The hormone cortisol is considered to be the stress hormone par excellence. This substance, produced in the adrenal glands, can be triggered in many ways and it is also possible to reduce it through more or less effective strategies.
Since stress and anxiety are very common problems in developed societies, many people wonder how to reduce cortisol. Below, we’ll look at around 15 ways to keep this hormone at bay.
How to lower cortisol?
Below we will see several strategies, of all kinds, which have been shown to be effective, to a greater or lesser extent, in controlling cortisol levels.
1. Stop caffeine
It’s no surprise to say that caffeine makes you nervous, but what can be a little more interesting is how it influences cortisol levels.
This substance, present in coffee, tea or even dark chocolate, it causes a sharp rise in cortisol levels and keeps them up for hours. This results in a longer and sudden nervousness.
The most effective way to avoid this effect is to simply cut down on drinks containing this substance or stop caffeine altogether. If you think you are addicted to caffeine, it is best to seek professional advice.
2. Good sleep hygiene
Going to bed irregularly, without a fixed schedule, is terribly detrimental to our physical and mental health, in addition to being a factor that increases cortisol levels.
Have good sleep hygiene it consists, among other things, of sleeping eight hours a day (Less in the elderly, who sleep less) and preferably go to bed between ten and twelve hours at night, helps stabilize cortisol levels.
If we are talking about how to reduce an anxiety hormone, it is clear that relaxation techniques cannot be ignored. Relaxation can be taken in several ways, either with yoga or simply by meditating.
So much for the specific way in which this relaxation is induced, the important thing is that it serves to calm the mind and body and, consequently, to acquire greater well-being.
For those who find it difficult to relax with these types of techniques, they still have the option of listening to music, even if it matters! not all genres are valid. It is advisable to listen to relaxing ambient sounds or classical music.
Exercise is always a very good option to be able to enjoy great well-being. It is not surprising that in popular parlance there are sayings that imply a strong relationship between mental and physical health, the best known being that of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.
Exercise helps regulate cortisol levels, which results in reduced anxiety. Outraged, exercise causes the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, Substances also linked to emotional well-being.
The exercise does not have to be very intense. Walking for half an hour a day is enough, although going to a gym or signing up for directed activities like boxing, body pumping, or spinning are great ways to lower the hormone cortisol. .
5. Organize your time
A disorganized lifestyle is the main cause of a constantly stressed life. That’s why it’s kinda really necessary to try to put our lives in order.
Organizing time, respecting deadlines and trying to have more or less well established schedules structure our lives and therefore make uncertainty less frequent.
Cortisol, as a stress hormone, appears in situations where it is not known how they will develop. It’s an evolutionary mechanism that serves to try to activate us in the face of a threat and find a short-term solution.
However, this mechanism is totally harmful if it makes us live under constant stress. This is why, as far as possible, if we can put an end to this anarchy of time, we will not activate this mechanism and we will not suffer as much stress.
6. Find out what worries us
Everyone has their concerns, with which they live and, as far as possible, tries to resolve them. However, sometimes we find it more comfortable to do nothing. it exhausts us emotionally.
To improve our health, we can adopt two strategies. The first would be to try not to worry, especially if it’s something we can’t change. However, if it is possible to fight him, let’s see what exactly he is and face him.
In this type of situation, it is always advisable to consult a psychologist, who will help us obtain effective strategies to deal with the situation in a healthy way.
7. Eat foods rich in phenylalanine
Phenylalanine is a substance found in many foods, although its name is not as well known to most people.
Unless you have such a harmful condition of phenylketonuria, in which people who suffer from it cannot consume phenylalanine without having a neurological effect, consumption of foods containing this substance is highly recommended.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that helps secrete dopamineIn addition to helping reduce the urge to eat carbohydrates and sugars, substances that affect stress levels.
Among the foods containing phenylalanine, we can find rich sources of protein such as dairy products, eggs, red meats and fish, as well as some whole grains.
8. Keep blood sugar stable
Sugar and refined carbohydrates work in the blood to trigger insulin levels, which can lead to medical problems such as diabetes and obesity.
The ideal is to reduce the consumption of these substances, by incorporating proteins, complex carbohydrates and good fats such as olive oil, without however overdoing it.
Diets high in complex carbohydratesIn other words, the “good ones” help keep cortisol levels low.
9. Stay hydrated
Staying well hydrated helps keep cortisol levels at bay. Dehydration causes tension in the body, causing it to suffer from stress, Psychological and especially physiological, resulting in increased levels of cortisol.
It never hurts to carry a water bottle on it. Drinking the right amount of water will keep you from feeling tired and cranky, which will help you be more productive.
10. Eat foods rich in omega 3
Omega 3 is a substance that activates the adrenal glands, Which regulate cortisol levels in a completely natural way.
Omega 3 acids are abundant in certain foods such as vegetable oils like olive, soybeans, flax seeds or canola, as well as in all kinds of fish, like tuna and seafood.
11. Eat foods rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a substance that helps secrete dopamine, Which, as we saw above, helps reduce stress.
Some foods rich in vitamin C are cherries, strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes, blueberries, tangerines, potatoes, raspberries, cauliflower, melon, mango, kiwi, peas, pineapple.
12. relate to others
Relationships with others are a protective factor in our mental health and, although it may seem surprising, physical.
Social relations, as long as they are based on kindness and understandingThey are a source of support and also involve hormone changes.
The condition, particularly represented in the form of a hug, helps release oxytocin and in turn lowers the level of cortisol.
13. Get rid of toxic relationships
Whether with a partner, friends or even family, sometimes we have the misfortune of establishing a toxic relationship, which is clearly at the center of stress and cortisol surge.
It is always clear that in every relationship there can be occasional misunderstandings, the ideal is that in these relationships we can show ourselves as we are ourselves, Without being hidden after the masks or living in constant tension.
If you have a relationship in which conflict abounds, bad words and abuse of any kind are in a toxic relationship. It is very clear that if you are suffering from physical and verbal abuse, you should seek help from relatives who are genuine support, as well as report the abuser.
However, if the toxic relationship in question is not a crime, what to try to do, in the first place, is to see if it is possible to change the relationship, trying to see what is the problem. If you see that there is no way to change what this relationship looks like, yours is to just let go.
Ashwagandha, the scientific name is tampon, is a plant of traditional Hindu medicine.
In recent years, the effectiveness of this herb in controlling cortisol levels has been studied, concluding that it may be effective in reducing these levels and, therefore, reducing stress.
Regardless of its actual effectiveness, it has so far been recommended not only for reducing stress and anxiety as a natural remedy, but also for lowering blood pressure associated with anxiety disorders.
Meditation, as we have said before, is a pretty useful strategy for reducing anxiety and, on a hormonal level, cortisol.
However, of all the meditation practices that exist, mindfulness has proven to be one of the most effective. We can deduce that as a tool, it is helpful in inducing hormonal changes in the brain.
While mindfulness in and of itself is not a practice that can replace the professional intervention of a psychologist, it does. it can be useful in people who have excessive stress but which does not reach pathological levels.
- Cebrián, J., and Guarga, J. (2012). Dictionary of Medicinal Plants. RBA Books.
- Martino, P. (2014). An analysis of the close relationship between stress and depression from a psychoneuroendocrinological point of view: the central role of cortisol. Cahiers de neuropsychologie, 8 (1), 60-75.
- Talbott, SM (2007). The Cortisol Connection: Why Stress Makes You Fat and Wrecks Your Health, and What You Can Do About It. House of hunters