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  • Controlling Cortisol Levels

    Does anyone know how to control cortisol levels?
    I am eating meat, eggs, nuts, vegetables. Pretty Paleo.
    I can't control the stress. I can't out--think it. I've tried all kinds of
    relaxation...works for a few minutes until the next stressful situation.
    Anyone have any experience with this?

  • #2
    Mostly have to un-think it. It's about learning how you respond to stress (when) and stopping the hormonal curve of that.

    Yoga helps, and here is how.

    Yoga postures are stressful positions in a controlled way (it's controlled application of stress). You can observe the way your body and mind interact while you are doing it (how your mind starts talking about what is going on). It's this loop that creates the "stress" at the emotional level that then goes bio-chemical.

    By breathing, you can see the difference -- or rather observe -- the difference between "you" who is "ok under stress" vs your mind which is whining like a three year old refused a sweet at the grocery store (usually).

    And when you can do that, you begin to unlock your stress response and then decrease your cortisol output over time.

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    • #3
      I don't have money to take yoga...breathing hasn't helped my stress at work, I've tried relaxation videos at home, but the stres starts at work and doesn't leave...that is a constant thing. I can't trick my mind with it. I can't out think that I am being squeezed. I am between jobs, but every job I've had in my field is always very stressful due to the pressures and politics. My field is saturated, and everyone knows they can replace you very easily...

      What about Phosphatidylserine ??

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      • #4
        Eating more salt decreases blood cortisol levels, read some reasearch on it yesterday but never saved the link.
        “There is immeasurably more left inside than what comes out in words…”
        — Fyodor Dostoevsky

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        • #5
          It's not about tricking the mind. It's about learning a skill. And most studios offer work study (so free classes), and most big cities have by-donation and/or free classes as well. Learning from a teacher helps, too.

          The reality is that you just don't know how to handle the stress that you have. If you learn a skill that helps you learn to manage it -- which is what I described above (the postures are just a tool, and heck, you feel better physically too) -- then you have less stress because you know how to manage it.

          Breathing is actually more specific than people realize -- i have no doubt that you struggle to expand your rib cage and likewise that you don't feel the wave motion between pelvis and head along the spine when you breathe -- which also means that whatever breathing you are doing isn't creating the affect in the autonomic system that would work if you were taught to breathe properly (and/or learned it through the process of postures, which is one of many methods of how to learn to breathe in yoga methods).

          NO tricks here, just learning a skill.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by zoebird View Post
            Mostly have to un-think it. It's about learning how you respond to stress (when) and stopping the hormonal curve of that.

            Yoga helps, and here is how.

            Yoga postures are stressful positions in a controlled way (it's controlled application of stress). You can observe the way your body and mind interact while you are doing it (how your mind starts talking about what is going on). It's this loop that creates the "stress" at the emotional level that then goes bio-chemical.

            By breathing, you can see the difference -- or rather observe -- the difference between "you" who is "ok under stress" vs your mind which is whining like a three year old refused a sweet at the grocery store (usually).

            And when you can do that, you begin to unlock your stress response and then decrease your cortisol output over time.
            Thank you for that excellent explanation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Doublehelix, I know a bit about this from personal information - I'd like to help but can I ask some questions?

              Have you had your cortisol levels tested? What test and what were the results?
              Do you have any other endocrine disturbances like diabetes, high insulin, hypothyroid, etc.?
              Do you take any supplements for it?

              My own experience with high cortisol which eventually became low cortisol/adrenal insufficiency after some years of heavy stress was that it didn't stably improve until I started addressing both mind and body. Cortisol drives the perception of stress up AND the perception of stress drives cortisol up.
              Last edited by Wrenwood; 09-30-2012, 05:40 AM. Reason: Corrected recipient's name
              My Primal Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57034.html

              "...since our orthodox theories have not saved us we may have to readjust them to bring them into harmony with Nature's laws. Nature must be obeyed, not orthodoxy." Weston A. Price

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              • #8
                About three times in my life, I felt so stressed by my environment and things over which I had no control, that I put all my loved items in my car/truck and got the hell out of Dodge. Driving a couple of thousand miles without a care in the world helps clear the mind, and in a new city/town, you can reinvent yourself to be anyone you want to be.

                I know some people perceive this as running away, but when an environment becomes so toxic that you can't sleep and facing the next day feels like it's sapping your health, maybe running away is the smartest thing to do. Also, I've gotten to live in some cool places.
                "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                B*tch-lite

                Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                • #9
                  A really super stressful job is not worth keeping.

                  You can try these simple deep breathing exercises:
                  http://www.philmaffetone.com/files/R...back-final.pdf (PDF)
                  (Basically this is just deep breathing while listening to music, but it explains a little why it works.)

