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Go Blue

 

Too many of us, too often, for too many reasons find ourselves in the “Red Zone” of life–that place where the stress hormone cortisol creeps up or crashes in on us, robbing us of vital resources to…

– See the broader picture
– Engage, vulnerably and authentically, with others
– Think of options and solutions
– Be resilient
– Operate in “flow”
– And more

Lean toward the “Blue Zone” today–the state of calm-connect, peace-possibility, flow-flourish, enlightenment-engagement. Start by simply acknowledging what is good in your life–let the gratitude wash over you.

Post by Susan Britton Whitcomb

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Ways To Beat Your Stress Hormone

The Need For Peace

I have more suggestions, eat an alkaline diet, practice simple relaxation techniques, accept and avoid toxic people, add healthy people. Find joy daily, walk in nature, dance, create, have fun.

SG x

Now , listen to the sounds inside your body ¿ your breath and heartbeat. This is where your attention should be, within yourself. Don¿t think, just focus on your breath.

 Poor cortisol: It means well but just doesn’t know when to quit. Produced by your adrenal glands, this “stress hormone” helps regulate blood pressure and the immune system during a sudden crisis, whether a physical attack or an emotional setback. This helps you to tap into your energy reserves and increases your ability to fight off infection.

Trouble is, relentless stress can keep this survival mechanism churning in high gear, subverting the hormone’s good intentions. Chronically high cortisol levels can cause sleep problems, a depressed immune response, blood sugar abnormalities, and even abdominal weight gain. “When cortisol spikes, it tells the body to eat something with a lot of calories—a great survival tactic if you need energy to flee a predator but not if you’re fretting over how to pay bills,” says nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection.

Fortunately, an antidote to the body’s fight-or-flight mode has evolved: the relaxation response. Here are eight surprising ways to invoke stress management—and in some cases, cut your cortisol levels almost in half.

To Cut Cortisol 20%…Say “Om”
People who practiced Buddhist meditation significantly decreased both cortisol and blood pressure in a 6-week Thai study. Similarly, participants who meditated daily for four months decreased the hormone by an average of 20% in a study at Maharishi University, while levels in the non-meditating control group actually went up slightly. (Try these 8 simple meditations that can change your life.)

To Cut Cortisol Elevation 66%…Make a great iPod mix
Music can have a calming effect on the brain, especially while you’re facing down a major stressor. When doctors at Japan’s Osaka Medical Center played tunes for a group of patients undergoing colonoscopies, the patients’ cortisol levels rose less than those of others who underwent the same procedure in a quiet room. Even if an invasive gastrointestinal exam isn’t in your immediate future, you can forestall cortisol spikes in other stressful situations—when hosting dinner for your in-laws, for instance—by queueing up background music. And to wind down faster at bedtime, listen to something soothing instead of watching TV.

To Cut Cortisol 50%…Hit the sack early—or take a nap
What’s the difference between getting six hours of sleep instead of the suggested eight? “Fifty percent more cortisol in the bloodstream,” Talbott says. When a group of pilots slept six hours or less for seven nights while on duty, their cortisol levels increased significantly and stayed elevated for two days, found a study at Germany’s Institute for Aerospace Medicine. The recommended 8 hours of nightly shut-eye allows your body enough time to recover from the day’s stresses, Talbott says. When you fall short of the mark, take a nap the next day—Pennsylvania State University researchers found that a midday snooze cut cortisol levels in subjects who’d lost sleep the previous night.

To Cut Cortisol 47%…Sip some black tea
The “cup that cheers” has deep associations with comfort and calm—just think of how the English revere their late-afternoon teatime. As it turns out, science confirms the connection: When volunteers at University College London were given a stressful task, the cortisol levels of those who were regular black-tea drinkers fell by 47% within an hour of completing the assignment, while others who drank fake tea experienced only a 27% drop. Study author Andrew Steptoe, PhD, suspects that naturally occurring chemicals such as polyphenols and flavonoids may be responsible for tea’s calming effects.

To Cut Cortisol 39%…Hang out with a funny friend
The pal who keeps you in stitches can do more than distract you from your problems—her very presence may help temper your hormonal stress response. Simply anticipating laughter is enough to reduce cortisol levels by nearly half, according to researchers at Loma Linda University. (If your favorite Tina Fey clone can’t meet for coffee, you may be able to achieve the same stress-melting effect by popping in a DVD of The Office.)

To Cut Cortisol 31%…Schedule a massage
A little pampering can rub your stress levels the right way. After several weeks of massage therapy, subjects’ cortisol levels decreased by nearly one-third, on average, according to studies at the University of Miami School of Medicine and elsewhere. In addition to keeping cortisol under control, massage sessions reduce stress by promoting production of dopamine and serotonin, the same “feel good” hormones released when we socialize with pals or do something fun.

To Cut Cortisol 25%…Do Something Spiritual
Religious ritual fortifies many people against everyday pressures, and it can also lower cortisol secretion, report University of Mississippi researchers. Churchgoing study subjects had lower levels of the stress hormone, on average, than those who did not attend services at all. If organized religion isn’t of interest to you, try developing your spiritual side by taking a walk in nature’s “cathedral”—in the woods or along a beach—or volunteering for a charity.

