The Stress Response
The Hypothalamus, the Pituitary and the Adrenal GlandsThe physical effects of the stress response are in response to a cascade of hormone reactions. Stress hormones signal the nerves to trigger the reaction. It all starts in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that is just above the brain stem. A hormone called CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) is released, and stimulates the pituitary gland to release another hormone, ACTH (adrenocorticotropin hormone). ACTH prompts the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands, which sit atop the two kidneys in the abdomen. Adrenaline is responsible for the rapid-response increases in heart rate and circulation. The adrenals also release cortisol, which works in the liver to ensure the release of glucose into the blood for energy.
RecoveryWhen there is an abundance of cortisol in the blood stream, the pituitary gets the signal to interrupt the stress-hormone cycle so that the body can recover. Once the adrenals stop cranking out stress hormones, the vital signs that went into red-alert when the stressor appeared gradually dissipate, and—if the stressor is gone--the body returns to its resting state. READ MORE
The problem with having a full-on fight-or-flight response to mundane stressors is that modern life's minor annoyances happen much more frequently than actual life-threatening situations. The result may be an elevated level of cortisol in the body too much of the time. That is not how the system was designed to work! Chronic high levels of cortisol is associated with heart disease, ulcers, insulin resistance and hypertension. LESS