“7 Ways to Rock Cortisol and Manage Your Stress”, is a remarkable, uplifting and conversational talk given by prominent functional medicine gynecologist, Dr. Sara Gottfried, in 2013 to Naropa University in Colorado. Find it on YouTube, if you are interested, see the link beneath this post. You really need to hear this. Dr. Gottfried is the author of 3 best-selling books including Younger, Hormone Reset Diet, and The Hormone Cure. In this 70-minute talk, “Dr. Sara” describes how to “entrain the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems” with active management of stress and cortisol. In her words, the goal is not to reduce your stress, it’s in “how you dance with it.”  

Her approach has a personal side, as she relates her own experiences with stress, and the effects that cortisol had on her in her thirties, when she reached a defining moment where “the pain of staying the same was worse than (the pain of) change.”  

If you “have a hunch” (or have been told) that some of your problems may have to do with stress and cortisol, then you may be interested in the following points in this talk, which is woven with humor, her personal style, and the testimony of personal experience.  

Topics covered: 

Cortisol vs oxytocin and growth hormone 

Effects of cortisol: frazzled, fat and frumpy, PMS, low sex drive 

Experiences within conventional medicine versus the medicine of “root cause” and bio-hacking 

Balancing hormones like progesterone, testosterone, and why birth control pills and antidepressants may not be the answer for some 

Bio-hacking, testing, genetics, tracking and re-testing 

Telomere length and anti-aging as it relates to cortisol excess and the brain 

Adrenal fatigue and “the repair conversation” (it has “a beginning, a middle and an end”) and it has to do with the quality of sleep, sleep and cortisol, sleep and growth hormone 

Your relationship to stress, how your “perception of stress” influences cortisol, aging, and the management of stress 

The brain, the size of the hippocampus and the aging effects of cortisol, also interplay with serotonin and dopamine 

The differences between men and women and the reaction to stress 

Stress and the heart 

Stress and the gut 

Organ reserve and the effects of aging, telomere length 

Measuring cortisol 

Blood sugar and cortisol 

The long term benefits of well managed cortisol 

Cortisol as the “bad boyfriend” you may have had in the past 

Practices (alternating nasal breathing, Heartmath) as well as Tibetan/Buddhist practices which are designed to decrease or manage stress and cortisol 

The seven prescriptions (which she carries in her purse) 

1) Self-care – Tiara time 

2) Cocktail hour – holy basil, phosphatidyl serine, omega 3 

3) One pound of vegetables per day 

4) Hugging – increasing oxytocin – orgasm and orgasmic meditation, “OM’ing” 

5) Mastering your sleep 

6) Dark chocolate – 80% or greater cacao 

7) Coherence – Heartmath, heart rate variability as a biofeedback tool and apps for that like “GPS for the Soul”, and “Inner Balance” which you may use on your iPhone 

If you are feeling not particularly motivated, or wired and tired, and have an hour to spare, instead of watching TV, I highly recommend listening/watching this talk, and learning a new approach or fresh perspective on stress and cortisol. This is important. Then you may want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of high or low cortisol, and do a symptom inventory of how you are feeling. Chronic expenditure of your adrenal reserve, and high stress and cortisol eventually “burn out” your adrenal glands, leaving you with poor immune tolerance, and chronic fatigue. If you have ever experienced “hitting the wall”, and waking up as tired as you were going to bed, then you may already be in Stage III adrenal fatigue. However, being a “cortisol junkie” feels good, as you burn the candle at both ends, and get a fake energy lift or high from things like sugar and caffeine. Chronic excess cortisol (sustained over a long period of time) may contribute to poor metabolism, insulin resistance and other chronic long term health effects, like hypertension, obesity, and even dementia, and a higher risk of cancer, as well as potential decreased longevity and a poorer quality of life.  

If you found this talk by Dr. Sara interesting, and you would like to find a like-minded physician who is interested in root cause medicine, solving problems with the power of lifestyle change, food as medicine, the judicious use of supplements and botanicals, and using gentle means which allow the body to re-balance itself, then please like and follow our page, sign up for my email list, and consider making an appointment for a personal health consultation at my office in Hartsville, SC, where I practice gynecology with an emphasis on functional medicine. I would like to think we are offering something unique to our community. Many think they have to go elsewhere to find what we have right here. We have services like bio-identical hormone replacement, health coaching, cutting edge testing of urine hormone metabolites, adrenal stress testing, as well as comprehensive digestive stool analysis, food antibody testing, as well as assessment of toxicity and nutritional sufficiency. We have the latest and top of the line dietary supplements and testing for you.

I know that the women who master this are the ones who not only take the first step, but also follow through and walk the walk. At The Wellness Boutique, we are here to help you along the journey, but the beginning step begins with you.