Scale Down The Stress Levels
Stress management is the other half of the equation when solving the question of how to lower cortisol naturally for optimal wellness. It can be as simple as spending time in nature or reading a book to lower stress.
For the most part, science recommends mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques like progressive muscle relaxation â tensing and relaxing specific muscle groups â and diaphragmatic breathing, which features deep breathing exercises.
You may also wish to try mind-body interventions like tai chi and qigong to promote relaxation and lessen tension. A 2018 systematic review also advocates for regular physical activity against stress. According to the review, staying fit means youâre more likely to reduce your cortisol and heart rate reactivity. You will also experience less anxiety, more calmness, and a better mood. Not to mention, exercising has the added bonus of encouraging weight loss, which, for the overweight, can aid with getting sufficient sleep. Just make sure you donât work out right before you sleep.
Other stress-reduction techniques you may wish to try:
No matter which stress reduction tactics you choose, itâs imperative that you prioritize them in the latter half of the day. Perhaps you can fit in a workout session before dinner and segue into your evening wind-down afterward. Because everyoneâs wind-down routine looks different, the Evening routineâ habit in the RISE app lets you build it the way you want.
Exercise The Right Way
You already know that exercise is great at decreasing cortisol youre all too familiar with that feeling after a really good yoga class or an outdoor jog. However, exercise that is too intense can actually temporarily increase cortisol. While this isnt a big deal because it decreases in the long-term, if youre having symptoms related to high levels of cortisol, you might want to decrease the high intensity workouts. A good rule of thumb should be that you should leave your workout feeling refreshed, energized, and happy if youre feeling depleted or exhausted, youre doing your body more harm than good.
Natural Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress is a prevailing health issue in the United States. Although 61 percent of adults feel that stress management is important, only 35 percent believe they cope with stress at an optimal level, according to the American Psychological Association . Luckily, there are a number of effective natural ways to reduce stress.
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How To Reduce Cortisol: Take The Next Step
Chronic stress leads to the continual release of the stress hormone cortisol.
And a chronically elevated cortisol level is very harmful to both your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, you can moderate cortisol production with healthy lifestyle adjustments.
Eating the right foods, getting a moderate amount of exercise, breathing properly, and employing stress reduction techniques like meditation and tapping can offset the damaging effects of cortisol and decrease its production.
Additionally, you can take cortisol-lowering supplements.
Its easy to get caught up in aspects of life that stress you out work, money, relationships, and health issues, to name a few.
Give yourself permission to have fun!
Engage in activities like hanging out with friends, playing with your pet, and enjoying art, music, and creative hobbies that feed your spirit and make you happy.
How To Reduce Stress & Anxiety
When stress goes out of control, it pays to get some handy stress relief strategies up your sleeve.
Bills, work, exams, relationships, traffic lifes demands all can pile up at times, causing stress, fatigue, and irritability.
So how to reduce stress and anxiety?
Here are some simple strategies to help you get through stressful times.
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Why Quick Natural Stress Reduction Strategies Are So Important
It seems as though most Americans are high on stress these days. Unfortunately, the data backs up this feeling.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 77% of adults in the United States regularly experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% encounter psychological symptoms caused by stress.
Can Stress And Anxiety Shorten Your Lifespan
Many studies have delved into the relationship between anxiety and life expectancy. And what they discovered is that people suffering from anxiety disorders have an increased mortality risk.
This issue is mostly because of an increased release of the stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline. Despite their importance in flight or fight response situations, being in a long-term elevated state can be harmful.
These hormones carry out different effects on our bodies, preparing it for survival. But these prolonged effects have been linked to the development of chronic diseases such as:
- lower immune system
- anddigestive issuessuch as gastric ulcers.
Also, researchers identified that even low-stress levels have been linked to a lower lifespan when it comes to our health.
Whats more, people who are more prone to anxiety tend to rely on unhealthy practices to relieve stress. Naturally, this can lead to developing an addiction toharmful substances and behaviors . This can lead to both direct or indirect causes of death, such as overdose or driving accidents, respectively.
To help prevent these issues, we must first understand the best ways to relieve our stress and anxiety levels.
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Guided Imagery Or Visualization
Imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach with a soft breeze gently stirring the warm air. Use your senses to smell the saltwater and feel the sun as you transport yourself there. Thats guided imagery or visualization.
