Guest Expert . . .
Reducing Stress Leads to Increased Productivity - Improved Focus and a Better Business
By Dr. Chase Hayden, D.C. QN
For most people, stress is often associated with being over-worked, running behind, financial burdens, and other emotional or psychological situations. Unfortunately, stress can also come through physical and nutritional means such as injury, pain, trauma, surgery, low blood sugar, toxic chemicals, artificial stimulants, and more. No matter the source of the stress (physical, nutritional, emotional) our body responds by producing cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands (located in the back above the kidneys) in order to assist our bodies in regulating stress. Cortisol is also secreted into our blood in the mornings in order to wake us up, and it gets us ready for the day. Cortisol has many beneficial effects in our body, but sustained cortisol production can also lead to the deterioration of many biological processes in our body. This deterioration will create many symptoms such as hormonal imbalance, weight gain, foggy memory, thyroid problems, fatigue, aggression, mood swings, impaired immune system, and poor digestion. These symptoms further contribute to the stress we are experiencing, which creates more cortisol in our bodies, which continues in a vicious cycle until the adrenal glands experience exhaustion.
The first step in addressing chronic stress and increased cortisol is to slow down. Slow down physically, mentally, and emotionally. Creating a system to manage your time and your activities is an excellent way to reduce the stress that you experience when you are trying to be in 5 places at once. As you incorporate time management into your day, recognize that sometimes you will have to prioritize one commitment over the other. Many successful people like Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar and Anthony Robbins suggest reviewing your "To Do List" every night before retiring for bed and prioritizing the next day's activities.
Sleep is also important to normalizing the cortisol in your body. Cortisol has a specific function in regulating blood sugar when you are not eating. As you sleep for 6-8 hours at night, it is cortisol's responsibility to maintain blood sugar and stimulate the centers of the brain that will wake you up in the morning. (Cortisol production follows a circadian rhythm and when this rhythm becomes altered, your body interprets these changes as stress, and cortisol secretions become altered again.) The cortisol circadian rhythm closely follows the cycle of the sun. Basically speaking, as the sun goes down, so should we. As we return the circadian rhythm that controls cortisol back to normal, we will be better able to handle the other stressors in our life.
Balancing blood sugar is an excellent way to normalize cortisol levels in your blood. Cortisol acts as a sugar when you are not eating and reacts to stressors when present. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day will help avoid low blood sugar levels that stimulate the release of cortisol. Avoiding artificial stimulants such as caffeine, refined sugar, "energy" drinks, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, and MSG will help to maintain blood sugar spikes while reducing stress on digestive organs.
Time management, improved sleep, and balancing blood sugar are three important steps to reducing stress and returning cortisol back to normal. As cortisol production is normalized, the symptoms of chronic stress often reduce and the fatigue, weight gain, mental sluggishness, hormonal imbalance, etc. often return to normal. Other activities to help reduce stress and cortisol include exercise, meditation, chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, and shots of tequila (just kidding).
Dr. Chase Hayden, DC, QN is a holistic doctor that incorporates applied kinesiology, quantum neurology rehabilitation, and functional nutrition in his practice. He is the owner of The Hayden Institute in Houston, TX where the majority of his general practice are women seeking the relief of PMS, menopause, infertility, and other female related symptoms through alternative approaches. He is happily married and currently has two children. For more information regarding Dr. Chase Hayden and his services, please visit http://www.DrChaseHayden.com
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