Pleasure, Overwhelm & Cortisol
I recently watched a wonderful episode of Marie TV where Marie interviewed Regena Thomashauer, the author of a new book on reclaiming feminine power. I won’t put the full title of Regena’s book here (as I don’t want to get blocked by any filters) but let’s just say it’s daring & many will say provocative!
During the interview, Regena talks about how modern women today have been the most stressed they’ve ever been.
When we get stressed our levels of cortisol rise – this is our body’s natural response to stress a.k.a a life-threatening situation – as this is what helps us get out of danger fast. (Remember the fight or flight response?) After the stressful event, it’s important that our cortisol levels return to normal. Unfortunately as we’re living in a high-stress culture, our stress response is activated so often that our bodies can’t always return to normal.
Too much cortisol in our bodies can lead to negative outcomes including weight gain, osteoporosis, problems with our digestion, imbalanced hormones, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
I believe Highly Sensitive Women are also particularly vulnerable to adrenal fatigue, a syndrome that occurs when the adrenal glands function below their necessary level due to prolonged or intense periods of stress. Being Highy Sensitive, we are designed to be nature’s ‘first responders’, to notice and alert others of danger before any else notices the signs. It follows that we experience increased cortisol levels as a result of our fight or flight response being stimulated, more often. Cue lots of cortisol being released into our bodies and hello adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue leaves someone feeling ‘wired but tired’ and has been implicated in weight gain, mood swings, disrupted sleep patterns, an inability to focus, and memory issues.
Doom and gloom aside, let’s get back to the interview where Regena suggests that the quickest way to lower our levels of cortisol is to do something that gives us pleasure. Ahem. This can be anything from taking a hot shower with your favourite shower gel to enjoying a moment to feel the sun on your face. Do something that brings you joy! Basically Regena is encouraging us to tap into our feminine energies, as this is the best and quickest way to dissipate the cortisol coursing through our stressed out bodies. Great advice I say and one all of us Highly Sensitive Women should take to heart and practice daily.
In a society that doesn’t perceive women as equal to men, and sees sensitivity as a weakness, Highly Sensitive Women need to work even harder at being valued. When overwhelm strikes, as it will for all of us Highly Sensitive People, we need to work hard at lowering our cortisol levels, so that we don’t fall prey to chronic stress and adrenal fatigue.
I challenge you to find things that give you pleasure each and every day. Walk in nature, watch the sunset, luxuriate in a fragrant bath…do whatever it takes to lower your cortisol levels. Build your strength and ability to cope with stress and overwhelm and dispel the generally held negative cliche of Highly Sensitive people being fragile.
There you go fellow Highly Sensitive Women – see this as your call to pleasure!
If you’d like to watch the Marie TV episode yourself (& I recommend it)! here’s the link: http://www.marieforleo.com/2016/09/regena-thomashauer-reclaim-power/
(Note: Watch it when there aren’t any young ones around). Enjoy!