                  You should also get some exercise. Depending on your issue, like if you are full of rage, you might try high impact stuff, lifting weights, boxing, chopping wood. Or if you really are experiencing metabolic problems from your chronic stress, you might get more out of walking, slow jogging, slow bicycling, hiking.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #10
                    Agreeing with the yoga, though I'm a total newb myself.

                    Honestly, one of the best ways I have found to relieve stress is to get really involved in doing something. It doesn't have to be anything big, just something that gets your mind distracted so you're not wallowing in the stress and thinking about yoru stressors constantly.

                    Also, it helps if it's something that gets you moving, assuming your cortisol isn't high due to too much physical stress. My job is like that, so for me, that part doesn't work. But there's something, maybe kind of a mind trick, that makes your body think you're accomplishing something when you do physical work, and that helps to relieve stress. Start walking, split logs, work on a project in the backyard, fix up your car, build furniture... whatever.

                    My job now is physically stressful, but the job I had before this one was psychologically stressful, and everyone around me knew to just walk away if they heard classical music playing. It usually meant I was overstressed and trying to keep from blowing my top. Maybe it's because I was raised with classical music, but it really did work to soothe me and get my blood pressure down. If you want reccomendations for good classical stuff, let me know.
                    Durp.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      without learning to handle your stress more effectively, you can't fix your cortisol, nor can you "trick" your mind.

                      my job involves long hours and is both physically and mentally demanding. sometimes i feel stabby. recently went through a very difficult week, with lots of anxiety. long hot baths and a glass of wine while i soaked kept the anxiety attack at bay.

                      immerse yourself in something new outside of work, so you're not just stewing about it during off-time. pick a new physical activity, even just long walks, that can take your mind off things.

                      plenty of gyms will allow you to work p/t and take free classes.

                      can you start looking for a new job?
                      As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                      – Ernest Hemingway

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                      • #12
                        The biggest cause of my stress is not moving enough. Sitting in front of a computer, I slowly feel a build up of stress, to the point where I can't take it and must go outside and walk/run/sprint.

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                        • #13
                          My old job was killing me. Lots of responsibility over things I did not have control of. I basically could not sleep through the night for 2 years.. I would wake up in the middle of the night and worry about this and that for hours. I tried all kinds of things to control it... yoga, baths, different time management methods, eating right... but it became clear over time the only way for me to deal with this was to get a new job.

                          It took a while, but I finally secured a new job and was able to quit my old one. I took one with less responsibility and for a bit less pay, but I do not regret it for a second. I finally sleep and feel great.

                          Find the source of your stress and try to do something about it. Sometimes you cannot do anything but learn to live with it (caring for sick loved ones, death in the family etc) but sometimes you can.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                            It's not about tricking the mind. It's about learning a skill. And most studios offer work study (so free classes), and most big cities have by-donation and/or free classes as well. Learning from a teacher helps, too.

                            The reality is that you just don't know how to handle the stress that you have. If you learn a skill that helps you learn to manage it -- which is what I described above (the postures are just a tool, and heck, you feel better physically too) -- then you have less stress because you know how to manage it.

                            Breathing is actually more specific than people realize -- i have no doubt that you struggle to expand your rib cage and likewise that you don't feel the wave motion between pelvis and head along the spine when you breathe -- which also means that whatever breathing you are doing isn't creating the affect in the autonomic system that would work if you were taught to breathe properly (and/or learned it through the process of postures, which is one of many methods of how to learn to breathe in yoga methods).

                            NO tricks here, just learning a skill.
                            I will see if I can find a class I can afford...I can't justify spending much with being unemployed. I understand the concept of breathing and I don't think I am struggling to expand my rib cage. I do a lot of breathing, exhaling on exertions....when I exercise.

                            But you raise a good thing about handling the stress. Maybe I handled it for a long time, but my body can't take the punches so well anymore. I am trying to breathe when I am stressed or feel panicky.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
                              without learning to handle your stress more effectively, you can't fix your cortisol, nor can you "trick" your mind.

                              my job involves long hours and is both physically and mentally demanding. sometimes i feel stabby. recently went through a very difficult week, with lots of anxiety. long hot baths and a glass of wine while i soaked kept the anxiety attack at bay.

                              immerse yourself in something new outside of work, so you're not just stewing about it during off-time. pick a new physical activity, even just long walks, that can take your mind off things.

                              plenty of gyms will allow you to work p/t and take free classes.

                              can you start looking for a new job?

                              I lost my job, but every job I've had has been so stressful. It's the kind of work I do. I would have never gone into this if I had known this.
                              It isn't about the money, its being employed now. It is hard to get anyone to look at me outside of my profession, but I have been applying to other jobs all along. The less jobs in my profession, the more stress from employers and coworkers, a very "dog eat dog" world.

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