The last few weeks have been tough which has wreaked havoc on my emotions, which, in turn, wreaked havoc on my mind and body causing the dreaded stress hormone, cortisol, to run amuck.
How? It goes something like this:
1. Stressor is introduced.
2. Hormones are summoned. The adrenals secrete cortisol.
3. Fight-or-flight? Cortisol gets ready with a flood of glucose which will provide the immediate energy needed for either the fight or the flight.
4. Cortisol slows insulin production to prevent the storage of glucose, as the body thinks it’s needed immediately for the fight or flight.
5. Stressor is resolved.
6. Hormone levels normalize.
What does all this mean? Simply put, the yo yo effect of cortisol elevation is weight gain and a vast array of other health issues.
So how do we alleviate stress, thereby, keeping the cortisol monster (said with love) at bay? That is the million dollar queston! And the truth is, it depends, it’s different for everyone, and the answer may change. And unfortunately, I obviously don’t have a million dollars, so I am not the authority, but let me tell you what I’ve learned.
I get caught somewhere between, “If it’s supposed to happen, it will happen” and “If you want it, you have to go get it.” For example, if we are determined to lose weight, we can’t just sit on the sofa and believe, if it’s supposed to happen, it will happen. We have to get up, move, make it happen. You have to make a plan to succeed. You have to act. On the other hand, there may be things we think we want with all our heart, but there are external factors preventing fruition. It may or may not happen, regardless of what we do. And feeling the constant pull between those polar opposites can be paralyzing and a huge stressor.
When we are faced with these fight-or-flight stressors, its almost certain we will receive some form of prayerful answer if we are open to it. A beautiful friend of mine shared a video with me entitled “If you will, God will.” And that 38 minute video was loaded with everything I needed to hear. But my primary takeaway was the discussion regarding the Psalmists response to difficulties life throws us. He wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) Be still? What does that even mean? It means to be calm, relax, He is in control. However, it doesn’t mean that we are to stand still. We have to move forward. We have to make plans and see them through. We can’t just sit on the couch and wait.
This message was later confirmed when another sweet friend visited me at the gym. (Side note: my office door is always open, please stop in.) My friend asked me two simple questions, “How do you do it? How do you get your fire back?” Now, she was referring to the desire to workout and continue her fitness journey, but those two questions are powerful and could refer to anything for which we have passion. My answer to her, “Be still.” Breathe in, breathe out, and keep moving. But do not stand still. She left my office and did a workout. My heart smiled.
We can’t have everything we want and sometimes the things we think we want, we will learn weren’t good for us and were never truly meant for us. But worrying and stressing won’t solve the problems and can be detrimental to our overall health and well-being. We have to eliminate the stressors and if that’s not completely possible, we must find ways to de-stress. Meditation, yoga and exercise are great methods for releasing our “happy” hormones. And of course, TriForce Fitness would love to have you stop in and de-stress with us.
But while my business is fitness, the absolute best method for de-stressing is to simply “be still.”
Namaste my friends.