Brain has a clipboard and pencil

Lately there’s a growing appreciation of stress hormones. Stress hormones like cortisol are our natural defences against everyday challenges that might hurt us mentally or emotionally.

“You think that stress is bad, but research shows that in moderation and with the proper resources, not all stress is bad,” said Elisabeth Conradt, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah.” CNN, June 1, 2015

Emma Adam writes in the Huffington Post that, “Stress hormones such as cortisol exist for a reason, and cortisol helps us in all sorts of surprising and important ways. In short, stress hormones can be good for you!”

Here’s four ways stress hormone cortisol helps you.

  1. Helps wake you up. You wouldn’t think that a stress hormone would help wake you up but it does. Your cortisol levels surge in the first half hour of waking, releasing glucose into your blood to help you overcome sleepiness. There’s a saying that waking up is itself a stressful experience for your body. If you have a lot more to do on a given day, your cortisol levels will be higher because of the extra demands your day will have. In fact, if you are sad or lonely the day before, your stress hormone surge will be bigger the next morning.
  2. Helps you face stressful events. Your cortisol levels go up whenever you feel stressed. That’s good. It gives you energy, helps you focus on the stressful event, and suppress less important body processes like digestion. Cortisol can even temporarily reduce fatigue because the quick energy and increased focus makes you forget you’re tired.
  3. Optimizes your cognition. Moderate amounts of cortisol help with thinking. Cortisol helps with information retention, problem solving, and paying attention to information. Executive functioning is when your cortisol levels are optimally performing – high in the morning with a steady decline throughout the day. That’s why it’s a great idea to schedule important things for mornings because your cortisol levels are helping your brain be the best it can be at that time.
  4. Regulates your immune system. When cortisol levels are too low, immune system over-activity becomes a problem. For instance, autoimmune disorders are caused by low cortisol levels. Cortisol also helps control inflammation because it is a type of glucocorticoid. Great for asthma and rashes.

Your stress hormone cortisol helps you daily, regulating your body and keeping you emotionally and mentally balanced. Stress is part of living, but not all stress is bad.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

  It’s okay to tell someone you’re depressed. In fact, talking about depression is the start of getting help, of being seen. But the person you choose to tell must be okay with hearing about depression. Depression can be very dark, and not everyone wants to hear the darker details. The person should be non-judgemental, […]

Studies have shown that colour impacts your mood. It can make you feel happy or sad, excite or relax. Gender, age, and culture also influence how colour impacts your mood. Understanding colour. Colours are divided into warm and cool. Warm colours are similar to those seen in daylight or sunset. The colours range from red […]

Love runs the world. Compassion is the thread that connects us and love is the fuel that drives us. Compassion gives a person the ability to feel empathy towards others, and understand their situation. There’s many different types of love. Compassionate love means you care about someone else, whether through friendship or some other bond. […]

  Courage is dynamic action. Courage means putting yourself in a position that is outside your comfort zone. It is a growth-orientated energy. Courage comes from the heart. You naturally radiate heart energy – love, encouragement, support, guidance, growth. All of that is intended to radiate outward from you. But when you discourage yourself or […]