Stress and Your Adrenaline

When you perceive stress, adrenaline is released into your blood stream.

When you are going for your morning walk you encounter a dog that barks at you.

This stressful event is processed by the cortex and then the limbic system.

This state of arousal is signaled to the hypothalamus which is essentially communicates between the higher functions of the brain and the rest of the body.

In response to the dog barking and the perceived stressful event, the hypothalamus then sets of the alarm system for the body.

Messages are sent from the hypothalamus to the adrenal medulla, which then excretes adrenalin and noradrenalin into the bloodstream.

Adrenalin then stimulates the brain and the body to react to the stressor.

Adrenalin results in an increase in your heart rate, an elevation of your blood pressure and boosts your energy.

At the same time, cortisol, another stress hormone increases glucose in the blood stream and enhances the use of glucose in the brain. At the same time, cortisol inhibits the digestive system and other systems that are not essential for the stressful fight or flight situation.

The result of these stress hormones being released into the blood stream, the body is ready to respond to the stressful situation.

While this response may be necessary to escape from predators in caveman times or other life threatening stressors, they may not be the most appropriate way to manage many of today's stressors.

For example, many of today’s stressors result from work pressures, relationships with family and friends, or exam and other daily stressors such as the morning rush hour.

Often calm, rational and thoughtful responses are the most socially appropriate ways to deal with such stress.

However, the daily stressors of life can result in the stress response being constantly on.

Such a long term over-arousal and excessive flow of adrenaline and cortisol can lead to serious health problems.

If you think that you suffer from too much stress there are a number of options available, ranging from avoiding the stressor, to developing your coping skills and support network. Some stress management strategies include exercise, relaxation techniques which can activate the relaxation response to counter the effects of stress. In addition, changes to your diet can help.

We at Stress Management for Peak Performance recommend that you visit your GP to discuss the options available to you.

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