Let’s start at the beginning. Cortisol is created by our Adrenal Glands which are located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is the hormone that begets the whole “fight or flight” reaction in our bodies. It is the hormone that allows us to deal with stress, manage our sleep cycles, and among other things it keeps inflammation down, raises blood sugar levels, and regulates blood pressure.
This is pretty much the be all and end all of our hormones. We need to realize that this hormone is in us and that we have the human ability to control it. If your constitution is generally a stressful one, or you work in a high-end pressure job, you could be harboring too much cortisol in your body, which is bad. Parts of your body can shut down, you will lose sleep, gain weight, and many other negativities I don’t wish to relay here. Let us not panic about our Cortisol levels but better concentrate on what we can do to ensure regular levels.
I put this one first as it is my favorite. Laughing is a great way to snap the system back into regularity. When we smile and laugh and have fun we are reducing our Cortisol levels. I don’t know who you are and what you need to deal with so I am not going to presume it is an easy feat for everyone, but do try really to adopt a positive outlook on things. Do a search on YouTube for a comedian that has the same sense of humor as you, write a satire about your life and read it or even do a practical joke on someone else. Try everything and if it fails, for the more sober among us, try again!
What you eat has a huge effect on your mood, and therefore your cortisol levels. The next time you eat some fast food, observe your mood and astounded I’ll be if you don’t find yourself somewhat irritable afterward.
Of course, like for all aspects of your health, eat a well balanced and healthy diet. Drink plenty of water, and carry a reusable bottle with you to make drinking more water more accessible. The physical act of taking a sip of water could help you reconnect with yourself, mind and body, whilst caught up in a whirlpool of stress. Also here are some tasty recommendations to help reduce cortisol levels: Dark Chocolate
Probiotic strong yogurts
DESIGNATED YOU TIME
It is not at all being selfish if you take some time out of your day (or week even) to dedicate to yourself. Go for a walk, go shopping, get a manicure, go golfing, bake a cake, read a book. Turn everything off, seclude yourself and basque in the glory of solitude for an evening or morning. Not only will this reduce your cortisol, but it will ultimately give you a boost to tackle your tasks with more energy and enthusiasm. In this modern world, it may seem impossible especially if you are juggling parenthood and home maintenance as well as a full-time job. It is good to practice it though, and read those couple of chapters of your book guilt-free in the middle of the afternoon!
This is something we practice amongst ourselves here at Vimerson Health, and it works! At the beginning of each week write down your priority tasks and give them a deadline. Sure you may have other tasks but as long as you know your priority tasks are under control you shouldn’t feel the added stress. And do this not just with your job, but also your personal life. If other tasks arise and they are more important just communicate with your higher up that this particular task won’t get done this week. You are only human after all and I can only hope that you work in an environment where your higher-ups are approachable and understanding!
It is amazing how a little exertion of our bodies can contribute to our overall wellbeing. Going for a brisk walk, a challenging hike, a round of golf, or even some HIIT can all be very efficient in balancing our hormonal levels. It is also the mix of the regulated breathing, the bumping of the blood, and the distraction of your thoughts.
One of the better full body workouts you can do for your health is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Along with the already mentioned benefits, it promotes digestion, regulates your appetite and helps with sleep. HIIT workouts are basically a set of short exercises repeated with pauses for a certain amount of time, usually from 10-20 minutes. HIIT workouts do aid in regulating hormone production, be it endorphins, testosterone, growth hormones, and even insulin.
Ah, sweet calm serenity. Meditation is not just for Yogi’s and Tibetan Monks, it is an ancient practice open to anyone, anywhere, at any time of day. Read more on this blog HERE I wrote a while black.
In a nutshell:
Don’t be anxious about doing it perfectly the first few times;
Find a quiet place (or use headphones);
Rediscover your true self, and
Do it again.
There you have it! Take it easy, lighten your load, you only live once ;)