Some Thoughts on Managing Stress

Photo by Abhinav Goswami:

Did you know that having your cortisol spike when stressed out can raise your insulin as much as a slice of cake can?

I just learned this reading Dr. Mindy Pelz’s book, Fast Like a Girl. It’s one of the most informative books on fasting, ketosis and metabolic health I’ve ever read. I wish my teenaged self had read this book much earlier.

Usually, my eyes glaze over the biology and science sections of a book, but Dr Mindy explains it in such a digestible easy for anyone to understand way. Even though I did a crash course learning how to eat keto back in 2014 when my partner, D, was diagnosed with cancer, I’m still piecing together all the information and learning new things now, many years later.

Before D’s cancer (now in remission), I didn’t think about cortisol or insulin, but now I’m learning more about how it’s not just about your diet or exercise when it comes to losing weight or being cancer-free, but how important it is to learn to reduce your stress levels.

Managing your stress is key.

When you’re stressed, your cortisol increases, which raises your blood sugar, which in turn, increases your insulin levels. High insulin is related to increased obesity and weight gain, diabetes, cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s. That’s why when I started eating keto and began fasting soon after 2014, my prediabetes and previous diagnosis of bipolar disorder (type 2) improved. I accidentally learned that my mental health improved as my metabolic health did too. I was learning how to turn on the metabolic switch, from a sugar burner to a fat burner.

What are some ways to decrease cortisol to increase oxytocin, the feel good hormone? Hugs from loved ones (even self-hugging, such as havening works), petting your pets like you cats or dogs, sex, gratitude (feeling sincere appreciation for anything or anyone).

I’ve been also using an app called Neurocycle, which helps you transform your negative toxic thoughts into healthier positive ones. You work on one thought you want to transform for 63 days. It comes with daily guidance, some video, audio and text. Brief journaling is involved, but it’s been pretty helpful for me. I plan to write about this more in the near future. I like Dr Caroline Leaf, who believes that depression and anxiety are simply messengers to alert you that something needs to change. That you don’t necessarily have to identify with these messengers.

Your thoughts, your mindset, affects your moods, your bodily sensations you experience, and the actions or non-actions you take, as well as your relationships. So learning how to transform my thoughts and mindset has been a game changer.

I’m really grateful for all the tools and resources we have at our disposal to live this life, surfing the ups and downs!

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