Stress has become a common companion for a large number of people around the world. This is why many of them seek natural methods to lower cortisol levels. This is because its excess in the body leads to negative consequences.
Many products claim to lower cortisol (medication, commercial products) but they’re not backed by scientific evidence. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent stress.
Some facts about cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and its function is to prepare the body for situations of danger or threat. It’s part of the human survival instinct. Thus, it generates positive effects, in principle.
It’s due to this substance that we become active and can focus physically and mentally on our daily tasks. It helps us adapt to changes and contributes to regulating our blood pressure and adrenaline levels. Also, it stimulates proper digestion, insulin control, and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
As you can see, the problem isn’t in the hormone itself, but its excessive secretion during a long period of time. This is exactly what stress does. It’s a state of continuous anxiety with many consequences for our bodies.
So how do we keep cortisol at bay?
3 Ways to Lower Cortisol Levels
We’d like to share three recommendations to lower cortisol levels. They’re based on healthy daily habits and are free of charge. All we need is to refine our organizational skills. As you can see, these are the most natural ways to reduce the harmful effects of this hormone.
Check them out!
1. Eat a proper, balanced diet to lower cortisol
Diet is one of the most suitable means of lowering cortisol. Just as some types of food increase nervousness or stress, some cause the opposite effect.
Thus, the most common recommendations are:
- First, eliminate or minimize caffeine. This substance increases cortisol levels. Also, note that it isn’t only present in coffee, but also tea and cocoa.
- Secondly, avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. There’s scientific evidence that these products are associated with various mental disorders.
- Always maintain adequate hydration. Dehydration increases body tension and leads to causes stress and, therefore, raises the level of cortisol.
- Eat foods rich in phenylalanine. This substance is present in various types of food that are high in protein such as red meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and some whole grains. They promote the secretion of dopamine, which reduces the desire for sugar and carbs.
- Finally, increase your consumption of other wholesome types of food rich in vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids. Consult your doctor for advice on how to properly use artificial dietary supplements.
2. Sleep, relaxation, and exercise
Physical activity and rest can lower cortisol levels. A healthy lifestyle supposes an adequate balance between movement and rest. Thus, the recommendations are simple and mainly about common sense:
- Practice healthy sleep hygiene. Poor sleep affects your physical and mental health, and an increase in cortisol is one of the effects.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases dopamine and serotonin into the brain and this helps lower cortisol. A daily half an hour walk is enough.
- Practice relaxation techniques. These are ideal ways to reduce stress levels. You might like to try deep breathing, tai chi, and transcendental meditation.
3. Organize and regulate activities and your mind
You may not know, is but one of the main causes of stress is poor organization. Ideally, a person should be able to perform their daily activities and have enough time for breaks and proper rest.
Bad relationships with others are another common source of stress. Frequent conflict or continuous friction causes tensions that affect mood. Thus, it’s always best to search and find ways to solve these problems. Just get away from them if you can’t resolve them – even this is enough.
There are times when stress has no definite cause. It may appear before seemingly small or irrelevant difficulties. Therefore, it may be the cause is deeper and derives from experiences you’re yet to assimilate. The best course of action if this is the case is to seek psychological help.
Stress isn’t healthy
Finally, elevated cortisol can deeply impact your quality of life. This is because it has a negative effect on your rest, mood, and personal performance. Thus, it’s important to lower it and the best way to do so is by adopting healthy habits in your diet and daily routine.
Also, try to put into practice the recommendations we provided above. Begin little by little, so as not to become frustrated by high expectations you may not be able to achieve. Thus, keep in mind that every step counts and brings you closer to attaining balance.