Read the Stress main page if you haven’t yet…
The new, “chronic” stress we experience as modern men and women has some very serious, negative effects on us, all because our bodies are operating as if we were still in the Paleolithic era. Your body’s natural reaction to being under stress is releasing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol then releases glucose and fatty acids from your liver to give your body fuel for the inevitable intense activity, such as running from the Mother-in-Law Monster (she’s from the Stress page). This reaction goes back to when we were chased by terrifying family members- I mean creatures- and attacked by neighboring tribes. Many of you have already figured out the problem here: we don’t typically react to modern stress with a quick, intense burst of physical activity the way our Paleolithic ancestors did.
More reasons why increased levels of cortisol is bad: Increased levels of cortisol add to your stress levels, and increased stress levels make it harder to deal with Stress. On the flip side, increased stress increases your cortisol levels, which adds to your stress levels even more… You see how this can turn into a vicious cycle? Stress and sleep have a similarly cyclical relationship. Not getting enough sleep stresses your body which increases cortisol, and… well, you know the rest. Increased cortisol also makes your body convert testosterone to estrogen, because the more cortisol your body has, the less testosterone it can handle. For men this means higher than normal estrogen levels, for women this means PMS, What’s worse is that increased cortisol levels block new memories and kill grey matter. That’s right, stress gives you brain damage.
So what happens to all the glucose released by our increased levels of cortisol if we don’t use it up in physical activity? Nothing really… BESIDES SITTING IN YOUR BODY WITH NOWHERE TO GO MAKING YOU INSULIN RESISTANT! Insulin resistance is when your body cannot accurately sense the amount of insulin released by your pancreas. The purpose of insulin is to regulate the amount of glucose in your system, and when you can’t properly sense insulin levels, your body releases even more glucose. Now your body is flooded with glucose that isn’t being used, which spirals downward into even more intense insulin resistance. When you are insulin resistant, your blood sugar rises similarly to how it would if you were on a high-carb diet (which is BAD. Read the #1 Recommended Diet page to learn what you should eat). In addition, increased insulin resistance makes you store fat at your waistline. Just like increased cortisol, increased body fat also converts testosterone to estrogen!
Are you ready to take some serious steps to lower the level of stress in your life? On to the Reducing Stress page!