It uses the power of your mind to change your focus to a peaceful time or event.
If were in a stressful situation, you know, just shifting our mind and focusing on a time when we were really, really relaxed is an effective way to calm down, Brown says.
Why High Cortisol Levels Are Harmful
Before you stress out about feeling stressed, its important to remember that cortisol spikes can sometimes be a good thing. Having high cortisol levels is a necessary adaptive response, says William Davis, M.D., cardiologist and author of Super Gut. We want a high cortisol level to wake up in the morning and deal with acute stressful situations.
However, he adds, when you have repetitive or long-term chronic stress this can lead to physiologic consequences.
One of the most prominent side effects of prolonged high cortisol levels is weight gain, explains Davis, specifically visceral fat. This is the fat that encircles the organs, intestines, and liver, and is inflammatory fat, he says. Visceral fat leads to insulin resistance and contributes to diseases like high blood pressure, coronary disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Cortisol can also weaken the activity of certain cells linked to the immune system, says Heather Moday, M.D., an immunologist, functional medicine practitioner, and author of The Immunotype Breakthrough. This lowers the production of antibodies and can weaken the bodys immune response over time.
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How To Reduce Stress Naturally: 13 Tips And Hacks
Stress is a natural and common feeling that affects everyone at some point in their life. Stemming from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry or nervous, stress is not a great feeling and everyone has a different reaction to it. If youve been feeling high stress and its affecting you on a daily basis, its important to know how to reduce stress naturally. All of these techniques are simple yet effective ways to combat stress. Try them out to see which ones work best to make you feel more relaxed and healthier all around.
Connect With Loved Ones
When you are feeling stressed, reaching out to your friends and family can help. Research found that people with less social support are more reactive to stress, exhibiting increased heart rates, blood pressure, and hormone levels.
Having a best friend by your side might make it even easier to cope with stress. A 2011 study of kids ages 10 to 12 found that having a best friend nearby led to lower cortisol levels after an unpleasant situation. The researchers had kids write in a journal multiple times a day to record their experiences, and tested cortisol levels in their saliva.
Moreover, a study done at the University of North Carolina found that women who spent time with their partner, including receiving a hug from them, had higher oxytocin levels and lower blood pressure when asked to then prepare and record a speech about a recent event that made them angry or stressed.
Having sex, either solo or with a partner, can also help relieve stress. Like exercise, sex triggers the release of endorphins, which boost your mood. Your body also releases oxytocin during sex, especially during a woman’s orgasm.
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Tips To Manage Stress
In todays society, stress and change often are thought of as the same thing. Stress is a physiological and psychological response to situations the body and mind find to be overwhelming. We often ask ourselves how we should manage stress. There are many ways people manage stress and reduce the overall stress of day-to-day activities. With the fast pace of work and home, and being constantly inundated with technology and still wanting to have time to connect with those around us, our lives can feel overwhelming and stressful at times.
Manage how you live with these five tips to feel less stressed:
1. Use guided meditation.
Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. There are many guided meditations available on the internet that can help you find 5 minutes of centered relaxation.
2. Practice deep breathing.
Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the bodys response to a perceived threat. Deep breaths taken in to a count of five seconds, held for two seconds and released to a count of five seconds, can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce the overall stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.
3. Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.
4. Manage social media time.
5. Connect with others.
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Tips To Manage Stressful Situations
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasnt until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. Weve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
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Learn More About Your Anxieties
The foremost step is the hardest one but it is very crucial to conquer nervousness. It is difficult to overcome a fear that stays hidden in the areas of your subconscious mind without you even facing it. When you face your anxieties rather than running away from them, you start noticing certain aspects pertaining to your fear that you didn’t even know before. This consciousness will help you in facing it better. This can be done by maintaining a journal and noting down anything that seems important. Transferring your stressors into writing can help you in demystifying them.
Soothing Or Uplifting Music
Weve always got the good tunes groovin here. Calming or uplifting music can absolutely reduce stress. Its backed by science! Much like exercise, music reduces the secretion of our primary stress hormone cortisol. One study even found that listening to music was more effective at calming patients nerves before surgery than prescription drugs. Listening to music can also reduce physical pain and depression, and support the immune system by increasing the production of antibodies and immune cells.
