7 Ways to Lower Cortisol
Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” is one of the most powerful hormones in the body, and it has a very important job to do. This hormone helps your body deal with stressful situations and is responsible for the “fight or flight” system to respond to stress. The goal is ultimately to lower your cortisol.
The short-term cortisol release actually has some pretty impressive physical benefits. For example, if your life is in danger, you may find that cortisol can help you run fast from danger or experience bursts of strength or energy to get out of the situation.
However, if you are releasing too much cortisol especially over a longer period of time it can lead to some side effects and serious health issues. Common health side effects can lead to health issues like weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease, mood swings, fatigue and more.
Moderate to high levels of cortisol can also make it difficult to concentrate or impair the immune system. In some very rare cases, high cortisol levels can lead to Cushing’s syndrome.
So, what can you do naturally to lower your cortisol levels and make sure that you are maintaining healthy hormone levels? Here are seven proven, easy ways to lower your lower cortisol before it can impact your health and overall quality of life.
Start Getting More Sleep
This can be a difficult one for many busy individuals, but a lack of sleep can have a direct impact on your cortisol levels. Studies have shown that those with insomnia, poor sleep patterns and obstructive sleep apnea tend to have higher levels of cortisol.
Prioritizing getting more sleep is essential, but you should also make sure that you are doing things to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. This includes having a set bedtime routine, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake and keeping blue light exposure to a limit before bed.
These are all proven strategies that will help you get a better quality of sleep at night so your body has the opportunity to rest, reset and keep your cortisol levels down.
Stop and Breathe to Lower Cortisol
Learning how to stop and take a Deep Breath whenever you feel stress coming on. Breathing is a simple and proven tactic that can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Much like mindfulness-based practices such as meditation, deep breathing will help you rest and digest to lower cortisol levels.
Research shows a decrease in cortisol after participants incorporate deep breathing into their routines experience lower cortisol levels.
Let Loose and Have a Little Fun
Any easy (and fun) way to lower your cortisol levels? Relax, let loose and laugh a little bit! The old adage that laughter really is the best medicine holds true. It can help boost the mood, reduce stress and lower stress levels. It can also lower feelings of perceived pain.
Research also shows that laughter can help release endorphins and suppress stress hormones including cortisol.
Adopt a Furry Friend
Pets are wonderful companions that can provide a great deal of love and affection to their owners. People with dogs are actually shown to live longer and have a better quality of life. Pets can also help reduce stress.
In fact, there have been several studies on the cortisol-reducing impact of pet ownership when compared to those who don’t have dogs. This is one of the many reasons that people use dogs as emotional support animals—they can have a truly powerful impact on the mind and mood.
Eat a Better Diet
Let’s face it, there are many people today who could benefit from a Better Diet . A nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy and prevent a number of serious health issues. Your diet can also positively (or negatively) impact cortisol levels.
Eating a diet filled with high added-sugars can actually elevate cortisol levels and can also suppress cortisol release during stressful situations. This means in moments of stress it can be much more difficult for your body to handle that stress.
Try to eat a diet rich in leafy greens and vegetables and avoid as much processed sugar as possible.
Add Vitamins and Plenty of Water
In addition to eating a veggie-friendly diet, you should also consider drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. Dehydration has been linked to a temporary increase in cortisol levels. This means it is important to drink water throughout the day.
Plus, there are a number of other health benefits that come with drinking enough water every day.
Introduce Supplements to Your Routine
Supplements are an easy and natural way to help with your cortisol levels. Green tea is a popular supplement that brings a sense of calm to the body, can reduce stress and increase mental alertness, which can in turn help with your cortisol levels.
Fish oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that reduces cortisol. Ashwagandha is another popular supplement that can help treat anxiety and help people adapt to stress.
Getting control of your cortisol can help you look and feel better while your body starts responding better to stress. These safe and natural approaches to managing your cortisol can make all of the difference in your hormone levels, and come with some other great health benefits as well!