Cortisol is a stress hormone released in the body. The main roles of cortisol are to raise blood sugar levels in preparation for the ‘fight or flight’ response and suppressing the immune system. Therefore, unless a person finds themselves in an emergency situation, it is best to keep one’s cortisol levels as low as possible. This is especially true since higher stress hormone levels also contribute to weight gain. With that in mind, here are eight tips for reducing cortisol levels.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep–Sleep is an essential component to recovery. This is because individuals rest, heal, detoxify, and eliminate stress hormones from their body while sleeping. As a result, the more sleep-deprived a person is, the higher that person’s cortisol levels. Thus, it is essential to get enough sleep.
2. Caffeine Intake Should Be Restricted—Caffeine boosts the body’s secretion of cortisol, which is why it keeps a person alert, awake, and responsive. Moreover, studies indicate that the higher a person’s body fat percentage is, the greater amount of cortisol is released into their system. Therefore, people with a higher body mass index (BMI) should restrict their caffeine intake in order to reduce their stress hormone levels.
3. Achieve Balance–If an individual’s mind and body are stressed, their system will have higher stress hormone levels. Therefore, finding a proper body-mind balance is very important. If the mind is stressed, a person should avoid exerting physical stress on their system. Likewise, if a person has recently completed an intense workout, they should avoid too much stress on their mind. Thus, achieving a mind-body balance can help the system keep its stress hormone levels in check.
4. Try Relaxation Exercises–Another tip for reducing cortisol levels, finding balance, and achieving peace of mind is to set aside time for relaxation, meditation, and/or yoga exercises. These exercises are often lauded as great mind-body stabilizers and effective stress relievers. Moreover, this form of exercise is very adaptable and can be applicable to all individuals, regardless of their level of disability or mobility issues.
5. Laughter Is the Best Medicine–This old adage is full of sage advice. It is important to laugh hard and often. This is because laughter and the action of laughing reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body. Specifically, both cortisol and epinephrine levels are reduced while laughing. Epinephrine produces adrenaline in the body. Moreover, laughter is also linked to the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers and results in a euphoric feeling. Thus, it is recommended that a person spends time with funny friends and/or family, watch a comedy, and find ways to enjoy one’s self.
6. Magnesium Supplements May Be Beneficial–Magnesium is used by the body to reduce stress hormone levels and detoxify the system. The majority of people in the U.S. suffer from a severe magnesium deficiency. As a result, it is no coincidence that large segments of the population are stressed out. Since magnesium tends to help put a person into a relaxed state, it is recommended that a person ingests the supplement close to bedtime.
7. Consider a Vacation or Staycation–Relaxation is key to keeping those stress hormones at bay. Therefore, a vacation or staycation may be the ticket. Whether it is two weeks in a tropical locale, a weekend away somewhere quiet, or disconnecting from all stressors while hibernating at home, whatever helps an individual relax and decompress will help reduce their cortisol levels.
8. Find a Hobby–It is important to find ways to disconnect from work and other sources of stress in life. Spending time with friends and/or family, joining an art class, going to dances at the community center, or finding other hobbies will help to reduce stress hormone levels.
Since cortisol is a stress hormone released in the body and its primary functions include raising blood sugar levels and suppressing the immune system, it is important to keep one’s cortisol levels as low as possible, unless someone finds themselves in an emergency situation. Hopefully, these eight tips will help keep stress hormones at bay as well as the doctor and extra pounds away.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
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