Have a big belly and can't figure out why? Besides bad eating habits and lack of exercise, your body may be responding to stress. Stress may be caused internally by physical issues such as infections and inflammation or externally by everything from relationship issues to financial problems to dealing with a challenging commute. Chronic stress can cause your adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, can reduce the production of testosterone and estrogen.
If you have high cortisol levels, you may not only have excess belly fat but also be struggling with low libido, insomnia, a weakened immune system and high blood pressure. Low cortisol levels caused by worn-out adrenal glands no longer producing enough cortisol can cause chronic fatigue and general apathy. Effective stress management is necessary to overall hormonal balance to protect you from these problems.
Using a variety of stress management techniques can help you deal with those health issues caused by high or low cortisol levels. Getting enough sleep is critical. Check past posts on this blog for articles on dealing with insomnia. Find time for yourself to do something you enjoy - spending time on a pleasant activity is a great way to relieve stress
. Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress. Think about when you were a kid, if you liked to run and play, get out and take a walk, or ride a bike or fly a kite. If you liked to swim go to the Y or Rec Center, or take a class, a Pilates class or a dance class. Moving can release endorphins to help you deal with stress.
Deep breathing is another great way to fight stress. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of six and exhale to a count of six. Whenever you feel stressed, begin this process until you feel yourself begin to relax.
Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to relieve stress. Some hypnotherapists including myself, encourage clients to record their hypnosis session on their cell phone so they can use it later for relaxation. Obviously, a recording is never used while driving or operating machinery, but can be a great tool for relaxation at home lying on your bed or sofa.
If you are seeing signs of cortisol imbalance causing problems such as excess belly fat, try some of these stress-relievers, see a hypnotherapist and BE WELL.