cortisol… highs and lows


Recently, it’s become clear to me that a few of my medical issues might be related to high cortisol levels.

If you aren’t familiar: cortisol is a hormone released by our adrenal glands under times of stress. It causes inflammation in the body (that nasty “chronic inflammation” that the media is all over these days) as well as a host of other issues: insomnia, autoimmune issues (hello?), gut/digestive problems (hello… again?), among other things. I feel more and more weak and tired despite sleep (hmmm… I think? Hard to know if I sleep fitfully), and despite a cleaner diet and better exercise, I have more fat around my midsection, which matches the high cortisol profile.

(It also matches pre-menopausal symptoms, so… I don’t necessarily want to rush into blaming cortisol for everything. But considering my work hard-play hard personality, I’m assuming my cortisol is out of balance.)

I just found this article which talks about fun ways to reduce cortisol levels. If you’re like me, you know that your cortisol is (probably) out of control, but taking care of it is another thing on the to-do list. My diet is pretty good, I exercise regularly, but taking time to relax? Hah! (Ask my husband. I barely stop. I’ll relax when I’m dead! There’s too much of life to enjoy, right?) 😉

Anyway, this is just a reminder to me (and all of us, maybe?) to get back into the meditation routine… I need to find some more short relaxing meditations and do a few per week. I promise!

But one more thing that stood out in the article was the last point that was made. It tells us to take radical action to reduce our stress responses. Are you in a bad relationship that stresses you out? Get out of it! Are you in a soul-sucking job? Quit! (Easier said than done for both of these, I know… but we only have one life. And it’s up to us to create choices that provide the most satisfaction and the least stress!) So… go and find things that make your life the best it can possibly be! 🙂 (with lower cortisol.)


2 Responses to “cortisol… highs and lows”

  1. 1 Steve Yool

    Such excellent advice! Since I am, like you, an exercise fanatic (errr, maybe it’s in our DNA!) and sometimes feel edgy after a hard workout, But if I spin for an hour, say, at a constant moderate rate, I feel a calming effect. So I wondered about the relationship between exercise and cortisol. Here’s a research paper on it @, suggesting high intensity workouts increase cortisol. This finding matches my personal experience. : – )

    • I know for a fact that they increase cortisol… haven’t gotten the chance to look at the paper yet… tomorrow, I have a post coming out about an exercise method that *decreases* cortisol. 🙂

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