One of the best things about music is that this stress reduction tool can be used just about any time and any place! While you work, exercise, clean the house, and most definitely while youre out in the garden. Our mutual love of music was one of the key things that brought Aaron and I together in the first place, and continues to play a huge role in our lives. Feel free to listen along with our public playlists here! Ive curated a soothing yoga and meditation playlist, a few mixed-genre options, one that is purely reggae and dub, and an extra-chill blues, jazz and classical mix.
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How Do Herbal Tinctures Work
Tinctures bypass the need to digest entire herbs in the gut and are easily absorbed by the body. Because they are concentrated, dosages are small and can be diluted in your favorite beverage. They are commonly made with the same plants as herbal teas, but tinctures are much stronger a dropper of tincture is more potent than a cup of steeped tea. In fact, you can add Ready Nutrition tinctures to tea if youd like.
Tinctures have a milder, more subtle effect than pharmaceutical drugs, so it is important to have realistic expectations if you are using them for a chronic condition. Some tinctures DO provide rapid relief of symptoms, but most do not offer a quick fix.
Some experimentation with dosages and frequency might be necessary to figure out what works best for you. Natural medicines like tinctures can be very effective and do have a long history of successful use, so be patient and consistent, and remember to make additional lifestyle changes to support good health and healing as well.
Heres How To Lower Cortisol Levels
At Parsley Health, we work with our members everyday on lowering cortisol levels and reducing chronic stress. Since everyones lifestyle is different, and the stressors in your life arent the same as the stressors in, say, your best friends life, its important to come up with an action plan that is personalized to you and your lifestyle. Typically, this starts with addressing the root cause of your stress and making changes to your diet, exercise, supplement routine with the support of your Parsley Health clinician and health coach. Once your cortisol levels are restored, the goal is to help you understand the stress response, learn how to manage stress, and develop a consistent mindfulness practice so you have the tools to prevent future spikes.
Here are some of our top tips for lowering cortisol levels naturally:
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Write About Your Stress
Writing about your stress and how you feel is therapeutic. And it helps you to organize your thoughts and how theyre affecting you so that you can better understand whats going on inside your mind.
Moreover, your increased awareness will help you to identify the most effective, healthy solutions.
To de-stress using this method, start by setting a timer for at least 5 minutes . Get a journal or piece of paper out and begin writing.
Write about whats going on, your feelings and the beliefs you have around your situation. Get curious about how you could be exacerbating your stress. Ask what you want to do about the situation and write about that.
Once your timer goes off, make a choice to let go.
What Is The Fastest Way To Relieve Stress
There are countless techniques for managing stress. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work wonders. But in the heat of the moment, during a high-pressured job interview, for example, or a disagreement with your spouse, you cant just excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk. In these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible.
One of the speediest and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is to engage one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touchor through movement. Since everyone is different, youll need to do some experimenting to discover which technique works best for youbut the payoff is huge. You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress.
Social interaction is your bodys most evolved and surefire strategy for regulating the nervous system. Talking face-to-face with a relaxed and caring listener can help you quickly calm down and release tension. Although you cant always have a pal to lean on in the middle of a stressful situation, maintaining a network of close relationships is vital for your mental health. Between sensory-based stress relief and good listeners, youll have your bases covered.
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Tip : Find Sensory Inspiration
Having trouble identifying sensory techniques that work for you? Look for inspiration around you, from your sights as you go about your day to memories from your past.
Memories. Think back to what you did as a child to calm down. If you had a blanket or stuffed toy, you might benefit from tactile stimulation. Try tying a textured scarf around your neck before an appointment or keeping a piece of soft suede in your pocket.
Watch others. Observing how others deal with stress can give you valuable insight. Baseball players often pop gum before going up to bat. Singers often chat up the crowd before performing. Ask people you know how they stay focused under pressure.
Parents. Think back to what your parents did to blow off steam. Did your mother feel more relaxed after a long walk? Did your father work in the yard after a hard day?
The power of imagination. Once drawing upon your sensory toolbox becomes habit, try simply imagining vivid sensations when stress strikes. The memory of your babys face will have the same calming or energizing effects on your brain as seeing her photo. When you can recall a strong sensation, youll never be without a quick stress relief tool.
Take a break from technology
Taking a short hiatus from the television, computer, and cell phone will give you insight on what your senses respond to best.