Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stressed to kill

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     We struggle with one stay well discipline- stress control.  The most celebrated destressors - yoga, deep breathing and body spa.  But further, stress is a tough enemy to emagine.  Cholesterol, you can actually picture gunking up your pipes.  Stress is a gueralla fighter, harder to center in the crosshairs.

     If, like us,  you need a bad guy to target, consider  aiming at a stress hormone called cortisol.  There's early evidence linking chronically high levels of the stuff- usually caused by stress- to a passel of problems, including obesity, muscle loss, diabetes, heart disease, memory fade, depression, and prostate cancer.

     When you're in an acutely stressful situation, your adrenal glands release several hormones.  Some make your blood surge toward  the saving muscles.  You'll have fuel to throw  a punch or to run away like a scared rabbit.  Cortisol's particular job is to make sure your blood is high octane fuel.  It signals glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids to flood out your tissues and into circulation

     Like most substances in our bodies, cortisol plays a gazillion roles in keeping us well. Many medicines are derived from it.  And everything's just peachy if, once you've escaped from the cops, your cortisol level returns to its pre- emergency baseline.  But cortisol turns from staunch defender into bad news if your levels remain too high for too long.

     A sense of control over some of the stressors in your life helps.  If you blast a volunteer randomly with a noise, his stress hormones rise. But if you give him a button and tell him that pressing it will decrease the likelihood of the noise, there's a smaller stress response  to the same sound. Getting organized even in a small ways, may help you feel more like the captain of your ship.

     People manage stress more effectively if they can believe that things are improving.  So make sure you always have something you're looking forward to.

    If we cans top the stumble in our heads and everyday briefly commend our complete attention to something- we may acquire the serenity, many find in formal faith.

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