How to Manage Your Body's Stress Response
Did you know you can actually control your body’s stress response? Meaning if you are in a hectic phase of life or have a big launch coming up at work, you can create more inner zen that’ll put spiritual leaders to shame.
Here's the scoop:
Your body only knows stress as stress.
Whether the stress comes from a mental, physical, or emotional stressor, your body will respond the exact same way, every time.
I first noticed this when I’d sit at my desk and feel mentally stressed about opening my email. Or when I'd have too much caffeine and feel my body tense up with that jittery feeling. And when I overdid it on cardio to try and calm myself down. Each of these scenarios caused too much cortisol to be released in my body.
These examples can increase stress hormones, like cortisol, which will make you feel more stressed than you actually are.
When you learn how to control your body’s stress response, you’ll be able to lower cortisol and feel calmer, happier, and at peace. Your outer world will not have changed - you'll still have the same to-do list, deadlines, daily tasks and projects - but your inner world will have changed.
How to hack your stress hormones like cortisol
To hack your stress hormones, you first need to understand how your stress system works.
Stress hormones are released from your adrenal glands, which are located above your kidney’s (think lower back). You need this in times of threat to activate your “fight or flight” response so you have the energy to run from a life-threatening situation.
It’s kind of like if a wild animal approached you in the woods. You’d see the threat, mentally register it, then get a quick burst of energy to run away so you stay alive.
Your body has the same reaction over things as simple as trying to get your job done - when you are activating this cortisol release without the threat of your survival. It's part of why so many women feel more stressed out in today's modern life.
Your adrenal glands are part of your HPA axis, or Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal Axis. This plays the role of your central nervous system.
The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located at the base of your brain and sends/receives information from your adrenal glands.
They act on a loop.
So if your brain registers a situation as stressful, you send the message down to your adrenal glands there’s a threat. Your adrenal glands will respond by releasing stress hormones.
Most often it’s a false threat. But your body responds in fight or flight anyway.
If this keeps happening, you will become more susceptible to adrenal fatigue. A Balanced Bombshells' productivity reducer.
You can falsely activate the fight or flight response by drinking too much caffeine (we all have different thresholds so there is no magic number than the one you notice within yourself) or alcohol, doing too much cardio (this one is individual too) and mentally stressing about your job, relationship, finances, next chapter, etc.
Soo... basically there are a lot of factors in our life where our habits and mental mindset will keep our bodies too stressed out. Which makes it even more important for you to overhaul any area of your life that is not bringing you joy.
My Moody Meltdowns to Balanced Bombshell Program may just be the perfect fit for you if you want ste-by-step guidance on how to find balance with your mind and body.
Here are six things to add to your self-care routine immediately:
1. Take a break from caffeine and opt for herbal tea.
2. Make a mocktail out of Kombucha. Pour it in a fancy champagne glass and you’ll enjoy the same fizzy treat!
3. Meditate – even for five minutes
4. Head to a yoga class
5. Try going for a walk instead of a run or spin class. Excess cardio can spark your adrenal glands, while walking lowers stress hormones (most of my clients end up losing belly bloat and their love handles by making this switch! I noticed the same)
6. Grab your pet or a loved one and cuddle up! Cuddling releases feel-good hormones and will calm your mind and body within minutes.
Sometimes burnout happens for a reason. Read on to see exhaustion as the ultimate gift.