Sometimes knowing too much is more stressful to your system than knowing nothing at all. If you’re like me, I have a ton of ideas, and worries floating around in my head. It interferes with your sleep, values, and morals. This contributes to more stress and a hormonal hurricane in your body.
All the information available today contributes to poor health in a lot of ways. We spend hours on our social media feed, worrying about what everyone else is doing. The news is full of promoted propaganda and clickbait. The company you work for is going through the creation of a joint venture, and an acquisition of another company, all at the same time. This bombardment of thoughts and information give us a rash, so you look it up on google and diagnose yourself with some rare disease. It seems never-ending.
As humans, we are not very well equipped for this kind of stress. Our bodies have evolved to cope with stress with the flight or fight response. The key hormone in this process is Cortisol. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands when our bodies are stressed. Cortisol triggers the body to make glucose, through gluconeogenesis, this gives us immediate energy to respond to stress. Hey, this bear wants to eat me!! I better run and run fast, give me some sugar.
Here’s the catch, your body doesn’t care if a bear is trying to eat you, your boss is riding your ass every day, or your losing sleep at night because all of the information floating around in your head. Your adrenal glands are going to produce cortisol to deal with the stressful situation no matter what. To avoid being eaten by a bear cortisol is a good thing, it enables you to perform at your best, and outrun, or kill that beast. Cortisol from your boss riding your ass is a bad thing, but don’t quit your job just yet.
When cortisol production becomes chronic it causes all kinds of problems. It messes your immune system, so if you are constantly sick chronic cortisol could be a factor. It contributes to the storage of fat, especially belly fat. It can increase your cravings for sugar and can raise your blood sugar as well. This will create a production of insulin and start creating a whole cascade of problems. It’s like a traffic accident on the expressway.
You Have Control
The good news is you have some control over the production of cortisol. It’s all about the perception of the threat. If your boss is riding your ass, use some emotional intelligence to deal with it. Control what you can control, and don’t give someone’s words power over you. Just move on with your day, after all, your boss is not trying to eat you.
When it comes to clearing all of those thoughts many things will work. Exercise helps as long as it’s not chronic exercise, this will create problems as well. My wife likes yoga and meditation. Some like fishing, golf, or any other playful activities. Me, I like to hike.
What works for me
This is how hiking works for me. I hit the trail and start hiking at a slow pace, then I start recycling all that information in my head. I keep on hiking until I have no thoughts, and a clear mind, it usually takes about 45 minutes. Once my mind is completely silent, all I hear is my breathing and footfalls, that’s it. I’m present in that exact moment of time, no past, no future just now. I can feel the energy of everything around me, the rocks, trees, and wildlife. When I get in this state nothing else matters, I just exist as I should. It’s very liberating you should try it sometime.
At the end of the day, try to develop a way to deal with stress. Remember the perception of the threat plays a big role. Don’t let things emotionally hijack you, control what you can, and most other things will work out. Think about the worst thing that ever happened to you, you probably survived, but bears, bears will kill you.