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We all know stress is bad for us, yet many of us wear it like a badge of honor. We claim to want inner peace, but if life gets too calm, we go seeking our next hit of cortisol and epinephrine.
It’s almost as if being stressed makes us feel important, valuable, and useful. But the biggest problem with being a stress addict is that it can destroy our health.
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As I explain in my new book, Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, the body is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that can kill stray cancer cells, fight infections, and even slow the aging process.
But these mechanisms only work when the nervous system is relaxed. When the body senses immediate danger (a screaming boss or a hungry tiger —the part of your brain that controls fear doesn’t know the difference!), these repair mechanisms shut down so you can deal with the threat.
10 Signs Cortisol is Your Drug of Choice
So how do you know if you’re a stress addict? Here are 10 signs that you’ve made cortisol your drug of choice.
1. You Experience Backaches and Headaches
When your cortisol levels are high over a long period of time, your adrenal glands start to get depleted. This raises prolactin levels, increasing the body’s sensitivity to pain, such as backaches and muscle aches. Excessive cortisol also hypersensitizes the brain to pain, such that even the slightest twinge can excite the nerves of the brain, causing headaches.
2. You’re Not Sleeping Well
Cortisol levels are supposed to drop at nighttime, allowing your body to relax and recharge. But if your cortisol levels are too high, you might notice that, even if you’ve been tired all day, you get a second wind right around bedtime. Then you toss and turn all night—and feel tired again the next day.
Check out the other 8 signs here!
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