The effects on Cortisol on Emotional Well Being

Long before you realize the problem, your brain may be wired to fail.  Simple choices you make about moods today  might surprise you with tomorrow’s mood. How so?

Yield to worry – and you could be opening windows to stress hormones that act as saviour and strike as killer.

Out of Sorts?

Let’s say you find yourself crankier than normal.  You may suffer anxiety, or fear that stops you from taking that risk that will move you forward at work.

When this happens, you’ve likely stirred up a chemical hormone in your brain that pushes against relationships, courage, solutions, and general well being.

Shrinking your Brain?

Cortisol is a potent chemical that surges when you slip into stress, and is now  recognized  as a drug that can literally shrink human brains.  It leaves other damaging footprints behind too, that luckily can be avoided through awareness of its trickery. Researchers have known for some time, for instance,  that cortisol shuts down learning, creates anxiety attacks and can cause depression.

Less known, until recently, are tactics to counter cortisol surges.

You may be saying … but cortisol has useful purposes, and you are correct. It’s a short term chemical which is useful to treat allergies, or zap you with the energy to survive a shocking moment. Cortisol can also lower sensitivity to pain, help you to survive grief, or pull you through a short term pressure project.

Long-term Effects

Long-term cortisol surges though, where you maintain harmful levels,  can be highly dangerous. Research shows cortisol to:

1. Lower immune systems
2. Slow down thinking
3. Create blood sugar imbalances
4. Raise your blood pressure
5. Weaken muscle tissue
6. Decrease bone density
7. Increase fat to stomach areas.

Can you see why you may react negatively when under the influence of harmful chemical surges?

Escape Daily Does of Cortisol

To flee fromor lower dangerous levels of cortisol:

a. Relax, listen to music,  take a walk, and run from stress.
b. Spend time with upbeat people, laugh, and steer away from cynics.
c. Manage time, create  doable daily targets, and avoid overloads
d. Take up a sport, do stairs, park far from doors and avoid passivity.
e. Give away things, care, join Rotary, and run from financial anxiety.
f. Teach from your strengths, inspire excellence, yet flee perfectionism.
g. Propose winning solutions and avoid fixation on problems at work.

You get the idea, and will likely have better alternatives than mine, to sidestep cortisol’s confinement. Strange as it may seem, the key is to do the opposite of whatever creates cortisol. To do the opposite of a cortisol response, is to rewire the brain for more serotonin guided behaviours.

From Stress to Success

Luckily the human brain also comes fine tuned for serotonin success, through doing healthier actions.  For example, your brain will rewire dendrite brain cells for serotonin well-being and growth plasticity in areas that had once created cortisol imbalances.

It’s worth an effort to make a few changes, when you think about the rewards. People who do so, tend to replace cortisol crankiness for serotonin serenity. It’s also true that some people come with lower levels of this drug, or seem to generate fewer fluctuating cortisol surges.  Have you noticed how calm and rational some people are – even if a hairy spider meanders past?