Your body responds to all stress—physical or psychological—in exactly the same way. So every time you have a stressful day, your brain acts as though you’re in physical danger and instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used very many calories in your stressed-out state. This can make you hungry… very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.
Now, I know you’re thinking, there has to be a way to trick my body into turning off the cortisol. You’re in luck. Cortisol reacts to mood changes. Lift your mood and the cortisol levels drop significantly. So while you may not be able to reduce the stresses in your life, you can change your attitude and cut cortisol weight gain off at the pass.
Here’s 10 suggestions on how to “Stop” the stress release of Cortisol
1. Drop and give me 10 – Exercise is an automatic mood enhancer.
2. Crank it up – Music will change your mood quickly…just be sure you choose music that makes you feel upbeat or happy and avoid angry or sad songs
3. Don’t gobble – Slow down your meal consumption. Focusing on taste, texture, and when you begin to feel satisfied will help you eat less and gives you a chance to enjoy the meal.
4. Stop strict dieting – Avoid any dieting. It is much better to eat healthy amounts, portions, and varieties of food to control weight than it is to resort to pills, powders, or other such “weight loss tricks”.
5. Curtail caffeine – Caffeine actually encourages depression and hunger AND raises cortisol levels.
6. Power up breakfast – It really is the most important meal of the day and should include fiber, protein, healthy fats, and at least one serving of fruit and one serving of veggies. A healthy breakfast will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to elevate your mood all day.
7. Sleep it off – Lack of sufficient sleep just feeds stress levels. Proper amounts of sleep elevate the mood and help your body control stress better.
8. Work it out – No one can stay upset during a great massage. The tissue manipulation helps increase happy endorphins, thus improving your mood.
9. Give in a little – It’s all about chocolate. A little bit of dark chocolate will significantly raise the hormones that dictate mood.
10. Go for pleasure – It’s true. Sexual intercourse elevates mood and makes us feel good, loved, and secure. Find your partner and let nature raise your mood.