Many of us are aware that chronic stress is detrimental to our health, which is why people with chronic stress often struggle with weight loss, appetite, and energy levels.
Chronic external stress from life events, work, and relationships can increase stress hormones in our bodies. A specific stress hormone that can elevate is cortisol. Excess cortisol may play an important role in our ability to lose weight. Cortisol can also increase when we are overworked. A lot of people always say, “Yeah, I’m busy, but I can handle it.” Although it may be able to “deal with” or carry on, your body will still perceive this as stress, which will continually create a biochemical change that will elevate your stress hormone, cortisol.
Increased cortisol pushes us into survival mode, also known as fight or flight. Fight or flight is only meant to be a short-term response to get you out of dangerous situations. In hunter-gatherer times, we would have a fight or flight response when we were in the woods and had to prepare to fight or flee an animal that wanted to eat us. These days, most of us live in this constant state of fight or flight due to our high-demand jobs and lifestyles. The longer we live in this state of stress, the more we begin to feel “tired but wired”. If you’re tired all day and find it hard to concentrate, but when it comes time to sleep, you have a million thoughts and worries running through your mind, maybe it’s you. . Unfortunately, this scenario is too relatable for most.
Also, when your body is in survival mode, it is preparing for starvation, which is why we will accumulate fat in the abdomen, which is meant to protect our vital organs. This is one of the reasons why people will find it difficult to lose weight by strictly altering their diet without addressing their stress levels.
This stress response and the overabundance of cortisol will also upset the hormonal balance, which will affect a variety of systems. We will find a malfunction with the thyroid, mood imbalances, restricted breathingand increased blood pressure.