Stress and depression can have negative effects on physical health leading to decreased physical energy, chronic pain, and even sexual dysfunction. During stressful situations, the adrenal glands inside of the body release a substance called cortisol. Cortisol is a natural hormone referred to as the stress hormone because large amounts of this substance are released whenever a person feels stressed out. It is an important hormone in the human body because it is involved in proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, and control of immune system functions, and inflammatory response.
Sustained and prolonged levels of cortisol, however, may lead to many harmful effects like high cholesterol, suppression of the immune system, and acceleration of the aging process. Prolonged stress may lead to an imbalance of cortisol in the body which causes disturbance in the components of the digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and other major systems of the body. Such imbalance may lead to several illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to these harmful effects, high levels of cortisol may lead to weight gain. When people become stressed, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol that releases sugar in the blood which then leads to additional weight gain. Studies add that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol as a reaction to stress tend to eat more food that is high in carbohydrates.
To keep cortisol levels under control, the body’s relaxation response is activated during stressful situations. The following methods have been proven by many health experts to be very beneficial in helping the mind and the body relaxes and, in the process, control the body’s production of cortisol:
- Journaling or keeping a diary
- Listening to music
Individuals who want to have less stressful lives should include exercise, eating healthy food, taking vitamins, and having frequent sex as part of their lifestyle. Frequent sexual activity is now the subject of many health research studies, especially those that focus on the stress relief that comes as a benefit of sex.
Safe sex practiced in a loving and intimate relationship is proven to relieve individuals of distress and bring numerous health benefits like improved cholesterol levels and increased blood circulation. In addition, the act encourages the production of testosterone, a hormone that plays an important role in the immune system. With all the emotional and physical benefits it provides, sex is considered by many experts as one of the best tools for treating stress and anxiety. Aside from taking worries off one’s mind for an ample amount of time, sex provide many stress management benefits like deep breathing, a sense of touch, physical workout, and social support.
Deep breathing and touching in the sexual act relieve tension and other unwanted feelings. This kind of breathing improves blood circulation and massaging or touching certain parts of the body encourages the production of substances called endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. It is considered a feel-good hormone because of the moments of bliss that it brings.
Sex is not just a lustful act, it is about trust and intimacy. People who have a supportive partner manage emotional and psychological distress better, live longer, and enjoy improved overall health. This kind of emotional intimacy in sex is good for one’s emotional and physical health. Also, these factors involved in sexual acts lead to feelings of happiness and may slow down the aging process.