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Your body is hard-wired to respond to stressful situations to protect you against perceived threats or harm. Although not considered life threatening, everyday hassles such as conflicts with colleagues, paying big bills, or running against a deadline are enough to compromise your sense of security and push you out of your comfort zone. Next thing you know, your “fight or flight” response kicks in, causing your heart to race, your muscles to tense, and your palms to sweat.
For some people, these perceived threats become part of a lifestyle where the body feels it’s under constant attack. Unfortunately, this becomes the norm and before you know it, it has taken its toll on your physical body and mental well-being.
You don't have to let stress control your life. There are ways to hustle without the hassles and that’s what we’ll explore in this article. Read on to learn more about the connection between cortisol levels and stress. And discover natural supplements that will help you handle nerve-racking situations with a cool and relaxed demeanor.
Secreted by the adrenal glands, cortisol is a hormone that plays a major role in regulating the body’s processes so you can respond by eliminating the distressing stimuli. Once cortisol is released into the body, it raises your blood sugar levels to propel the body with a boost of energy to avoid a perceived danger. Remember the adrenaline rush you felt when you have to steer the wheel, and shift gears after your car suddenly skids and you tried to drive out of it without hitting other vehicles? That’s the benefit of cortisol in acute situations.
However, experiencing stress over a sustained period of time produces negative health outcomes because overproduction of cortisol can amplify inflammation, elevate blood sugar levels, and cause high blood pressure. In other words, chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Other unwanted symptoms include:
Juggling different roles and responsibilities in the fast-paced hubbub of everyday, we tend to cultivate a low-simmering level of stress to get us by. This is a problem we clearly need to address and thankfully, various strategies have been studied to effectively relieve stress. From healthy diets, fitness routines, to relaxation and meditation techniques, to name a few; for the purpose of this article, we will elaborate on some of the best supplements out there as you start your journey towards a more relaxed and calmer you.
Research studies indicate that holy basil may ameliorate stress-induced anxiety and depression and considered to be one of the most potent anti-stress agent with a high margin of safety. Aside from reducing elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, Holy Basil or Tulsi is said to promote physical and emotional endurance.
L-theanine is a unique amino acid found in the green tea plant. Just as adrenaline stimulates cortisol release, theanine acts as a precursor to dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is known as the “pleasure molecule” which positively affects our mood, focus and motivation - the polar opposite of stress and anxiety. A 2019 study suggest that L-theanine has the potential to promote mental health in the general population with stress-related ailments and cognitive impairments.
Cordyceps is a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine mainly to increase stamina and promote longevity. According to Dr. Michael Lam, Cordyceps is an adaptogen that supports the adrenal glands supporting the body to adapt with everyday stressors, helping you to sustain balance and well-being.
Experimental sessions done in a double-blind study demonstrate that CBD doses can significantly decrease the secretion of cortisol hormones. This is an effective way of lowering the body’s inflammatory response to stress, by alleviating unnecessary worries.
Mounting evidence indicates that CBD has anxiolytic properties and this may be due to its ability to regulate aversive memory processes and reduce the expression of fear-associated memories. The study also discovered that CBD supplementation helps in impairing the reconsolidation of anxiety-inducing memories that play a major role in psychological stress.
Another mechanism is that CBD inhibits FAAH, an enzyme which metabolizes Anandamide leading to its degradation. This results to increased levels of this “bliss molecule” which mediates feelings of joy, motivation, and pleasure- a state that almost everyone aspires to.