Cortisol or hydrocortisone is a naturally occurring stress hormone which is secreted by the adrenal gland. It is naturally produced during the fight and flight response to pumping up the extra energy to confront the situation. Under normal circumstances, the cortisol level fluctuates throughout the day as we are on the run through the day.
Since it is a hormone, it is circulated throughout the body by blood and affects all the organs of the body. Keeping aside the adrenal gland abnormalities where the cortisol level is very high (Cushing’s syndrome) and very low (Addison’s disease), the level should be appropriate for normal body functioning and well being. Irregularities in the cortisol level can affect the body’s metabolism and vital functions like blood pressure regulation. When cortisol is raised, the person may have weight gain, high blood pressure while a low level can lead to low blood pressure…
We know by now that chronic inflammation is the commonest cause of various disease state in the body. Inflammation is a natural attempt of our body ‘s immune system to fight against a certain state like infections, injury or toxins which can harm the body. It is a defence system.
When cell damages, your body releases chemicals in the form of antibodies and protein to combat the threat and increases the blood supply to the damaged area to fasten the healing. This usually lasts for a few days and is called acute inflammation. But when the response lingers for a long time can be harmful to the body. In the chronic inflammatory state, the body goes into a constant state of threat. This is the state responsible for many diseases ranging from cancers, asthma, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Chronic inflammation is influenced mainly by chronic stress, anxiety, prolonged infection, injury, autoimmune diseases (like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriasis and many more), long exposure to toxins and lifestyle factors like smoking, obesity, alcoholism.
Physically, maintaining the health of the body by eating an anti-inflammatory healthy diet (antioxidant-rich ), exercise, Yoga, sleep helps the body greatly to prevent and defend from the inflammatory state. But then, this is not enough, our environment, our thoughts, feelings, emotions are equally important for healthy mental health, responsible to prevent and defend the body from the inflammatory state. So, how do we maintain a sound, calm mind in spite of all the day to day triggers of stress from our daily grind?
Several types of research have found that meditation-like mindful practises does reduce inflammation by impacting in the brain ‘s functional connectivity. Stress reduction mindfulness practices have shown a marked reduction in inflammatory biomarkers like C reactive proteins.
Learning and practising meditation isn’t rocket science. We don’t need a special session under an expert or Guru to learn to meditate. It is simply a state with the least distraction and freeing the mind from the clutter of thoughts. It is making an effort to put our mind in a relaxed, calm and “nothing” state. There are loads of books, reading materials and videos on Youtube and other channels of guiding and teaching you to meditate. But for me, self learning and adopting my method to relax my mind and meditate , works better. Just devote some time for yourself everyday, away from all distractions.
Mindfulness too greatly helps the mind to free from the thoughts clutter. Like meditation, you don’t need to go to a “no thought” state. Instead, you remain fully aware of your surrounding, yet not being reactive to it. It is a basic human ability to be fully present at the moment. Like being simply aware of your breaths, or simply focussing on whatever task you are performing at the moment.
To conclude, whether you may meditate or learn to practise mindfulness, the main purpose is to clearyour mind from unnecessary thoughts clutter. This helps your mind greatly from going into chronic stress and overthinking. Maintaining a calm and relaxed mind not only prevent unnecessary inflammation but nurture the physical body and is also self healing.
Leading a healthy life isn’t enough to maintain a state of wellbeing or make us disease-free. A lot has to do with our mental state of health too. Daily, we feed ourselves with a lot of unwanted, unhealthy emotions which not only harm us mentally but detriment our physical health too, causing a diseased state in the long run.
Normally, people, like you and me when in emotional good health, are aware of our behaviour, thoughts, feelings and emotions. We have learned to deal with the daily stress and grind of our daily lives. However, sometimes, some sudden disruptions may happen in life which may greatly affect our emotional health. Certain unwanted situations, like the death of a loved one, suffering from an illness, fired from a job, financial issues, divorce and a lot more. All such kind of situations can build up trapped emotions in us like a looming sadness, stress, anxiety, depression. Even good news like the arrival of a baby, or joining a new job can build up unwanted stress in the body.
Now, we all know that thoughts and emotions greatly affect our both physical and mental health. Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and hopelessness can build up chronic stress in the body. It is directly indicating that something isn’t right in our mind and body balance. That is the reason, people with chronic stress state suffer from high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, thyroid issues, insomnia, gastric ulceration and so on. We are already aware that chronic stress can increase inflammatory processes in the body. And chronic inflammation is the most common causative factor of diseases like Cancers.
So, how do we do detox daily from this emotional baggage ?
