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Stress and Male Hormones

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>> Hi, glad to see you're back for some more fun. In this lecture, we're going to review the impacts of stress specifically as they affect the male reproductive system, and then I'm going to teach you all about my top strategy for helping my male patients chill out. The impacts of stress on male hormone production are very similar to the events that occur in women but in a much simpler form. But before we dive into gonads, we need to understand the function of glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are corticosteroids that are produced by the adrenals in response to an emotional and/or physical stressor. One of the best known and most important of these is cortisol. During times of stress, glucocorticoids are released and activate the fight, flight, or freeze response mechanism. Let's do a quick review here. Let's say you're hiking in the woods one day and suddenly go face to face with a bear. The alert systems activate in your brain, stimulate the adrenals to release stress hormones. When you're face to face with that bear, the last thing on your mind is eating, pooping or peeing, and you could forget about having sex, that's what stress hormones do. They stop the rest and digest functions of your body so it can focus on survival. And when you're in survival mode, other systems are suppressed like your immune system. This is all fine and dandy in the acute stressful situations like running away from a bear. But what about everyday stressors, especially in a world where we're more busier than ever and multitasking is a must? Long-term stressors even long after being removed can have detrimental effects on the male reproductive system at any level, from the hypothalamus down to the testicles. I know you learned all about how stress affects the body and that you've already learned about HPA axis dysfunction so we can skip over that part of the lesson. But let's take a look at a few ways how stress can affect men's hormones and reproductive health in particular. First, the release of cortisol negatively impacts the male reproductive hormones. When cortisol is produced in response to a stressor, it tells the pituitary and hypothalamus to stop secreting gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This in turn will influence a decrease in production of FSH and LH. If you recall from my previous lecture, FSH and LH are crucial for the synthesis of testosterone and sperm production. Glucocorticoids also impact libido. Yikes! Another impact that stress has on male hormone reproductive health is its negative impact on pregnenolone. Remember from previous lectures that pregnenolone is the precursor from cholesterol that's needed for the synthesis of sex hormones. During times of chronic stress, cortisol steals pregnenolone from cholesterol to make more cortisol which means less is available to make sex hormones, naturally so because if your body is in survival mode, having a child is not part of the agenda. The results, less circulating testosterone and decreased production of sperm. In the last lecture, we discussed the topic of andropause. It would make sense that under chronic states of stress, testosterone levels diminish, impacting sexual health and function, musculoskeletal health, cognitive function, and bone density. It's particularly interesting to know that testosterone impacts dopamine receptors in the brain which aids in sexual excitability. Glucocorticoids play an important role in the regulation of spermatogenesis and release of testosterone. Both acute and chronic stress have been shown to inhibit T secretion, decrease sperm production, and lower libido. Since, as I said earlier, glucocorticoids impact everything from the hypothalamus down to the testes. Stress also negatively impacts the function of the thyroid. As you may recall from previous lectures, the thyroid gland plays a role in your body's metabolism and impacts all neurotransmitter receptors in the body. Thyroid hormones affect every cell in your body including the reproductive system. Although more research is warranted, there seems to be correlating findings that indicate a connection between hypothyroidism and low libido. As you can see, stress negatively impacts reproductive health, not to mention the other cascade of events that occur with the immune and nervous systems. Since we're discussing interplay of systems impacting health, it's important to mention comorbidities that impact testosterone levels. Risk factors such as obesity, coronary artery disease, and diabetes have all been said to decrease endogenous testosterone levels. But there's no conclusive evidence that states low T is the cause of any of these comorbidities. What's important to remember from this lecture is that multiple systems impact reproductive health and sexual function. Lifestyle and diet modifications can certainly go a long way in improving not only testosterone production but also overall health and wellbeing. I know this course offers a ton of information about nutrition and supplements that both men and women can use to balance their hormones. But since we're talking about stress, I wanted to use this opportunity to share with you about one of the most powerful tools I use with my male patients to help them mellow out. So now we're going to totally shift gears to talk about strategies to