Yes, anxiety is such a nemesis for so many of us on the forum. Mel has always told me that I’d get better a lot faster if I shut off the cortisol drip. As of late, I’ve really begun to understand how much cortisol negatively affects me, and I am truly fighting back to keep myself as calm as possible. After all, when a person’s anxiety ramps up, it makes everything worse, especially the symptoms. Working full-time kept my cortisol pumping regularly. Once I retired, my skin got really quiet. Mel was also correct that people who work full-time, high stress jobs have a much lengthier journey ahead of them to wellness.
I am actively, and I mean actively, addressing my long-term gut issues because I know now that the state of my gut impacts my brain and its production of chemicals like serotonin that impact mental well-being. A HUGE percentage of the immune system (I think it is something like 80%...Peter can correct me on that if that number is inaccurate) resides right in the gut, which is definitely why I became sick. My life, from childhood until now, was one long string of unfortunate health circumstances that eroded my gut and allowed Lyme and MD (among other vicious little critters) to take up residence. It stands to reason that if the gut is addressed, the body has a fighting chance against chronic diseases. That’s why diet is so critical!
I took the stress test. I am facing some “stress situations” (retiring, moving, ill parents, chronic illness, etc.) that SHOULD mean that my score is higher, yet I can honestly say that I am not allowing those stresses to turn on the cortisol. Yes, I’ve retired, but retirement is awesome! Yes, I’m moving, but there are so many good things about that! Yes, both of my parents are chronically ill, but I cannot change that. I just have to love them and not take on their illnesses on top of mine. They are on their own journeys, and God will take care of both of them. Like I said, I just have to love, love, love them.
Yes, I have a chronic illness, but I don’t have to let it define me. It doesn’t have to take my fighting spirit or hope.
I encourage everyone to take the test because it is an excellent gauge of how much cortisol might have an opportunity to do its dirty work. I actually saw that test for the first time decades ago and took it in my young adult life, too. I know it is a very reputable test.
Being in constant, low or high-grade “fight or flight” is so destructive to the body. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I haven’t exactly been a “poster child” for managing stress, but I have made a lot of progress over time, especially recently. I hope Peter’s post encourages all of us to take a hard look at the sources of anxiety in our lives and how we might better manage them. If we do, it will be a huge favor that we can do for ourselves. And...as I have recently discovered...turning off the cortisol directly correlates to feeling 100% better!!!
God bless you all!
It has come to my attention that many of you are struggling with increased anxiety stemming from the difficulty of our walk through these unprecedented times. And we certainly must remain mindful of the importance of managing stress and not allowing the destructive effects of constant cortisol presenting in our bodies.
Here is a wonderful link to the American Institute of Stress page that provides a stress and social readjustment rating scale tool called the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. It will navigate you through a series of questions that allows you to assess your level of stress and to inventory the sources in real time. There are also other opportunities contained within the site content that allow for gaining further insights about much of the dynamics of stress management.
Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory link: