Wellness Wednesday: Suppress the Stress

by | Jan 15, 2020

Adrenaline or epinephrine is your short-term, acute stress hormone.  It’s designed to help you get out of danger quickly.  It is the hormone that promotes the fight or flight response, that results in your blood supply being diverted to your periphery, (i.e.) arms, legs.  In order for your body to have the energy to fully execute on the fight or flight system, you need fuel or energy, and the most readily available source of energy in the body is glucose.  Glucose is commonly called sugar, so for example, you might hear me use blood glucose and blood sugar interchangeably.  In the presence of adrenaline or epinephrine, your blood glucose will significantly increase to help fuel the fight or flight response.

Fast forward to modern-day, where are generally not running for our lives on a daily basis, but we are under an immense amount of psychological stress.  And guess what, adrenaline gets produced.  So even though your life is not at stake, your body can’t tell the difference.

Examples of psychological stress might be going on vacation and coming back to an overflowing email inbox, your boss asks you to take on a new project even though you haven’t finished the first one, and right after your husband calls and needs you to take care of something he literally could do himself, like make his doctor’s appointment.  You rush home from work, cook dinner, do homework, kids in bath and bed, wash clothes, pick out clothes for tomorrow, go back to your overflowing email inbox, and start working on the overdue project since now you have a new one.  You go to bed exhausted and just as you fall asleep, the alarm goes off and you promptly hit snooze a few too many times, so now you’re running late… And the saga continues much like it did yesterday.

That means all day yesterday and the following morning, you made adrenaline.  And I bet you had coffee that morning…so guess what you increased the production of adrenaline.  

So what does this have to do with my blood sugar?  Remember with the production of adrenaline, your blood sugar rises and you proceed about your day with that elevated blood sugar to likely go sit at a desk and work for 8 hours.  You don’t need that increased blood sugar.  Insulin, one of our primary fat storage hormones, comes in to get rid of the glucose.  Any glucose it can’t use gets stored as fat.  That’s one problem.

The other problem is that elevated blood sugar sets you up to crash later.  You feel tired and you reach for caffeine (which will increase your blood sugar again) and a sugary based food (again increase in blood sugar), so it becomes a vicious cycle.

This cycle then starts to change our long-term stress hormone cortisol.  We’ll talk more about cortisol on a future video.

So take-home points.  
Identify your psychological stress.  Take out a journal and write it down.  If you feel like you need a journal you can purchase mine on my website under Online Programs or pick up any journal you like at your local favorite place to shop.

After you write it down, step 2, draw a line through the stuff that isn’t important right now.  You can come back to it, but start to put some priority around everything that you have to do. Your husband might have to make his own doctor’s appointment for once.  Ask for deadlines and then schedule it. Schedule when you are going to check your email, ask your boss for a timeline on your current project and then the new one.  They might have forgotten about the other project.  Everyone is not out to stress you. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do the things you don’t absolutely have to do.

Limit caffeine intake to one cup a day or try decaf.  Some of you may find that you don’t need it all. And if you are putting a bunch of stuff in your coffee, like cream and sugar or some cute flavored syrup, then you’re not really interested in the coffee anyway.  Keep coffee simple, one cup, just add milk if you like (I add a homemade cashew creamer), and enjoy!

So if you like this content and find it helpful, please share because it’s not enough to just focus on our own health, we have to help the people we love and create a lasting health legacy for our families and our communities.  

And if there is a topic you want to hear on Wellness Wednesday, let me know and if I can help, I will discuss live on my Facebook page and you can always catch the replay on IGTV, Vimeo, or right here on my blog!

Chat soon,

Dr. Cori

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Hi there, I’m Dr. Cori

  Dr Cori Cooper's Blog

I'm a pharmacist, certified diabetes education specialist, women's health coach, and creator of Do Diabetes Differently®.

I inspire busy women to let go of the overwhelm chronic disease can cause by making diabetes easy. It's time to stop constantly thinking about food and do something different.

More about me...