Taking proper care of your mental health is so important. If you should experience stress and anxiety for long periods of time, your mental and physical health will start to decline.
This is due to your cortisol level increasing. Cortisol is the hormone which produces stress and it comes from the adrenal glands. Heightened levels of anxiety and stress produce more of it, while relaxation will decrease its level.
When the body produces more cortisol, all your energy is devoted to combatting the stressor. Other bodily functions such as the digestive system are neglected as a result.
How do you manage your anxiety and thus reduce your cortisol level? It is easier said than done, as perhaps you are aware yourself. But there are a few steps you can take to reduce stress and make yourself feel calmer and more relaxed.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one step you should consider. A diet that is high in sugar and contains too much processed food not only raises cortisol levels but increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre, and fibre regulates bacteria in the gut. This leads to a regulation of the hormones, including cortisol.
Deep-breathing exercises, when practiced for around five minutes several times a day, are also beneficial. Research has shown that taking deep breaths regularly helps to lower cortisol and deal with anxiety and depression.
If you are dealing with extreme stress, anxiety or depression, you may find yourself feeling extremely tired due to adrenal fatigue. When you are in this state, you may feel tempted to reach for caffeine to boost your energy level. Do not do this. Once the effects of the caffeine wear off, your fatigue will return, and caffeine can also raise cortisol levels. Maintain a satisfactory cortisol level by reducing the amount of caffeine you consume.
Your cortisol level will also rise if you fail to get an adequate amount of sleep. At least seven to eight hours of sleep per night is required in order to allow your body to heal and recharge itself. However, busy your life may be, always make time to get an acceptable level of rest, including sleep.
Has anyone ever advised you to write your thoughts and feelings down? Is this something you have ever felt like doing? It may seem like a daunting idea, but writing about what’s troubling you, and also about what makes you happy, can be a great act of healing as it purges the bad thoughts and allows you to relive good experiences.
If you can, try to go outside as often as possible. Being around nature, hearing birds singing and feeling a breeze on your face can be very relaxing, as can taking walks and sitting outside when the weather is warm.
These are just a few ideas to help you lower your cortisol. Above all, be kind to yourself, make sure you don’t develop any unhealthy habits and try to do things that you enjoy and which make you happy.
This article along with all articles on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical, psychological (mental) advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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