Great Tips To Kill Stress Before Stress Kills You
Stress is a common thing that everybody experiences. Loss of your loved one, schooling, in your relationships, or even car troubles, stress is everywhere. And of course, no one likes the feeling of being stressed, but luckily there are many ways to relieve it. If you are experiencing physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension, here are 101 ways to reduce stress.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
Regular and prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your body. Over time this can cause Cushings syndrome. Some of the most common signs of high cortisol levels include:
- weight gain particularly around your stomach, upper back, and face
- bruising and slow wound healing
- weak bones
- sleep problems
- difficulty concentrating
Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
Prioritizing your sleep may be an effective way to reduce cortisol levels. Chronic sleep issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or shift work have been associated with higher cortisol .
One review of 28 studies in shift workers found that cortisol levels were higher in workers who slept during the day rather than at night .
Those on rotating shifts have been linked with poorer health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and worsened mental health (
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help to keep cortisol in a normal rhythm. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine 6 hours before bed, and staying off your cell phone right before bed are effective strategies.
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Rewire Your Sleep Schedule
Sleeping in time with your bodys biorhythms and getting enough quality sleep can help you lower your cortisol levels naturally. Time, length, and quality of sleep have all been found to influence cortisol levels, so optimizing your sleep cycle from start to finish plays an important role in lowering cortisol levels. Ideally, getting to bed by 10 p.m. will help you avoid a late evening cortisol spike which could make it hard to get to sleep and sleep soundly. This also takes advantage of natural melatonin production, which starts around sunset to help you wind down.
Research in the Journal of Nursing Research found that shift workers who sleep during the day have higher daytime cortisol and get less sleep per day than people who sleep at night, so if your job allows, its best to adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. And if you have little control over when you get to sleep, do your best to create a good sleep routinelike avoiding caffeine and alcohol and limiting screen time before bedto optimize the sleep you do get.
Sleep Hygiene Tips For Lower Cortisol Levels
- Go to bed at a regular time each night.
- Set an alarm to get you up at the same time each morning.
- Wash your bedding and night clothes regularly.
- Keep distractions, like noise, tv, and phones, to a minimum before bed.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Dont exercise in the evening.
- Avoid bright lights and screens before bed.
FACTShift work from early adulthood is associated with increased, prolonged cortisol levels and a higher body mass index .
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Probiotics To Lower Cortisol
The human gut microbiome is home to trillions of bacterial cells which have major benefits for your health. They keep your gut barrier strong, combat inflammation, modulate the immune system, and even help regulate mental health. Thats why boosting the composition of your gut is important.
Probiotic bacteria may help reduce cortisol and stress. For example, bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and L. farciminis lower the release of cortisol caused by stress. One strain of Lactobacillus, known as L. Plantarum 299v, was shown to reduce exam stress in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
Probiotic foods that nourish gut bacteria, such as yoghurt drinks and fermented soy products that contain specific lactic acid bacteria strains, may help to reduce stress-induced elevated cortisol levels. Some of these bacteria also relieve symptoms of IBS and the stress associated with living with a chronic illness.
TIP Want to find out how diverse your gut microbiome is? Take the Atlas Microbiome Test.
Peace Of Mind Buddhist Technique
Sit on your heels , hands interlaced behind you, arms stretched out, expanding your chest. Semi-closed eyelids. Observe your natural breathing and dont interfere. Start counting your breathings:
1 Inhale, forward bend, raising arms2 Exhale, come back up, lowering arms.Repeat the sequence, counting till 10, with no haste, natural and tranquil breathings.
Remain upright, again count: inhaling 1, exhaling 2 and so on till 10, but this time without movement.
The sequence may be repeated as many times as you wish.
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Reduce Cortisol By Monitoring Your Thoughts
One of the most insidious sources of stress is your own mental chatter.
The negative impact of stress is not due to the events in your life as much as it is due to your thoughts your automatic negative reactions and cognitive distortions about these events.
Positive self-talk and thinking can effectively reduce cortisol.
One of the best ways to gain more control of your thoughts is through meditation.
Even the seemingly innocuous habit of frequently interrupting what you are doing to check emails increases cortisol levels.
So, stop multitasking and start focusing on doing one thing at a time.
Ways To Beat Your Stress Hormone
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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Focus On Eating Hormone
High levels of inflammation and high or low blood sugar levels can contribute to hormone imbalances, including excessive cortisol. Stick to unprocessed foods that are high in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, while limiting processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol . Also make sure youre getting enough healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Hormonal Changes During Stress
In response to stress, the level of various hormones changes. Reactions to stress are associated with enhanced secretion of a number of hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin, the effect of which is to increase mobilization of energy sources and adapt the individual to its new circumstance.
