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Cortisol is a hormone used by the body in many ways, but most notably in the body's response to stress.
The body uses cortisol in times of stress or danger for quick energy bursts, increased immunity, improved memory and even to dull pain. Once the stressful situation has passed, however, the body wants to return to its relaxed state. If you are suffering from chronic stress, which stimulates cortisol and keeps your body on high alert, you are doing damage to your body.
While useful in small amounts, sustained high levels of cortisol can wreak havoc on the body. An excess of cortisol can cause:
* Improper thyroid function
* Blood sugar imbalances
* Bone loss
* Muscle loss
* Impaired cognitive ability
* Compromised immune system
* Increased belly fat
Learning relaxation techniques is a good way to keep your cortisol under control. If you find yourself feeling constantly stressed and keyed up, try breathing techniques, visualization, exercise, yoga, meditation, pursuing a hobby or even self-hypnosis to release stress.