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Why Cortisol or Stress Never Turns Off

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 09/21/2015

Why Cortisol or Stress Never Turns Off

The first thing you need to know about cortisol is that it is made from the outside of the adrenal gland.

You have two adrenals on top of your kidneys. The inside of the gland is all nerve tissues that make neurotransmitters act like hormones because they travel communication-wise through the nervous system, while hormones travel through the blood.

Adrenal makes cortisol which is a stress hormone that people have a problem turning off. This is because the adrenal only has an 'on' switch.

Cortisol is a hormone that reacts to stress and damps the body to stress states.

If you are being chased by a tiger, for example, your heart rate will go up, your blood will go into your muscles, your brain becomes very awake, you will have higher blood pressure and will have more adrenaline.

You also won’t have much of digestion or reproduction – it will turn these things off.

When one experiences stress over their life, they think it just goes away but it doesn’t. It just accumulates because adrenal only has an on switch.

Nearly 100% of the time, if you look into autoimmune cases like rheumatoid and MS, you will find that it always follows a stressful event like divorce or the loss of a loved one. These events cause severe stress more than physical strain where a person can be stuck for years.

If you can’t tolerate stress and things get to you easily, then you know your adrenal glands are on edge. Now, the term for this is called fight or flight mode, and this can be measured.

You can see how much strain your adrenals are in if it’s normal or stuck in the fight or flight state. Fight or flight is a stress state wherein you are actively fighting or fleeing.

Stress can be:

  • change of hormones

  • mental

  • menopausal

  • physical

You might have a high level of cortisol because of an old source of stress – and you won’t even see it because it doesn’t show up in a blood test.

I use a test called harbor availability that measures the automatic nervous system in the adrenal.

When I check people, I look at two things: how much stress they have in their body and how much health or recovery reserve they have. 

If you lose your recovery reserve, then even a little stress will affect you badly. On the other hand, if you have good recovery, then stress won’t bother you as much because you have this buffer to fall back on.

What to Do to Turn Stress Off

You have to manually turn the adrenals off with acupressure techniques which don’t use needles. This technique will work on your sympathetic nervous system.

There are other parts of the nervous system that controls the off switch called parasympathetic. It also controls rest and digestion.

You can create a great relaxation effect that will help this part of the nervous system. You can increase the flow of this electrical wire that is connected to the brain which would otherwise not turn off.

Learn about stress and see more Adrenal advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.

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