Most people think that all stress is a bad thing, but this is not the case. There is beneficial stress called Eustress and then, there is draining, debilitating stress called Distress. Both initiate the fight or flight response, the difference is that with Eustress, the energy levels are proportionate with the activity. With distress, it depletes resources and makes one ill.

Massages like Thai Yoga Massages will focus on dealing with distress and although it is an interactive form of Massage, it is very relaxing and soothing and helps individuals to deal with distress, balance energies and relieve pains. Relaxation , recreation and exercise are important coping mechanisms which can help a person can deal with distress. One’s perception of a situation can also be extremely important in determining the distress levels. Situational support like family and financial resources also plays a great role in deciding recovery from distress. These three elements , situational support, coping mechanisms and perception all govern distress and crisis outcomes. This is why psychological help is also very important in helping to iron out many circumstances.

Excessive levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain. This is caused by too much unhealthy stress/distress. Cortisol is a natural stress hormone and it is responsible for regulating your metabolism, so it’s important to keep it in check.

Cortisol is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body and is produced by the adrenal glands which is located on your kidneys. Cortisol is released when you are under stress. This sends your body into fight-or-flight response, briefly altering regular bodily functions and slowing your metabolism. While this hormone is important to survival, it can become harmful in excess amounts .An excess of cortisol also can lead your body to produce less testosterone. This may cause a decrease in muscle mass, as well as slow down how many calories your body burns. 

Cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, creating a surge of energy in your body. While this process is essential for survival situations, it also increases your appetite. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. The downside to consuming so much sugar is that your body tends to store sugar, especially after stressful situations. This energy is stored mainly in the form of abdominal fat, which can be particularly hard to shed. Some people describe this as “Toxic Fat” adding to the development of cardiovascular disease.. And so the vicious cycle starts: distressed, cortisol release, gain weight, crave and eat more sugar, gain more weight.

Your metabolism is responsible for converting food into energy. Any alteration in how this system works can cause problems. As mentioned by the American Psychological Association, these issues include: weight gain, fatigue, depression, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The immune system can also be compromised.

The good news is that you can manage the effects of elevated cortisol. Relaxing through mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing can help to bring the production of this hormone back down to normal levels. 

You can also prevent the excessive storage of fat by ensuring that you eat a diet high in quality foods. Aim to eat mostly whole, grained foods. This may be a difficult task but it is necessary. By minding and controlling your diet, the calories you consume will be turned into energy, not into fat and stored by the body.

Exercise is a great way to manage stress hormones . When you go out for a run, walk or train at the gym, exercising will help maintain your lean body mass and help to release feel good endorphins. This is especially important during prolonged periods of distress and high cortisol levels.

Charlatans in the diet industry have tried to capitalize on findings from studies about cortisol and weight gain. Ads come out all over the media promoting dietary supplements. They claim to lower cortisol and to increase weight loss. Most doctors advise patients to stay away from these products as no proper studies have shown that these supplements have any value in cortisol reduction or weight loss. 

The best strategies are always adequate management of life’s situations. Exercise, proper nutrition , relaxation and tackling problems head on.

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