Wednesday, March 15, 2023

How To Lower Stress Hormones

Use Stress Management Techniques

How To Reduce Stress & Balance Hormones

There are several techniques you can use to relax your mind.

  • Try meditation. This will soothe your mind, calm you down, and increase the flow of blood.
  • Try deep breaths. This will help to increase the amount of oxygen in your brain and, in turn, calm you down. Breathe in deeply using your nose and out with the mouth.
  • You can also try yoga, listening to soothing music, or massage therapy.

Most of these techniques take a few minutes, but their benefits last longer. Also, note that relaxation can be difficult at first, but with time, you will learn the practice.

Proven Ways To Lower Cortisol Naturally

  • The best ways to lower cortisol include practicing relaxation techniques, improving your diet, getting enough sleep, and caring for a pet.
  • You can also relieve stress by dedicating time to activities that promote happiness, such as building a social support network, spending time outside, exercising, or trying to make yourself laugh.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Sarah C. McEwen, PhD, Director of Research and Programming for Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and Associate Professor of Translational Neurosciences and Neurotherapeutics at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone, often called the stress hormone, that plays a key role in your body’s stress response. It is also known as the “fight or flight” hormone, helping you manage stressful or dangerous situations.

When your brain perceives a threat, like a car suddenly stopping in front of you on the freeway or an unexpected noise in your house, it sends a signal to your adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones including cortisol and adrenaline to tell you to escape or prepare for conflict. This release of hormones can cause your heart rate to increase, your breathing to quicken, and your muscles to tense.

Finding healthy ways to deal with stress can help lower cortisol levels and regulate your body’s stress response. Here’s five ways to do it.

How Our Stress Hormones Work

Why do we tend to grab our mobile phones when we see texts from our bosses late at night? We react to them like frightened mice because of our stress hormones.

Our sympathetic nervous system activates when it detects a stress trigger like this. It comprises adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone which guides our reactions when we sense stress. When activated, it builds tension in our muscles. We sweat, and our hearts begin to pound.

Then, theres norepinephrine. Like adrenaline, it originates in the brain and the adrenal glands. It maintains our alertness when there is a stressor. How long it takes to return to a resting state depends on the stressors strength. The final hormone that raises our stress levels is cortisol. It has earned the name stress hormone because activating it requires a multi-step process.

So, how does it work? The amygdala in the brain first recognizes a threat. It then sends a message to another part of the brain, the hypothalamus, which releases the hormone CRH. This hormone, in turn, tells the pituitary gland to release cortisol. As you can see, knowing about the process is stressful already.

Also Check: How To De Stress And Reduce Anxiety

How Does It Work

Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland — both located in your brain — can sense if your blood contains the right level of cortisol. If the level is too low, your brain adjusts the amount of hormones it makes. Your adrenal glands pick up on these signals. Then, they fine-tune the amount of cortisol they release.

Cortisol receptors — which are in most cells in your body — receive and use the hormone in different ways. Your needs will differ from day to day. For instance, when your body is on high alert, cortisol can alter or shut down functions that get in the way. These might include your digestive or reproductive systems, your immune system, or even your growth processes.

Sometimes, your cortisol levels can get out of whack.

Avoid Caffeinated Drinks At Night

How to reduce stress hormones

Consuming caffeine in the evenings can interfere with your sleep quality. When you dont get enough sleep, your cortisol levels increase. Caffeine also increases cortisol secretion and increased blood pressure.

Additionally, consuming too much caffeine can cause adrenal fatigue, which is when your hormone levels are severely off-balance. Adrenal fatigue causes you to become extremely tired, and more caffeine will make it worse.

Also Check: Can Stress Cause Pink Eye

Dark Chocolate Offers An Antioxidant

Dark chocolate in the diet can reduce stress in two ways via its chemical impact and its emotional impact. Chocolate feels like such an indulgence that it can be a real treat to simply savor a piece of it, and that feeling alone can help to reduce stress, says Meyerowitz.

Dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants, may also help reduce stress by lowering levels of stress hormones in the body, according to a study that followed participants who ate about 1.5 ounces per day for two weeks. But be sure to enjoy dark chocolate in moderation, advises Meyerowitz. That means you should aim to eat only one-fourth of a small dark chocolate bar . Also, make sure the bar doesnt contain an unnecessary surplus of added sugar, says Figueroa.

Its also important to choose high-quality dark chocolate, she says. You may have heard about the bean-to-bar movement, which focuses on high-quality ingredients and in-house responsibility for every aspect of the chocolate making process. This farm-to-table approach ensures the bar is packed with pure components and no hidden additives or chemicals. Look on the label for two or three ingredients only, such as cacao beans, cane sugar, and cocoa butter.

