Stress, in all its forms, can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. But did you know that hormones may be to blame? Hormones play a major role in the body’s response to stress, and their fluctuation can have a major impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing.
When we’re stressed, our hormones change. These hormonal changes can cause both physical and mental stress. Cortisol, for instance, is known as the ‘stress hormone’ and is increased during times of physical or psychological emotional stress. This hormone is responsible for controlling many processes in the body, including digestion, energy metabolism, cardiovascular function, and mood regulation. An increase in cortisol can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
In addition to cortisol, hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine are released during moments of physical or mental stress. These hormones are known as ‘fight or flight’ hormones and are designed to give us an energy boost to respond to stressful situations. However, if these hormones become over-activated, they can lead to an increase in anxiety, irritability, and depression.
Now that we know these hormones which serve a vital purpose in our lives and our survival. Let’s think how the stress response works. In cases of the above where the fight or flight reflex is initiated, this can be a positive response in that it can save our lives, depending on the need. Yes it does initiate a stress but it’s that stress that will save one’s life in the time of an emergency.
It’s important to remember that hormones are part of a natural response to stress. However, if they become imbalanced, it can lead to physical and mental health issues. Normally these hormones come down to a pre-heightened state level once the danger or stress passes. The body doesn’t know the difference between stress or danger. It just knows how to react. When those levels stay in a chronically high state, the body started to recognize a new state of normal. And therefore the body will then continually stay in a stressed out or a high tension mode.
The body cannot handle the stress of this new state for ever and eventually something will give. This giving way usually comes in form of mental health or physical imbalance. Many times this can be the result of disease. Reducing the stress can improve your health
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it’s important to take steps to reduce your stress levels, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating healthily. Taking care of your stress levels s one of the first steps to taking care of your health.