Cortisol is a hormone often referred to as the “stress hormone.” It’s released when you’re stressed physically or emotionally. Although elevated cortisol is normal in short term situations, having high cortisol levels on a regular basis can have a negative impact on your health. It can cause fatigue, blood sugar control problems, weight gain and increased belly fat, excess inflammation, and a weakened immune system. Individuals who live stressful lifestyles are prone to having chronically high cortisol levels.
Here are a few lifestyle changes or habits you can implement to help lower your cortisol levels naturally:
Take time to relax. It’s a given that your cortisol levels will remain elevated if you never slow down to take a breath. Engaging in calming activities, such as meditation, may help keep stress levels at bay and prevent your cortisol levels from going out of control.
Tone down your workouts. Many people believe intense, long-duration exercise is required for optimal health. This isn’t necessarily the case, especially if you consistently participate in high intensity workouts. Focusing on physical activity that lowers the stress response, such as walking or yoga, may be your best bet if you have chronically high cortisol levels.
Get enough sleep. Sleep and cortisol levels go hand in hand. Cortisol levels increase when you don’t sleep enough, and chronically elevated cortisol levels may prevent you from being able to fall asleep. One way to optimize your sleeping habits is to try to go to bed at the same time every night to get your body into the rhythm of rest. It’s generally recommended to get 8 hours of sleep a night.
Eat a balanced meal in the evening. Meals that contain protein, fats, and carbs are best for keeping your blood sugar levels balanced, which in turn promotes healthy cortisol levels. An example of a balanced meal would be: grilled chicken (protein) with sliced avocado (fat), roasted veggies (carbs) and quinoa (carbs and protein).
Until next time….Change your life, change your legacy!