Cortisol is the body's primary stress hormone. It plays a significant role in many bodily functions, including how it controls our blood sugar levels. It usually starts higher in the morning and then gradually decreases as the day goes on.
Cortisol can also play a role in regulating the body's sleep and wake cycles. It can also manage how the body utilizes nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, helps to reduce inflammation, and plays a role in controlling blood pressure.
When we are overloaded with stress, our bodies may need additional help to lower cortisol. These are some practical ways to lower cortisol levels and, therefore, lower stress.
Lower tension. While it may be easier said than done, taking intentional steps to cut excessive tension from your life will only benefit you in the long run. Learn what your stress triggers are, and work to make a plan of action to adjust these situations in your life. We can't alleviate stress completely, but we can learn to better deal with it as it comes.
Eat a balanced diet. We should always be focused on eating a healthy and balanced diet low in sugar, but there are additional foods you can focus on that have been shown to stabilize cortisol levels. These are foods like dark chocolate, pears, green tea, and foods that contain probiotics, like unflavored whole milk kefir. Staying well hydrated also keeps cortisol levels in check.
Get some rest. Creating a nighttime routine that focuses on quality sleep is essential for keeping cortisol levels from spiking. Lack of sleep or prolonged periods of disrupted sleep can lead to increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Try creating a relaxing atmosphere free of electronics.
Try meditating. Any type of mindfulness, meditation, or even deep breathing can help reduce stress, which reduces cortisol. I find using the "Calm" app nightly is a game changer for me!
Exercise more. Learning which exercises to try can be important. Intense workouts can lead to a spike in cortisol. But things like walking, a leisurely swim, or yoga can help to stabilize them.
Use supplements. Both fish oil and Ashwagandha have been known to lower cortisol levels but should always be taken in addition to a well-balanced diet. Consult your medical professional before beginning any new supplements.
Great relationships can also be a key to lowering cortisol levels, as they can induce feelings of safety and happiness. For example, adding a pet to the family is also great. Finding a hobby that your pet can be a part of can be a great way to elevate feelings of happiness and reduce stress.
The first step to creating a balanced and healthy body is to be aware of how your body is currently operating. We must be able to observe areas we may struggle with increased stress. If we can do this, we can better pinpoint ways to improve our situation. Adding in just one or two of these practices to our day can significantly reduce stress, which leads to lower and healthier cortisol levels.
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