Stress- Hormonal Imbalances and how to overcome them
Medikoe Wellness Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru May 11, 2019
Stress hormones are the natural alarm system of the body. It enables the body to deal with and respond to stressful situations. However, when the levels of stress hormones are high in the body, it can have a negative impact on health. The adrenaline glands situated at the top of the kidneys are responsible for the production of important stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Some important stress hormones
The stress hormones that have the most direct impact on the health of an individual are:
- Cortisol: Cortisol is manufactured by the adrenaline glands to enable the body to concentrate on a stressful situation. It increases the sugar levels in the system and suppresses the body systems that are not immediately necessary, like the digestive system, growth, etc.
- Adrenaline: Adrenaline is released to prepare the body for a stressful situation. It increases blood pressure, heart rate, etc. and is responsible for immediate reactions caused due to stress.
Role of stress hormones
Stress hormones play an important role in overall health and wellbeing as these are responsible for:
- Managing the use of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
- Regulating blood pressure
- Increasing glucose levels
- Regulating sleep cycles
- Boost energy levels during stress and optimize the levels afterwards
- Keeping the inflammation in control
- Increasing blood sugar
- Responsible for immediate reaction to stressful situations
Impact of excessive stress
Though stress hormones are important for the proper functioning of the body, excessive stress can have a negative impact on the health of the individual. Due to constant stress, the levels of stress hormones are not properly regulated, which can further lead to health problems like:
- Cardiovascular problems
- Memory and concentration problems
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
Usually, after a stressful situation passes, the levels of stress hormones return to normal, but ongoing stress has serious detrimental effects on the body. Constant stress is a common thing in modern society, and it should be properly managed to prevent unwanted health effects.
Some common methods which can help in naturally reducing the stress levels in the body are:
- Regular exercise can help in managing cortisol levels in the long run.
- Deep breathing exercises have also proven to be quite helpful in stress management.
- Getting adequate sleep is also important to keep the stress levels in control.
- Indulging in pleasing activities and hobbies can also help in relieving stress.
- Avoiding junk food and eating a well-balanced diet is also effective in stress management.
Managing stress with herbs
Stress is one of the major contributors to various diseases these days. Staying a stress-free life has almost become impossible due to the fast pace of life that we live today. However, you can still take steps to minimize stress and live a happier and healthier life. Here are a few ayurvedic herbs to help you combat stress:
Brahmi is praised in Ayurveda for its stress-reducing qualities. Brahmi decreases the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). It further enhances the concentration power and has a soothing effect on the nervous system. Brahmi has a cooling effect on the mind and calms and relaxes the pitta and vata doshas.
Ashwagandha is another popular ayurvedic herb known for lowering stress and calming the mind. It has rich amounts of amino acids and vitamins and promotes strength, endurance, and better sleep. It is an adaptogen and helps the body adapt to stressful situations.
Though Bhringaraj is better known for its rejuvenating effects on the hair, this herb also detoxifies and energizes the brain. It increases the blood supply to the brain, which results in lower levels of stress and a calmer body and mind.
The root of the Vacha herb is traditionally used in treating various mental disorders. The root of Vacha has a calming effect on the mind besides increasing the memory retention power of the brain. Consuming it can help in lowering the stress levels in the body.
This magical herb has been used for ages to enhance the sharpness of the intellect and increase memory power. It is a brain rejuvenator and is very effective in dealing with stress, anxiety, lethargy etc.
Managing stress with yoga
Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
It is a comfortable seated position that promotes inner calm, eliminates anxiety and relieves physical and mental exhaustion.
Sit on the edge of a firm blanket. Extend your legs in front of your body and sit straight up. Cross your legs at the shins.
- With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee and fold your legs in towards your torso.
- Place your hands on your knees with your palms down.
- Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Gaze ahead with soft eyes.
- Hold for a minute, and then relax your feet and thighs.
Balasana (Childs's Pose)
It is a restful pose that quiets the mind and eases stress.
- Kneel on the floor or yoga mat with your legs together.
- Sit back on your heels.
- Hinge forward so that your forehead is on the floor and your chest is resting on your thighs.
- Lay your hands on the floor beside your torso, keep your palms up and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor.
- Hold for at least five breaths.
This pose is good stress and fatigue booster.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet and hip-width apart. Your arms should be on the side of your body.
- Exhale and bend your knees. Hold your ankles with your hands.
- While you inhale, raise your thighs, head and chest as high as possible.
- Allow your lower abdomen to carry the weight of your body. Join the ankles. Look upward and breathe normally.
- When you exhale, bring your head down and legs up to the knee joint. Release the ankles and relax.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
It puts the body at ease and leads to total relaxation. It triggers a state of slowed breathing and deep rest.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs together but not touching. Keep your arms at the sides with your palms up.
- Relax and keep your eyes closed.
- Hold the position for around 3 to 5 minutes.
Uttanasana (Forward Fold)
This pose is believed to relieve fatigue, stress and mild forms of depression.
- Stand up, fold forward and try to touch your toes.
- Hold the pose and try to relax. Lengthen from the lower back, allowing the crown of your head to hang down toward the floor with your neck totally relaxed.
- Breathe deeply, drawing your torso closer to your legs.
- Remain in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths, and then raise your arms and torso back up for standing.
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