cultivate a peaceful mind through the power of mindful meditation because I can't just tell you about all of these awful effects of stress without offering a solution, right? I treat many male patients who have type A personalities, guys who are always busy and truly exhaust their reserves. It's like they're driving in a car with the gas tank on E, that light keeps flashing but they're not paying attention. Then suddenly the car stops in the middle of the highway and forces them to pay attention. You may have male clients who resists the suggestion, but meditation has countless benefits like improved blood pressure, lowered blood sugar, improved memory, help with sleep, and of course it can help enhance libido. So try to win them over with these points and how the benefits can move them toward their goals. Besides all the physiological side effects that meditation creates, it's not just a method to calm your mind, it's a tool used for transformation. So when you're coaching your clients, it's important that they know they're not just meditating to become a Zen Buddha. They need to know that meditation is a tool they can use to help them change from the inside out. So where does your happiness come from? A lot of our happiness is seen as dependent on external conditions or variables. For example, have you ever thought about something and said to yourself, "Man, I'm going to be pretty miserable if so and so does this or that"? We've all been there. And many of my patients are still in it, chasing and working really hard to line up all of their ducks in a row. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put in the countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears into making things line up just right? Well, because we all want the same thing. We all want to be happy and free from mental discomfort. So it's only natural for us to place the existence of our happiness on external conditions. There might be short periods of happiness when things do go your way, but how long does that really last? It's like remodeling a house. Initially, you have all this new and shiny stuff, but after a while, your mind gets bored and starts looking to change things around. The mind is like a balloon in the wind, always changing based on what's going on on the outside. If we get what we want, we're holding onto it for dear life and worried about losing it. Or if we don't get what we want, we're trying really hard to avoid it or change it around somehow which just creates more stress in our lives. So the question remains, how can you help your clients stop stressing out and live their lives day to day with peace and contentment? It's easy, just practice meditation. This flies in the face of what many men have been culturally conditioned to do, which is to try harder, push harder, and go for the goal. Meditation allows us to get some space in our minds and control what's going on on the inside so that we can be okay regardless of what's going on on the outside. It's about finding balance between feeling absolutely terrible and feeling freaking great because most of the time we find ourselves at either end of the two extremes. The secret to true transformation is realizing that happiness, which, by the way, isn't mental excitement, it's a state of mind that is peaceful and content no matter what's going on on the outside. By cultivating a peaceful mind, you're working on strengthening the tone of your vagus nerve. Yes, nerves have a certain tone to them as well. Often referred to as the wandering nerve, the vagus nerve originates in the medulla, the last part of the brain stem, and travels through the body to communicate to various organs including the liver, heart, lungs, stomach, and intestines. The vagus nerve regulates the rest and digest nervous system. Think of this nerve as your phone charger, tapping into and stimulating this nerve will recharge your battery and help restore, repair, and recreate homeostasis in the body. So how do you teach your clients to meditate? I'm sure you've heard and maybe even yourself say, "Oh, I've never been able to meditate." For whatever excuse, whether that be not have enough time, your mind's too busy, you can't sit still, I've heard it all. What I encourage you to do when coaching your clients is to make it personal for them. Ask them their why, "Why do you want to reduce your stress? Is it to lower your blood pressure, get better sleep, stop feeling sick all the time?" Everyone's got their why. We just have to ask. After exploring the motivation behind why they want to change, the next step is to put it into practice. It's like learning to ride a bike for the first time. You don't learn it perfectly the first ride you take, right? No, you fall off a couple hundred times, maybe you start learning on a bike with training wheels, people help you with tips and tricks, you get the gist. Learning to cultivate a peaceful mind in a world that never sleeps takes practice, patience, and persistence. So be realistic when you're coaching your clients. Let them know that it's okay to take baby steps. They don't have to get it right away or do it perfectly because you're still planting seeds along the way. This can be a difficult concept for your type A male achievers to accept. There are two kinds of meditation, the first one is called an analytical meditation and the second is called placement meditation. Analytical meditation is used to intuitively ponder a specific instruction