When you’re stressed, your brain releases a chemical called Cortisol. Cortisol has many functions. It heightens awareness and serves to help with a flight or fight response. Imagine running away from a saber-tooth tiger or lifting a car off of a child. Cortisol sends these heroic capabilities into action.
When the stressful event has subsided, the body has mechanisms to calm itself and returns to a normal state. This is often through a physical release. But stress has changed these days! Stress used to be a hunt for the next meal. Now, some of us engage with stress on an almost constant basis. Which begs the question… how do we release stress?
Exercise and meditation are proven methods. But for those “too stressed” to take a break, the Cortisol remains in your blood. Since it is not released, it becomes a toxic presence in the brain and body. It results in a heightened state in the body that cannot be sustained. This eventually results in a bevy of physical and emotional complications: elevated blood pressure, depression, anxiety, decreased memory, and has even been linked to an increased chance for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s true that Cortisol can be a killer.