March / April 2015
By Dr. Michael Olson, LMFT
As we begin the New Year, many of us stop to consider the stress and challenges in our lives and how we might better handle them. Since we all deal with stress at some point, it is important to know the good, bad, and ugly facts.
The Good. We often think of stress as a bad thing, something that we must eradicate from our lives. Yet, without it, we would not be able to survive a single day. There is, deep within our brains, an amazing little factory called the hypothalamus that produces/secretes very powerful and potent chemicals called neuropeptides and neuro-hormones. The hypothalamus works with the pituitary and adrenal glands to secrete these hormones, which include cortisol and epinephrine or adrenalin. The levels of these neuro-hormones naturally rise and fall on a daily basis and help us to wake up in the morning, focus and deal with the challenges of each day, and finally, allow us to drop off into sleep at night.