In this modern world, we human beings are able to find answers to our questions just by searching on the internet.
Since happiness is the thing we all want to possess, we are inclined to search for what makes us happy and also what factors hinder our happiness.
While doing the research, it is most likely we come across some hormone names which are responsible for how we feel; happy, anxious, sad and so on. One of these hormones is CORTISOL.
Cortisol is known as the human body’s primary stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. As many people assume that cortisol is the main reason behind stress or anxiety, they are willing to erase this hormone from the body with the aim of avoiding stress.
However, cortisol is not the reason for the stress, it is rather a response that your body gives as the body perceives stress. What they say is this hormone kept humankind alive for thousands of years.
Additionally, cortisol has many roles in the human body such as regulating blood pressure, sleep-wake patterns or reducing inflammation.
The issue is when cortisol levels remain high in the body for an extended period of time, it can cause health problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, tiredness, impaired brain functions and weakened immune system.
To put it simply, cortisol levels should stay neither high nor low in the body so that the body function properly.
Therefore, It is important that cortisol levels turn normal after a stressful situation past. Otherwise, this long-lasting high cortisol level can make negative impacts on our health. Therefore, we need to find natural ways to lower cortisol in the bloodstream.
In this article, we will cover the top 7 ways to lower cortisol levels naturally.
1- Reduce Your Stress
As mentioned above, cortisol is a primary stress hormone released when the body perceives stress. In light of this, it is not too difficult to estimate that if you could reduce stress or relieve your tension, then your body stops sending cortisol hormones into your bloodstream and cortisol comes to a comfortable level as a result.
Therefore, first and foremost, try to stay calm and stay away from stressful situations or learn how to cope with these stressful situations if you can’t get rid of them.
Since every one of us responds to different situations in different ways, you need to know what leads you to anxiety, stress and tension. Subsequently, you should figure out learn how to deal with these stress triggers. If you can notice the stress triggers and learn how to soothe yourself when necessary, you can keep cortisol level at a comfortable level in your body.
2- Get Good Night’s Sleep
It is indisputable that sleep is one of the main components of human life along with eating and breathing. As sleep plays a huge role in life, it can affect both mental and physical health in a good or bad way depending on how well and long you sleep. Cortisol is one of the things that sleep quality and the amount affect directly.
The human body experiences the highest level of cortisol right after waking up and the lowest level before falling asleep. It bears repeating how long and how well you sleep at night can directly affect the amount of cortisol in your body.
Scientific studies demonstrate how lack of sleep brings about increased cortisol levels in the body. One of these studies revealed a high amount of cortisol found in the bodies’ of sleep-deprived individuals who took part in the study. Therefore, you need to ensure that you sleep well and sleep at least 7 to 9 hours every night to manage cortisol levels.
3- Eat Well
As mentioned in the previous section, eating is among the most essential components of human life. According to doctors, diet choices is one of the determining factors on individuals’ health.
In addition to physical health, what you eat can directly affect how you feel ( mental health ) as well. Therefore, it is safe to say that what you eat can either make you happy or stressed by enabling the body to release certain hormones such as cortisol or serotonin.
These pieces of information can be a good reminder of how effective your diet can be for lowering cortisol levels. Doctors highlight particularly two important points. These are dehydration and excessive sugar intake both of which can lead you to increased cortisol levels.
As for the best food for lowering cortisol, according to MedicalNewsToday; dark chocolate, bananas – pears, black- green tea and probiotics are effective foods to lower cortisol levels.
Moreover, a great number of studies indicates that chewing gum may reduce stress to a certain extent.
Being physically active has been proven by many scientific studies to be an absolute mood-booster. For this reason, exercise is recommended by many psychiatrists and psychologists to their patients to help them overcome mental problems.
Doing exercise can boost your mood by increasing feeling good hormones as well as decreasing the stress hormones one of which is cortisol. However, this situation may be controversial when it comes to intense exercise. Experts say: as a result of intense exercise, cortisol levels in the body can rise rather than decrease, even though this rise is short term.
The intensity of an exercise is up to the person’s physical quality, condition, age and other factors. To be able to ensure that you are not performing an intense exercise, you can check how intense your exercise is by paying attention to whether or not you are forcing your boundaries. The recommendation is to perform the exercise around 50% of the effort to prevent cortisol levels from increasing.
5- Try Relaxation Techniques
When aiming at decreasing your abnormally high cortisol level in your bloodstream, your priority should be decreasing your stress levels. To do that, it is significant to find the most suitable method/s to reduce your stress.
Relaxation techniques can be the best way to reduce stress and enable you to stay calm. The effectiveness of relaxation methods on mental health has been proven with multiple scientific studies. According to Mayo Clinic; deep breathing, massage, meditation, tai chi, yoga, music therapy and aromatherapy are among the relaxation techniques.
One of these studies proves the efficacy of music in decreasing cortisol levels. Another study on the subject of the effectiveness of yoga on cortisol levels revealed yoga has a stress-relieving feature.
6- Choose a Hobby
Sometimes, the only thing you need is to find a hobby that you can be happy with while doing it. One would underestimate the power of having a hobby/hobby on mental health. However, experts and scientific studies indicate that hobbies can be quite helpful for individuals to attain a healthier and happier life.
The findings of a scientific study revealed that enjoyable leisure activities are very effective ways to lower not only cortisol levels but also waist circumference and blood pressure.
Select a hobby that can boost your well-being and stick to it. In doing so, you can lower your cortisol levels. Painting, gardening, walking, playing an instrument and cooking are just examples of hobbies a person could choose.
7- Spend time with your loved ONes
Irrespective of scientific reports or studies, every one of us knows from real-life experiences how good and secure we feel when we spend time with the people we love and trust. In general, these people are our friends and family members.
Also, many scientific studies measured the low level of cortisol in people’s body who has support and love from family members and friends. Related to this, a thorough study demonstrates that children who grow up in a warm, conflict-free family have a low cortisol level. On the other hand, children who grow up in a turbulent and unsupportive family environment have high cortisol levels.
Therefore, maintaining a good relationship with your friends and having a supportive family is enough to lower your cortisol.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.