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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

6 Ways to Beat The Stress Hormone

Cortisol is a hormone released by your body in response to fear, stress or anxiety. This hormone is associated with a variety of negative health effects. Depression, memory loss, heart disease and obesity are all conditions that are connected to an increased level of this hormone. Although reducing stress is often easier said than done, there are many specific things that you can do to lower your body’s amount of cortisol.

1. Start Exercising

Exercise lowers your body’s amount of cortisol in a number of ways. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood and cause you to feel happy. While you feel this way, any feelings of stress will fade into the back of your mind. As a regular exercise program improves your health and appearance, you’ll probably also feel more confident in general. Confidence decreases the feelings of fear and stress that causes your body to release cortisol.

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2. Practice Meditation

Meditation is another practice that helps to decrease your cortisol levels for many reasons. If there is a specific reason why you are experiencing stress, meditation is a way to directly address this issue so that you can understand it on a deeper level and realize that it is not worth all of the negative emotions that it is causing you to experience.

Some forms of meditation also focus on creating a state of mental calmness and physical relaxation that helps to promote positive feelings throughout the day which will decrease the amount of cortisol in your body.

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3. Listen to Music

Studies have shown that listening to music has an effect on your body chemistry. You don’t necessarily have to listen to ambient, relaxing music to reduce cortisol, either. Although listening to something calming will promote a mellow state of mind, any music that you enjoy listening to has the power to improve your mood and lower the harmful levels of cortisol in your body.

4. Go Fishing

Activities such as fishing and boating are ideal to fight stress, because they separate you from your daily routine, both physically and mentally. Fishing provides an escape from your routine and gives you the time to meditate on your problems and search for peace in natural surroundings. Going on a fishing trip is also an opportunity to end the day with a good catch that is rich both in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling tense. Short of ideas on how to prepare and cook your catch? Try these healthy fish recipes.

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5. Practice Yoga

The benefits of yoga are many and varied, from reducing stress to weight loss, to increasing flexibility. Many of the techniques that are used in yoga are also used in stress management. This makes yoga one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and fatigue. The combination of breathing exercises, stretching techniques, meditation, and mental imagery helps to make yoga a wonderful way to combat stress and enhance psychological well-being.

6. Eat a Healthy Diet

As with most of the issues that have to do with body chemistry, a diet that’s high in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and fish can help reduce the levels of cortisol.

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You should also aim to reduce your intake of sugar, caffeine, and processed carbohydrates as they can promote stress and anxiety.

High levels of cortisol can have dire effects on your overall health. You can reduce the amount of this hormone in your body by following these simple lifestyle changes. Taking control of your stress levels ensures that you will have a happier, healthier life.

Featured photo credit: fotosearch via fscomps.fotosearch.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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