Cortisol is not all bad. We need it in times of stress.
However, it becomes harmful when we are perpetually under stress and our body gets overexposed to it and other stress-related hormones.
Here’s what can happen to your body if it’s perpetually awash in cortisol.
- dampened immunity: you’ll get sick more often
- digestive problems
- heart disease
- weight gain
- impaired brain functioning, especially memory
- sleep impairment
So what can you do if you realize you are in the stress Red Zone? Consider these ideas.
- Make sure you regularly exercise, as exercise can help reduce excessive cortisol in your body.
- Practice mindfulness as part of your spiritual formation process. My latest book includes an entire chapter on mindfulness.
- Get 30 minutes more sleep each night.
- Take your day off … really take it off. Don’t even look at email for 24 hours straight on your day off.
- Talk to a friend, your spouse or a counselor about your stress. Others can often give us a more objective sense of reality, which can reduce our stress.
What has helped you manage your stress and avoid being awash in cortisol?