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Cortisol: It’s all in your closet

September 19, 2007
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According to this article, my apparent aptitude for production of the stress hormone cortisol might have less to do with me than with my closet.  But of course, it really comes down to my perception of my closet.

Actually, I’d have to say that my perception of my closet is fairly neutral. I cull it frequently, everything is hung or shelved, and I don’t experience palpitations when I open its doors. More likely stressors are weeds that have subsumed the garden, my inability to pull them without pain (to myself, not to the weeds, for you veggie advocates); the remodeling in progress, decades of life with chronic pain, and my perception that I live in the rage and noise epicenter of my city.

I am also a streamliner married to a packrat.  Each of us has conceded ground over the years, and by now my husband has become more organized and I have become less observant of things that are superfluous or out of place. My husband simply has a broader recognition of the long-term utility of things, and a more expansive sense of place.

He also has a stronger sense of seasonal priorities. The flowers have stopped blooming. Let the weeds decompact the soil. He’ll rototill them all under at once. He’ll subvert them in an hour, while I watch through the window, sipping anti-inflammatory white willow bark tea. But first he will apply the new tile to the new bathroom walls and install the new floor. And this after commuting, working fulltime, and taking advanced degree classes.

I feel the stress that he should have. So my adrenals pump out more cortisol than my situation calls for, and I get hot and cold running flashes, and the nurse at the number on the refrigerator magnet suggests I try giving up caffeine, red wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy foods. She suggests a form of death. But she is nice and we laugh about it.

I plan to take some steps to regain a sense of control, which is supposed to con my system into lowering its cortisol output. I will give up one thing from my closet, one thing from the mantle, and one thing from one bookcase; also, I will try to eat one meal that does not include caffeine, red wine, cheese, chocolate, and spicy foods. In fact, I have already triumphed: I never have red wine with breakfast.

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2 Comments
  1. scribbles2day permalink
    September 21, 2007 7:42 pm

    I don’t think ‘good nurse’ was thinking about wine and cornflakes as something to drop! I love your kind of triumph! Spicy foods in the morning… hmm… ever tried Tabasco with milk?

    Chocolate…! Oh my gosh… I don’t know if “I” can do it! Good luck on that one! Dear husband may have to step in!

  2. September 21, 2007 7:53 pm

    Cornflakes!? You overestimate my vapidity. Oatmeal is as bland as I get.

    I like Tabasco on almost everything–especially green Tabasco–but alas, I don’t like milk, but I’ll drink chocolate milk.

    Once when I was in a diner in Utah I asked for Bosco with milk. The waitress wasn’t a Bosco generation girl, and she brought Tabasco (“Tabosco?”) and milk! She thought I meant Tabasco. I asked her how many people put Tabasco in their milk. She said she’d heard of it, but I think she was trying not to embarrass herself or me.

    Did you know that Nixon used to put ketchup on cottage cheese? I find both revolting. All three, if you count Nixon.

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