in order to reach a conclusion or feeling. For example, you're coaching a client who feels stuck in making a decision about his or her life so you might want to guide them in a meditation aimed through reflecting on this decision so that they can intuitively come to a conclusion or some kind of inner feeling that will help them cultivate an answer, not from you but an answer that comes from them. We all know that the best transformation has to come from within, so helping your coaching clients cultivate trust in their own intuition by quieting their mind and eventually mixing their mind with something peaceful about that decision. Placement meditation is about focusing on an object, whether that's your breath or a feeling like love, patience, compassion, or empathy. The goal is to keep this feeling or intention set for oneself throughout the day. This type of meditation actually sets the mood for your day. Both analytical and placement meditation feed off of each other. You have to come to a conclusion or a decision about something before you can mesh it with your mind in your daily activities. It's like waking up in the morning dreading to start your day for whatever reason. It kind of puts you in a bad mood and sets the tone for the rest of the day, doesn't it? Things just don't go your way, but if you shift your focus and create a mindset opposite of what you expect, you'd be surprised how much calmer and happier your day actually is despite the circumstances or conditions you're in. Again, this takes practice. You just don't go to the gym for two days and expect to be a bodybuilder, right? Same goes for you strengthening your mindfulness muscle. So how do you guide your client to meditation? The best way to learn how to guide your coaching clients into meditation is to experience and practice it for yourself. Start off with a simple breathing meditation. This is what most of us are used to doing when we think about mainstream meditation. It's a way to settle the mind so that you can fully concentrate on the actual meditation practice. Despite what mainstream meditation practices say, when you meditate, you really don't want to check out of your mind. If you totally zone out or fall asleep, you don't really reap the benefits of meditating which then makes transformation and change difficult to attain. So what you want to do is be present with your mental activity of your current state of mind but try not to react to it. Distractions are normal, just don't pay attention to them. As you guide yourself through a breathing meditation, and I recommend doing this for 10 minutes, you'll want to relax into your body, finding a comfortable and relaxed seated position, whether that's cross-legged or sitting in a chair. I want you to actually do this exercise with me now. So if you need to, pause the video here for a moment to get situated in a quiet and comfortable spot. Then hit the play button and I'll wait here for you. Okay, now take a few deep breaths in and out. Allow your mind to settle in and your body to relax. Gently raise the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Feel your spine lengthen but keep the back relaxed. Feel the muscles of your face soften and get heavy. Bring your attention to your shoulders. Do they feel tense? Can you let go so they effortlessly drape over your back? Go ahead and scan the rest of your body, just noticing the tension that you feel. You're not trying to change anything. You're just observing the sensations in your body without effort. Now focus your attention on your breath. As you exhale, visualize any distractions, worry, thoughts about your day, thoughts about the future or the past, or any feelings of physical discomfort. Leave your body as a dark black cloud of smoke. Watch it dissolve in the air with every exhalation. And as you do, you find yourself feeling more relaxed and your mind calmer. Stay with this feeling for a couple of minutes. Now bring your attention back inside, focusing your attention on your inhalation and exhalation. If you find your mind has wandered, gently bring it back, continuing with focusing your mind on every inhalation and exhalation. Stay with this mindful attention for a little while. And when you're ready, you can slowly start to relax your concentration on your breathing. Keep with you the state of peacefulness and calm throughout your day. So how did it go? Don't you feel super light, clear, and more peaceful? Stress reduction is much easier from this place rather than trying to force it from an intense state. With the mind less cluttered, you're in a better place to make a determination, a determination that will help you create the transformation in your life that you're craving to make. And now you can do the same with your coaching clients both male and female. I hope you enjoyed this lecture and found it to be both informative and relaxing. Now you know how stress can impact your male clients and their reproductive health, plus you have a powerful tool to teach them to help kick stress to the curb. Up next, we'll talk about six ways to boost your male clients' testosterone levels. Can you guess what one of them is? Hint, hint, you've already done it. All right, I'll see you soon.

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Duration: 19 minutes and 21 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on Mar 31, 2018

Stress and Male Hormones

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