1.Wider Perspective about life: From the time you are born, you start having a defensive mechanism against threat or loss in life. So, it is your natural tendency to give more importance to the bad than the good. You always keep worrying about the bad and forget about the good side of life. So, we have to have a broader perspective about life, understand the realities. Death is inevitable to all of us. So, instead of worrying about the bad of what has happened or what is going to happen, focus on the positive aspect of life, all the good things around us, the Gratitude and the Blessings. Feeling the present moment as much as we can. All of them have a powerful impact on both physical and emotional health. So, every day and throughout the day be in awe of your Blessing and gratefulness. This gives you an emotional resilience and strength to deal with potential threats and stress. Build upon your creativity, the talent which you have never explored. The more you open up to life, the more resilient you become. So, daily give yourself time, do whatever you enjoy doing, forgetting all your worries and stress. Though it is easy to say than done, it’s a practise, a habit, we need to form and follow.
2.Trapped Emotions: Never let any negative emotion to be build up within. Let go your anger, pain, hurt, stress, sorrow, frustration. Always remember, nothing is permanent here in this life, not even the life itself. We all have to go one day. So, what is the point in holding back emotions which seems meaningless afterwards? What is the point in holding anger or frustration which harm us from within? So, letting go of your negative attitude and emotions is the only solutions. Every day, make sure you release, forgive and forget all the negative emotions that you felt for the day before going down to bed.
3.Invest in your health: We need to invest in our health both physically and mentally. Take out time every day for your wellbeing. Exercise, meditate, go for Nature’s walk will help you let out your strong emotions within you. Talking to your friend, your partner or anyone whom you rely upon can help you let out the negative emotions. This is important because sharing helps you to lessen your emotional baggage. Last but not least, love yourself, eat healthily and try having a good night sleep every day.
Life is a roller coaster ride. There are both highs and lows. There are struggles, issues and problems to deal with. One settles , another appears. It is like a never ending process. But amidst, this chaos, the truth is that life is very short. So, why don’t we find pleasure in little things in life ? Take out time to enjoy the little things in life. It is these simple joys that make life worth living extraordinarily.
In your, every day lives, the brain functions as two major parts – Conscious brain and Subconscious brain. Out of this, 90-95 % of your actvities are carried out by our subconscious brain which acts as an auto pilot. This is your habitual brain. While only 5 % is your thinking brain, the cortical brain, who does the conscious brain activity.
The subconscious mind is more of the inner primitive brain also called the limbic brain which does your automatic, habitual behaviours, which is also responsible for your emotions, feelings, reactions, fears, impulses and reflexes in your everyday lives. So, think, how important a role this subconscious mind plays in our day to day life.
From the day, you were born till 6-7 years of life, your brain is in the hypnotic stage. That means, you observed everything in your environment, programmed every good or bad habit from the people surrounding you, picked up every single activity you have seen. That’s how, the subconscious mind got programmed. As you grew up, you started understanding things slowly but you still picked up habits, beliefs, feelings, emotions, reactions of people, your parents, teachers, friends surrounding you. By the time, you became an adult, you have already developed a personality, habits, traits, thinking patterns, which are very much part of you. Your subconscious mind takes the upper hand in controlling your life which you are not even aware.
Your subconscious mind is not your enemy. Because you cannot do without it. Whatever activities you perform like walking, speaking, eating, writing, driving are all because of your subconscious mind programming. Then, how does it affect your life?
When it interferes with your life purpose, your goal, your performance, your task, then it starts affecting your life. From childhood, apart from the huge lists of habits that you have, you might have picked up a certain negative pattern of thinking like fear of failure, low self-esteem, pessimistic thinking, fear of challenges, impulsiveness which can be stumbling block to succeed. Most of the time, you are not even aware of. You become frustrated, sad and disheartened. You read motivation books, watch motivating videos, make tons of effort. Still, unknowingly, you come back to your old thinking pattern. This is because you have developed this habitual thinking pattern over the years. Sometimes, in spite of knowing your faults, you are unable to change. You go through your same fear, worry, negative thinking again and again. Then, how can you change?
To reprogram your subconscious mind :
Keep repeating your changed beliefs and affirmations:
To break a habit and reprogram your mind for a new habit will take time. Your subconscious mind is habitual, so, to learn a new habit and reprogramme your subconscious mind would take some time. Firstly, decide on what you have to change in yourself. Frame that belief or affirmation in your mind. The subconscious mind does not understand verbal language so using metaphors is a convenient way. Then, keep repeating and reaffirming daily till you can form it a habit. It can take a long time and years. But, this is the most convenient and effective way to change your subconscious mind.
Then, there are other methods, like energy psychology, hypnosis, Psych -K where the brain is brought to the alpha-theta a wave stage, and then the belief is slipped into your subconscious mind. I have not much idea about these methods because I have never tried them. You can get more information on them, if you are interested in