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Stress hormone may cross the placenta and affect baby in the womb

mónica calvo: libros 'el maravilloso mundo de juan'

Born Stressed
Researchers from Bristol University, UK, found that pregnant women who experienced high levels of anxiety during the late stages of their pregnancy produced children who had higher cortisol levels when they reached the age of 10.

The researchers said many children whose mothers were stressed when they were in the womb may be more susceptible to anxiety.You can read about this study in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

In this study, saliva samples were taken from 74 10-year old children. Samples were tested four times a day for three days (school days). The mothers filled in a questionnaire which asked them, among other things, whether they had experienced stress and/or anxiety during their pregnancy. They found that there was a clear correlation between high levels of stress during the mothers’ pregnancy and high cortisol levels in the children’s saliva.

The researchers pointed out that many other factors need to be taken into account when trying to ‘predict’ susceptibility to depression or anxiety later in life. Such factors as the child’s personality, environment, lifestyle and upbringing.

Cortisol levels can work both ways. Some mental health problems are linked to low cortisol levels.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist

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Descendants of Abuse, Trauma Or Neglect Have Altered Stress Hormones

This makes sense on so many levels especially relating to ancestral healing..

SG x

Parents’ traumatic experience may hamper their offspring’s ability to bounce back from trauma
By Tori Rodriguez

A person’s experience as a child or teenager can have a profound impact on their future children’s lives, new work is showing. Rachel Yehuda, a researcher in the growing field of epigenetics and the intergenerational effects of trauma, and her colleagues have long studied mass trauma survivors and their offspring. Their latest results reveal that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders.

Yehuda’s team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., and others had previously established that survivors of the Holocaust have altered levels of circulating stress hormones compared with other Jewish adults of the same age. Survivors have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body return to normal after trauma; those who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have even lower levels.

It is not completely clear why survivors produce less cortisol, but Yehuda’s team recently found that survivors also have low levels of an enzyme that breaks down cortisol. The adaptation makes sense: reducing enzyme activity keeps more free cortisol in the body, which allows the liver and kidneys to maximize stores of glucose and metabolic fuels—an optimal response to prolonged starvation and other threats. The younger the survivors were during World War II, the less of the enzyme they have as adults. This finding echoes the results of many other human epigenetic studies that show that the effects of certain experiences during childhood and adolescence are especially enduring in individuals and sometimes even across generations (right).

Most recently, a new study looked at the descendants of the Holocaust survivors. Like their parents, many have low levels of cortisol, particularly if their mothers had PTSD. Yet unlike their parents, they have higher than normal levels of the cortisol-busting enzyme. Yehuda and her colleagues theorize that this adaptation happened in utero. The enzyme is usually present in high levels in the placenta to protect the fetus from the mother’s circulating cortisol. If pregnant survivors had low levels of the enzyme in the placenta, a greater amount of cortisol could make its way to the fetus, which would then develop high levels of the enzyme to protect itself.

Epigenetic changes often serve to biologically prepare offspring for an environment similar to that of the parents, Yehuda explains. In this case, however, the needs of the fetus seem to have trumped that goal. With low levels of cortisol and high levels of the enzyme that breaks it down, many descendants of Holocaust survivors would be ill adapted to survive starvation themselves. In fact, that stress hormone profile might make them more susceptible to PTSD (below, yellow); previous studies have indeed suggested that the offspring of Holocaust survivors are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and are more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD. These descendants may also be at risk for age-related metabolic syndromes, including obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance, particularly in an environment of plenty.

Yet it is still too early in our investigation into the epigenetics of this complex stress-response system to know for sure whether these molecular changes indicate any real-world risks or benefits. “If you are looking for it all to be logical and fall into place perfectly, it isn’t going to yet,” Yehuda says. “We are just at the beginning of understanding this.”
A variety of studies, many using long-term medical records from large populations, have found that certain experiences affect future descendants’ health risks

A variety of studies, many using long-term medical records from large populations, have found that certain experiences affect future descendants’ health risks.

Response to article

by Moulton

My parents were in their twenties during the Holocaust years. My generation grew up in the post-war decades, in a culture where our parents’s generation were struggling with re-adjustment after the cultural traumas of the Second World War. For obvious reasons, our parents did not convey the gruesome stories of those emotionally wrenching years to their impressionably young offspring. It wasn’t until we became young adults in the 60s before we began to learn of the horrors that had transpired twenty years earlier. And even then, the stories were antiseptic, elliptical, and muted. But the deeply concealed and unprocessed emotions of our parents’ generation nonetheless leaked through. I silently inherited Fear of Annihilation from my parents’s generation without even being consciously aware of it. My parents were worriers, and they constantly worried for the well-being of their children. But my naive impression, as a teenager, was they were worried for our everyday safety, not for our existential survival.
My otherwise inexplicable anxieties, silently inherited from my parents’ generation, surfaced as nail-biting and teeth-clenching, coupled with chronic perplexity at the challenge of making sense of the world in which I found myself growing up, where superficial well-being concealed an undisclosed cultural backstory of unspeakable atrocities and inscrutable emotional trauma.