This Thursday, at dinner tables across the country we will be sitting down to (over)indulge in turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. At our house, and maybe your’s as well, we go around the table reflecting on something we are grateful for. But why limit it to just one day a year?
Stressed? You’re not alone. Many of us are spending our days high on cortisol, the primary stress hormone. High levels of cortisol in the bloodstream interfere with the proper functioning of our other hormones which help regulate appetite, sleep, sex drive, energy, and mental clarity, among other functions. Cortisol is not the enemy, it is a vital hormone in our physiology. A surge of cortisol, triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, enables us to flee or fight an impending threat. It stimulates the body to make energy readily available to use for this function. Ideally, in the absence of a threat, we should revert to our “rest and digest” functions of the parasympathetic nervous system. However, many of us are stuck in sympathetic dominance, stimulating the continuous and unremitting deluge of cortisol.
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