There’s also cortisol.
Both chemicals are secreted by the adrenal glands, which sit above the kidneys. Each one has a slightly different role.
It’s adrenalin that increases your heart rate, respiration rate and force of muscle contraction. It does this by binding on to receptors in and around the heart.
Cortisol, on the other hand, has a role in making sure there’s enough glucose in your system to fuel the muscles. It does this by binding on to fat cells and acting on the liver and pancreas. It also shuts down digestion, growth, reproduction and aspects of the immune system.
Just as you don’t want constantly elevated levels of adrenalin, you don’t want the same for cortisol either, and it’s chronic stress that can be to blame in making this happen.
The body is designed to return to balance; it’s homeostatic. After all, once acute stress is over, things should return to normal. That’s a healthy response.
If your cortisol levels are jammed continually at the high setting, you will pay a price and here’s a list of what might happen:
· You are more likely to get anxious and/or depressed
· Headaches are common
· You run a higher risk of heart disease
· Your digestion will suffer
· Your sleep will be impacted
· You are likely to gain weight – particularly around the abdomen!
Not a great combination, is it? So, remember – you aren’t a machine and even if you were, you would soon break down if you continually operated in over-drive.
The best treatment for the level of chronic stress that’s going to harm you in the long term? It’s prevention!

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