Effective Ways To Control Stress Hormones

If you have been experiencing feelings of anxiety or negative mood swings, then you might be struggling with stress. Stress is the way your body responds to threats or demands. There are three types of stress hormones that your body releases, namely adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine.

Let our experts guide you about the long-term stress-relief strategies- Click below.

Read Also: How To Relieve Anger And Stress Quickly

What Happens When You Have High Cortisol Levels

Constantly high cortisol levels can cause a whole host of malfunctions and dysregulation in the body. You might have heard of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or HPA axis this team of glands controls the release of cortisol, along with a few other hormones. When the demand for cortisol remains high and the body is not able to keep up with production, the HPA axis becomes dysregulated.

From there, many symptoms can start to manifest, including:

Unless you are providing an abundance of nutrients and rest for your body while in a constant high stress lifestyle, your adrenals will burn out from constantly churning out cortisol, and then youll underproduce cortisol. This is what people refer to when they talk about adrenal fatigue.

Why Too Much Cortisol Can Be Dangerous

How To Lower Your Stress Hormones Naturally

You wont need persuasion that our stress hormones are not our best friends. Scientists have long realized that cortisol causes weight gain, decreased immune system function, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

Too much cortisol triggers depression and weakens our mental health. Canadian biochemist Hans Selye of McGill University is renowned for his discovery of two types of stress eustress, which is beneficial, and distress, which compromises our well-being.

Distress, of course, is harmful. It is the unwanted pressure that we face when we have unmanageable deadlines or relationships. Eustress, on the other hand, is healthy. It happens when we engage in activities that we enjoy, although these may take up our attention. Eustress increases our focus and motivation to complete tasks.

Both these types of stress release cortisol. While it keeps us alert, we have to release it from the body. Too much of it causes chaos. We will suffer from panic attacks because of our flight or fight responses backfire.

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Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Every dietitian we spoke with mentioned the positive impact an adequate night’s sleep can have on one’s cortisol levels. Cortisol rises and falls based on our sleep cycles: it’s highest just after we wake up and lowest right before we hit the hay. So, it’s no surprise that sleep and cortisol levels are so heavily interconnected.

“Due to cortisol levels being linked to circadian rhythm, making sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help keep cortisol levels normal,” explains White. “This can also help keep the fat off.” According to Wake Forest researchers, people who sleep five hours or less put on two and a half times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on slightly less than that.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep

Poor sleep habits are guaranteed to make your stress hormones go berserk. Just a couple nights of poor sleep can raise your cortisol levels , so imagine what youre doing to your body when youre constantly going to bed too late and denying your body time to rest!

Make sure you give yourself 7-9 hours of time to sleep every night .

Read Also: How To Combat Stress And Anxiety

Cortisol And Stress: The Basics

Cortisol is one of several hormones the body produces naturally. Cortisol levels do go up when youre stressed. But it doesnt deserve its bad rap.

Cortisol supports overall health, Dr. Lin says. It helps us wake up, gives us energy during the day and lowers at night to help us sleep and rest.

The problem arises when chronic stress keeps cortisol levels high for the long haul. High cortisol levels over weeks or months can lead to inflammation and a host of mental and physical health problems, from anxiety to weight gain to heart disease.

How To Lower Cortisol With Deep Breathing

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When youre under stress, your chest gets tight and your breathing becomes fast and shallow.

These are automatic reactions that are part of the stress response.

Unfortunately, this unnatural breathing patterns has now become normal for most adults.

You can learn to minimize your physical reaction to stress by consciously breathing from your diaphragm.

A few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing will lower levels of cortisol and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to induce a state of calm.

To breathe from your diaphragm, focus on keeping your chest still while expanding your stomach.

You can place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach to monitor your breaths.

Read Also: Can Stress Cause Lower Back Pain

Here Is Whats Actually Going On Inside Your Body

When in a constant state of stress, our adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenaline, or stress hormones.These hormones are actually important for your health but too much can cause high blood sugar, weight gain, systemic inflammation, negatively affect your metabolism and a lack of memory.

The biochemical response

This biochemical stress response is your bodys natural response to fight or flight, which we need to survive. The issue is that we have been under stress and duress for the past year or more. Since we have been so stressed, your body has never come down from the fight or flight and the constant state of heightened hormones can cause heart disease, stroke, obesity, anxiety, and depression.

