When the body is exposed to danger, it immediately releases an adrenaline or cortisol hormone. Such hormones are called the fight or flight hormone, which increases blood pressure, heart rate,etc. Today, there no actual need of fight or flight, yet we do still actively concentrate and feel muscle tension during stress.
Cortisol is made from progesterone, which is also necessary for the production of estrogen and testosterone. These are the most important hormones when it comes to female reproductive system. However, if the stress goes extreme, the body priorities using the progesterone for producing more cortisol and fighting off stress.
As a result, the body under stress may not have enough progesterone to synthesize sex hormones and ensure proper functioning of the female reproductive system which may lead to fertility problems.
Tips To Cope With Stress
1. Sleep: It impacts our ability to manage cortisol and impacts the body’s ability to regulate hormones level efficiently. Rapid eye movement is the most and normally occurs during sleep cycle. Establish a bed time routine that will help:
• Set up a calming bedtime routine that will help signal your body to get ready for sleep.
• Have a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time, including weekends.
• Decrease random sounds around your bedroom
• Avoid long naps especially later in the day
• Avoid working out fewer than three hours before bedtime
• Avoid caffeine late in the day, ideally starting at noon
2. Mindfulness: Most people are not present in their environment and are commonly ruminating over the past and worrying about the future. This often increases stress even if we’re in a stressful environment. Consider meditation to increase presence and connection to your body and mind.
3. Movement: Intentionally walking 30 minutes a day is sufficient for exercise, but going to the gym or fitness classes 2-3 times a week can also be wonderful. There are lots of outbox exercises too like running around with children, hiking, climbing walls, etc
4. Gratitude: Having a gratitude practice increases positive emotions that can act as natural relaxants in the body. Intentionally thinking of at least one event/ person/ thing that you are grateful for daily can increase the habit of acknowledging positive aspects of your life.
Note that gratitude is best when it’s specific, so fully think about the event or person lead you to acknowledge it what you were feeling and sensing at the moment.
By: Amma Adutwumwaa (Medical Student)
Vitebsk State Medical University,Belarus