We are taking a few weeks to revisit some of the foundational posts from the early days of Run Hard. Rest Well. Today we’re looking at stress and cortisol. Understanding how they are at work in our lives and steps we can take to maintain a balance are key to establishing a lifestyle of rest. Read along and then join the conversation – tell us about your default in the comments or on Facebook.
I hate that word. It rises up and slaps me in the face.
It reminds me that I am not in control.
I long to face life with grace, grit and determination. Unhindered. Free. But all too often, whether the world sees it or not, the stress of life lands me on my butt.
That’s OK. Stress is not actually the enemy. Cortisol is.
Cortisol is a hormone produced in our adrenal glands. Under normal circumstances our body regulates a daily cycle of cortisol. It pumps out the highest levels in the morning to prepare us for the day ahead. It hits a low as we get ready to sleep, preparing our bodies for the sweet land of slumber.
Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone.” Our body releases an extra dose of cortisol when a tension filled situation arises (a fight or flight event). A short-term release of extra cortisol makes a positive impact on the body. It improves memory, reduces our sensitivity to pain and increases energy and stamina. In quick, short doses cortisol is a knight in shining armor.
Prolonged over-exposure to cortisol – whether it’s a constant trickle or a relentless fire hose – is a dragon breathing down our back. The effects are corrosive and daunting. Read more…