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How Epinephrine Works
The adrenal glands have a portion called the medulla, which makes the hormone epinephrine, also called adrenaline. When we are under stress, our hypothalamus raises the alarm. Our nervous system activates the adrenal glands to release adrenaline into the blood. The hormone then latches onto receptors by certain organs, such as the heart and lungs. Epinephrine helps our bodies in a number of ways when facing stress:
- It causes our heart to pump faster and helps our airways dilate so we can get more oxygen to our muscles.
- Epinephrine also helps our blood vessels to contract to direct more blood toward our heart, lungs and other key muscles.
- The hormone helps the pupil of the eye enlarge, improving vision and perception.
- It boosts our awareness, strength and performance and decreases our ability to feel pain.
- The hormone helps break down glucose to turn it into sugar for the body and brain to use for energy.
Ways To Reduce Stress
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Avoid Caffeinated Drinks At Night
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.
Are There Foods That Reduce Cortisol
Yes, no and maybe. Some research suggests that foods like tea, chocolate and fish oils might lower cortisol. But such studies tend to be small and not very conclusive, Dr. Lin says.
Youre unlikely to balance cortisol levels by adding anchovies to your pizza or scarfing a block of chocolate, she says. But good nutrition can make a difference.
Cortisol interacts with neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters play an important role in mood. And cortisol isnt the only compound that influences them. To make those neurotransmitters, you need all the raw ingredients: vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, Dr. Lin says.
The best way to get them is with a balanced, plant-heavy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, she adds. A healthy diet is the underpinning of stress management.
A balanced meal plan can ensure youre getting the nutrients your body needs. And talk to your doctor about taking a basic multivitamin. Its a good insurance policy to make sure youre not deficient in any vitamins, Dr. Lin says.
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Best Ways To Manage Stress
Meditation can trigger the antidote to stress, called the relaxation response.
Goal setting and relaxation techniques reduce stress and ease the physical and emotional burdenit can take.
Stressful experiences come in many forms, such as a demanding job, a chronic disease, or an argument with a loved one. But all types of stressorseven stress from positive experiences,such as planning a partycan result in the same physical and emotional burden on health, especially when you’re an older adult. “As we age, our immune systems are less efficient, and adding stress to that can lead to disease progression or the onset of disease,” says Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Ease Neck And Shoulder Muscle Tension
Muscle tension and pain, especially in the muscles of the neck and shoulders, can lead to stress. Muscle tension also leads to discomfort, restlessness, and anxiety. These conditions negatively impact an individuals mood and behavior when not managed correctly.
A massage gun will help you reduce tension in muscles, thus helping you relieve stress. Using a massage gun on the problem areas from up to two minutes before bed helps in downregulating the nervous system. Relaxing the muscles to release the built-up tension and fluid deep in muscles enables you to feel calm and relaxed, reducing your stress levels.
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Symptoms Of High Cortisol & Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels
The term cortisol has been in the news a lot lately. If you are like most people, you have heard the word, but donât know exactly what it means, how it affects your health or how to lower it. Below are some common symptoms of high cortisol along with some natural ways to lower your cortisol levels.
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Stick To A Regular Eating Schedule
Though it can be tricky at times, sticking to an eating schedule is a great way to keep stress under control. This is in part because it takes the guesswork out of when your next meal will be, which in and of itself can be a source of anxiety. In turn, sticking to a schedule can also help prevent stress-eating, another habit that can contribute to an uptick in cortisol levels, especially since we tend to reach for cortisol-boosting sweets and comfort foods when we’re overloaded.
“Recognize if and when you are engaging in stress eating: Try to keep a regular eating schedule where you avoid ever getting too hungry and avoid ever stuffing yourself to the brim,” advises Miller. “Before grabbing a snack, take a minute to ask yourself if you are truly hungry. You may find that you are really just stressed and looking for something to munch on or you are bored. Try to structure an eating routine where you eat a meal/snack every 3-4 hours while awake.”
Supplements For Lowering Cortisol
After you have your foundation of diet and stress reduction practices, there are many supplements you can add for a little extra support. Some of these include:
- Adaptogens: certain mushrooms and herbs that have a modulatory effect on cortisol and other hormones.* This means that they raise it when its low or lower it when its high, depending on what your body needs. These include ashwagandha, rhodiola, schisandra, and others.
- Amino acids: Certain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, have calming effects, such as taurine, glycine, tyrosine and tryptophan.*
- Herbs: Well-known plant extracts like chamomile and lavender can calm you down and lower the cortisol response, whether in the form of tea, a tincture, or essential oil.*
These are just a few options for cortisol-lowering supplements. You could also consider mineral supplementation, as many people find they can not get enough in their diet, especially magnesium.
Our BodyBio Calm is formulated with 5 specific stress-reducing ingredients, designed to balance the production, distribution, and metabolism of cortisol for a healthy stress response.*
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Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.