First off, your body naturally creates stress hormones. Produced by the endocrine system, these hormones — including cortisol and adrenaline — help you react to situations that require a quick increase of energy and attention.
Unfortunately, when stress hormones are released more frequently and remain in the bloodstream for sustained periods, you may experience a hormone imbalance. Without management, these “fight or flight” responses can also wreak havoc on your health.
Those who are chronically stressed are at a higher risk of health problems, including weight gain, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, and higher risks for infection, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation.
Too much stress could also be linked to menstrual cycle irregularities, which could make it harder to conceive (if you are trying to get pregnant), as well as contribute to things like decreased libido. You may notice when stress increases you feel more mood swings and irritability. Overall, stress could be contributing to a hormonal imbalance, which has the potential to negatively affect your life, personal and professional relationships. Leaving you feeling depleted, irritable, fatigued, anxious, and not overall, not like yourself.
Ways to Manage Stress:
Becoming aware of when and why you’re feeling stressed is the first step to addressing a stress-induced hormone imbalance. By learning how to stay calm during tense situations, you’ll be able to better control your reactions to external stimuli.
Some great ideas for reducing stress and eliminating a hormone imbalance include:
Adopting a regular exercise routine
Practicing daily meditation, mindfulness, and/or deep breathing exercises
Improving your sleep hygiene
Minimizing your consumption of caffeine and alcohol
Establishing and maintaining a healthy diet
Evaluating and adjusting your work-life
Seeking out emotional support from family and friends
Now that you are aware of how stress can directly affect your hormones, physical health, and menstrual cycle- this new perspective can help encourage you to make appropriate shifts and changes in your daily life so that you can live more balanced and stress-free.
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