Did you know that there is a direction relationship between stress and your hormones?
This is especially something that is prevalent in our times today, where we are frequently more stressed than necessary – also called chronic stress.
But what happens to our body when we are stressed? What hormones are at play – and what do they do – whenever we are stressed? And how are hormones impacted by the stress we have?
Let’s us take a look at the 6 hormones our body releases every time we are stressed.
6 Hormones Your Body Releases Under Stress
If you ever felt your heart rate increase during a near-miss driving encounter, getting late to work (the worry over the consequences of it), or attempting to talk to someone new, then that’s your adrenaline pumping during these slightly stressful situations.
Adrenaline is our “fight-or-flight” hormones and is the one that kicks us whenever we are under stress – to make moves and get out of the stressful situation as soon as possible. While this hormone in moderation is natural, and beneficial for your body when too much is produced it can really damage your adrenals.
Norepinephrine is pretty similar to adrenaline. It can fuel our anxiety, causes poor sleep, irregular heartbeats, and makes us prone to high blood pressure. The further prolonged our stress is, the higher levels of norepinephrine are produced.
In the short term, Norepinephrine can make you more aware, awake, and focused, but in the long term it can lead to major burn-out.
When you are stressed, a surge of insulin is produced, and this negatively affects your glucose metabolism. Because of this, you crave more sugar and carbs, which then will perpetuate this vicious and unhealthy cycle.
The carbs and sugar will weigh you down while increasing your other stress levels.
Prolactin is a hormone produced by women during breastfeeding. However, both men and women have prolactin, and it can be triggered during stress – which can negatively impact emotional regulation.
Studies show that the act of prolactin secretion during stressful times helps maintain homeostasis within the immune system, but in the long-run, like the rest of these hormones, it will have a negative impact on the body and gut health in particular.
Estrogen levels are often suppressed when a woman is chronically stressed. This can have an impact on women’s mental health, her menstrual cycle, and her ability to complete her normal day-to-day tasks.
If you are chronically stressed, testosterone can also dramatically decrease as well.
Dr. Will Cole says that it can even lead to, “contributing or causing fatigue, muscle loss, and low libido in both men and women.”
Testosterone levels are also reduced or suppressed whenever men are stressed. The side effects are muscle loss, low libido, fatigue, and fat gain.
How to Get Your Stress Levels in Check
It all comes down to keeping your stress levels in line. This is something that I have worked on channeling for a long time, and I have seen major improvements in my life because of the changes I’ve made.
Here are some things you can do to keep your stress levels in check:
1) Exercise regularly
Not only does regular exercise lessen our stress hormones, it pumps out our positive hormones such as endorphins (or the “happy hormone”).
Simply put, exercise puts us in a light mood – do it regularly and you’ll see how much your mood will improve over time.
2) Give yourself some break
Most of us reason out that we don’t have time because of work and schedules and demands and so on. However, that is what is exactly stressing you out!
It’s important you give yourself some break and make that time productive – watching Netflix while binge-eating a pizza is not a good way to “have a break.” Read a book, go for a walk, learn a new skill, create some art; these are just some things you can do.
3) Spend some time with your loved ones
We are so busy today that we are already disconnected from our loved ones. Take the time to spend with them. If you have a family, dedicate a good portion of your time for your spouse and kids. Not only this is good for your stress levels, but this is also good for your relationships and home.
4) Get outside
Have a walk in the park. Jog in the forest. Meet new people. Take your family to the beach. Break your regular routine by going outside.
But why go outside when you can just break your routine at home? Going outside will break the monotony you have, giving you a new sense of flavor in life.
5) Turn off your devices
Unless needed, like for work or finding a tip on how to deal with stress – and you happen to stumble across this article – turn off your devices because they do more harm than good for us. The news itself is stressful.
The false images we see on Facebook gives us an anxiety that we’re not good enough, that we’re “missing out something” (FOMO). Make sure not to spend too much time on social media each day, and to put it away an hour or so before bed if you can.
I hope this article led you one step closer to knowing your body even more. I know that getting to know the importance of hormone health revolutionized my life on so many levels, and I hope it does the same for you. Feel free to shoot me an email or a message on Instagram if you have any questions or just want to talk.
P.S. If this is a topic that hits close to home, be sure to check out a few of my other articles on hormone health: