Get Your Cortisol (Stress Hormone) Levels Under Control
Do you find yourself overly stressed and tired despite not changing your diet and workout routine? Your cortisol (the stress hormone) levels may be too high.
Chronic stress can lead to an raised cortisol level resulting in mental, emotional, and other physical health issues. Cortisol is a major stress hormone contributing to mental health disorders. Let’s learn some of the common symptoms of high cortisol levels.
If you are worried that stress is affecting your daily life and possibly damaging your physical health here are a few ways to decrease cortisol naturally.
Reducing Cortisol with Food
You can naturally reduce the Cortisol level by consuming healthy diet based on whole and unprocessed foods. Ensure to include these foods to nourish your brain and reduce Cortisol levels:
- Black tea
- Dark Chocolate
- Green tea
- Olive oil
Lastly, be pretty sure to drink plenty of water and other liquids. Being dehydrated is one of the reason to increase Cortisol level.
Reducing Cortisol with Physical Exercise
A daily workout or physical exercise is a very well-known brain enhancer as it helps you relax more easily by reducing Cortisol.
At the same time, you don’t need to be a gym rat. Too much exercise actually increases the Cortisol. 20-30 minutes of light aerobic activity like walking or biking is always a good option. Exercises like Yoga and Tai chi are also excellent ways for reducing stress level.
Reducing Cortisol with Sleep
It’s a known fact that Cortisol levels gradually decreases during sleep. Not getting enough sleeping hours doesn;t make you feel lousy, but it also keeps the Cortisol level high. Sleeping six hours or less per night can significantly increase stress hormones by as much as 80%. That’s the reason working late nights or working in the night shift is a disaster for your health in many ways.
A power nap (a 20 minutes) not only blasts the Cortisol but also keeps your mood and energy high all day long.
Reducing Cortisol with Good/Positive Thoughts
Your own mental chatter is one of the most insidious source of stress. In fact the negative impact of the stress is not due to the events in your life but is more affected by the negative thoughts and negative reactions about these events.
“The average brain has 50,000 thoughts every day and, for most people, 70% of them are negative.” – Psychology Today
Meditation is one of the best way to get control of your thoughts. Over 18,000 studies suggest the use of meditation as one of the best habits improving mental health. Because meditation decreases the Cortisol level while increasing the feel good brain chemicals like serotonin, GABA, and endorphins.
Even multitasking makes you actually stressful and less productive. So stop being multitasking rather start focusing on doing one thing at a time.
Reducing Cortisol with Deep Breathing
Have you ever noticed under stress your chest gets tight and breathing becomes fast and shallow? These are the part of stress response. You can reduce the stress levels by breathing from your diaphragm.
A few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing will drastically reduce the cortisol level to induce the state of calm. Focus on keeping your chest still while expanding your stomach.
“Breath in and allow your ribs to expand into your hands. Breath out and allow your rib cage to sink inward and downward.” – The Washington Post
The other ways…
Be social and meet people. The more friends you can count on, the lower your cortisol levels will be! We all know that laughter reduces the stress and cortisol. Spend time with friends, family and pets.
The bottom line is you can always control your cortisol level with a healthy lifestyle adjustments. So engage in activities like art, music and other creative hobbies, that actually make you happy. Give yourself permission to have fun!