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Thread: Controlling Cortisol Levels

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  1. #1
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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. #2
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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 ??

  4. #4
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    Quote 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.

  5. #5
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    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

  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
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    Quote 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.

  8. #8
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    I do think the Cortisol is a problem for me. Too much stress. I realized I don't have a lot of good in my life, and I have to deal with this. It's not all my fault. I made decisions I thought were for the best, and things don't always result in the best.

    A job is not my whole life. It doesn't give me satisfaction, and I want more in life. I haven't been able to find it.

    A lot of people will criticize and blame you if you don't have what they have. You might have worked as hard, or even harder, but they look at the end result-- how you played the game doesn't count, it's whether you win---mentality. I don't define success in terms of workplace success, although money is a tool that can give one freedom. I don't need the title or anything to feel good. What I need is freedom from the workplace politics and games. I just don't function in that. If I had a lot of money, I'd buy a farm or some remote land. My coworkers would be goats and chickens.

    Living off the land was good enough for our ancestors, and it's good enough for us. I sometimes wonder if we are doing our children a disservice by telling them to go to college for jobs that will trap them in cubicles and corporate manipulation.

    Perhaps knowing how to grow one's own food and survive are better skills. We traded in our freedoms to work for others, like slaves, for that currency, and now, we are beholden to it. It takes quite a bit to go "off grid". I know a few who have managed to do it. They had to save a lot of money and get established.

    I think as people grow more and more disgusted with "modern life"...they will seek out ways to be on their own and trade among themselves. They will grow to understand how early man survived and how a new cell phone just isn't going to make life better. We are smarter than advertising, we are smarter than being pidgeon-holed into lives that aren't ours.

    What does it mean to be human? We are animals, but the corporate and business mentality don't really allow for this. I've had jobs where no lunch was allowed. People can bleat all they want about how that is illegal but companies will "schedule" a half hour, but overload workers so they just don't have time to take a lunch. So they back themselves up. Lord help you if you ever get sick, you're not allowed to take off, and illnesses are passed on among coworkers. You wait to get the dreaded flu others have at work.

    I don't have TV, I haven't had it for about 4 years. I don't care about it. So I don't couch potato. The most I've done is watch some videos online about working out and living right. I did get hung up on one about early man and also plate tectonics.

    I found that Cortisol is the reaction to stress, the "fight or flight" and if you are at work, you can't go run outside of the building. Our animal bodies were not made to deal with this. Studies have shown all forms of stress are interpreted the same by the body. So if it's an unreasonable boss or a car accident or a jaguar chasing you, it's interpreted as stress. The body goes into survival mode.

    A lot of information on Cortisol says you can fight it and tame your reactions. But once Cortisol is released, you can't really control how it works. You can't really control if your body releases it. Exercise seems to be a huge key here. But I have read what some body builders say, and they say too long or hard exercise, with people like me, can cause more stress! They suggest short workouts with rest periods. Like quick sprints. Okay, I get that...makes sense...early man walking around in the forest, now has to run back to the cave because night is falling. Or going down to the river to get water. It wasn't always long endurance. Undoing this modern life, both physically and mentally. We can't fight our genes. Our genes are our programming, and they control us down to how we think, feel, and react. We are taught we can control everything, that we don't have to be this way. So far, that's not working. Obesity is growing in the US, and they are pushing refined flour products and "low-fat". That food pyramid. That food pyramid is designed with modern lifestyles. Pasta with very little meat.... Oh, they tell us how runners eat like that. Yeah, runners who do marathons, real marathons. But I am not a marathon runner.

    I am on a quest to change myself, I won't give up until I die, and I am glad this forum, and the people on it, exist.

  9. #9
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    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 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Corrected recipient's name
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrenwood View Post
    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.

    I haven't had them tested. I don't have any medical insurance so I can't have them tested.

    What did they do for you to reduce the cortisol??

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