What You Need To Know About Hair Loss

If your condition is not due to a hormonal imbalance, your doctor may recommend treatment that includes topical corticosteroids. Topical corticosteroids may lead to red or puffy face and can reduce your immune systems ability to fight infection. In some cases, fungal infections, such as tinea capitis, can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, you can take antifungal medications to treat it and get a full head of hair again.

Hair loss is a normal part of aging, and there is no need to worry. In fact, it is perfectly normal for most people to lose a bit of hair every day, and it will grow back eventually. Some men and women experience hair loss as they age, while others simply have a genetic predisposition to the problem. If youre experiencing a lack of hair, you may have a weakened immune system, which can lead to hair loss.

For more severe cases of hair loss, a dermatologist may recommend a hair transplant. This procedure involves a surgeon removing plugs of hair from your scalp. It may take several hours and multiple sessions to complete the process. Its an invasive treatment, and may not be the best option for everyone. Your doctor will need to examine your scalp to determine the cause of your condition. In addition to a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking supplements of various vitamins and minerals.

Also Check: How To Prevent Hair Loss From Stress

How To Reduce Stress Hormones

Want to learn how to reduce stress hormones? Youre in the right place. Reducing chronically high stress hormones is sort of my lifes mission.

Stress is, well, stressful. Sometimes we even get stressed out about how much stress were under!

But you dont want to get caught up in that vicious cycle. Trust me.

Stress reduction shouldnt be stressful!

Lets talk about stress, what it is, and how to reduce stress hormones so we can enjoy more vibrant health.

Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It

How to Reduce Cortisol Naturally (Stress Hormone)

Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.

The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.


StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.

Mind Infoline

Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .

Rethink Advice and Information Service

Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .


Specialist mental health services

Also Check: Is There Medication For Stress

Stress Hormones: How Diet Affects Hormonal Balance

By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN

Stress is a major issue literally everyone deals with in way or another, and chronic stress is a problem like never before. Thats why its so vital to keep your stress hormones in check.

In a podcast episode with Dr. Anna Cabeca, DO, FACOG, I talked with the board-certified gynecologist and obstetrician, hormonal health expert, and best-selling author of books like The Hormone Fix and Keto Green 16 about some of the major stress hormones and how to eat to beat stress.

Can Stress Be Positive

Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.

Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4

Read Also: What Medication Can You Take For Stress

What Are 5 Emotional Signs Of Stress

What are the warning signs and symptoms of emotional stress? Heaviness in your chest, increased heart rate or chest pain. Shoulder, neck or back pain general body aches and pains. Headaches. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. Shortness of breath. Dizziness. Feeling tired, anxious, depressed.

Ways To Beat Your Stress Hormone

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Poor cortisol: It means well but just doesn’t know when to quit. Produced by your adrenal glands, this “stress hormone” helps regulate blood pressure and the immune system during a sudden crisis, whether a physical attack or an emotional setback. This helps you to tap into your energy reserves and increases your ability to fight off infection.

Trouble is, relentless stress can keep this survival mechanism churning in high gear, subverting the hormone’s good intentions. Chronically high cortisol levels can cause sleep problems, a depressed immune response, blood sugar abnormalities, and even abdominal weight gain. “When cortisol spikes, it tells the body to eat something with a lot of caloriesa great survival tactic if you need energy to flee a predator but not if you’re fretting over how to pay bills,” says nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection.

Fortunately, an antidote to the body’s fight-or-flight mode has evolved: the relaxation response. Here are eight surprising ways to invoke stress managementand in some cases, cut your cortisol levels almost in half.

To Cut Cortisol 20%…Say “Om”People who practiced Buddhist meditation significantly decreased both cortisol and blood pressure in a 6-week Thai study. Similarly, participants who meditated daily for four months decreased the hormone by an average of 20% in a study at Maharishi University, while levels in the nonmeditating control group actually went up slightly.

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What Are Stress Hormones

When we talk about stress hormones, cortisol typical tops the list, and for good reason. It is called the primary stress hormone, after all.

Its released when were under pressure and triggers the fight or flight survival response.

However, cortisol isnt the only stress hormone, and truthfully, it may not even be the most important of the stress hormones.

That title could just as easily be reserved for insulin. While most people think of diabetes when discussing this hormone, insulin is related to weight gain, PCOS, low testosterone and, of course, blood sugar levels.

In addition, insulin can affect almost every hormone in the body and certainly has a major impact on stress.

I always say oxytocin is the master hormone, Dr. Cabeca says. If you would consider oxytocin the dean of the university, the professors would be insulin and cortisol, and the student body is the rest of the hormones.

Other stress hormones besides cortisol and insulin include:

  • Adrenaline

Related: Natural Ways to Relieve Stress, According to a Leading Integrative MD

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