The cortisol connection


Transcript of the Feature Health Matters on Radio X  from 14 October 2013

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters here on Radio X. In Health Matters I take a closer look at the S word that has become one of the biggest challenges to our health and wellbeing STRESS.

Last week I shared with you that chronic stress is really about to body being in constant action mode and that this is caused through the overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This system in turn leads to the increased production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline is responsible for increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and tensing up neck, back and shoulder muscles.

 I don’t think it comes as no surprise to you that these ailments are exactly some of the most common health problems in our society.

Last week I also pointed out that you can’t be in action and relaxation at the same time so as long as that action mechanism is being triggered that other part regulated by the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation, regeneration and recuperation and which is essential for digestion and optimal immune response that this nervous system stays suppressed.

A suppressed parasympathetic nervous system in turn leads to also common ailments like stomach ulcers, digestive problems, colds or flu, the slow healing of wounds, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

Have you also noticed that stress also leads to memory loss, decreased creativity, and that when you’re stressed it is more difficult to make decisions?

 That dear listener is all due to cortisol. Cortisol a hormone that is released into the bloodstream from the adrenal glad a gland that sits just like a gnomes hat on top of your kidneys.

Too much cortisol interferes with the communication between neurons in the brain it can even disconnect neurons especially in an area called the hippocampus a part of your brain which is associated with memory…

So when you’re next trying to remember that person’s name but you just can’t think of it you know what you can say sorry I just had a cortisol overdose and my neurons are disconnected but wait a minute I’ll go and reset a bit and all will be fine…. as luckily this process is reversible when you relax…

But here is the scary part about cortisol… when there is chronically too much of the stuff your hippocampus will shrink in size and the memory loss will be somewhat permanent.

So if you want to stay healthy in body and mind then there is a simple solution. Relax more, take time to unwind and reaset your stress response during the day.

Want to know how then stay tuned to Health Matters or why not come to the conference Understanding and managing stress at Cook & Book in Woluwe on the 24th of October. More information on the conference you find on my website

Next week I will share with you that stress is not the problem…

I’m Tom Meyers have a great week, … and I’ll see you again next Monday on Health Matters here on Radio X.


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