How to Reduce Cortisol Naturally
The modern world is all hustle and bustle, turning everyone into a ball of stress and keeping tensions high. Stress is the all-too-familiar companion that can have an impact on mental and physical health.
As we navigate this demanding world, it’s in our best interest to gather all the knowledge we can about how to reduce the “stress hormone.”
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands when we’re stressed, and although it helps regulate the body when a threat is present, it can become insufferable if you deal with chronic stress.
From sleepless nights and extra pounds to biting nails and staring at the wall, stress can impact your health in so many ways. So, what can you do about it?
While some people turn to medication to find relief from stress, others are looking for alternatives that keep them grounded in Mother Nature.
If you’re looking for ways to naturally reduce cortisol levels, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be exploring different stress-reducing presents nature has given us, so buckle up and let’s dive in.
- Chronic stress can negatively impact physical and mental health.
- Cortisol is the hormone produced that is responsible for stress in the body.
- Natural ways to reduce cortisol can help prevent and manage stress symptoms.
- Supplements like VYU’s TUNE IN can help improve stress response and decrease cortisol levels.
How to Naturally Reduce Cortisol Levels
For most people, life is fast-paced and filled with stress. You can wait until your stress completely overwhelms you before you address it or find effective ways to manage and prevent cortisol spikes without leaving the confines of Mother Nature.
Here are some ways to keep stress in check naturally:
Cut Down on Caffeine
While there are few things as satisfying as a steaming cup of joe in the morning, you might want to stick to just one serving. Caffeine might give you an initial energy boost, but consuming too much can trigger the release of cortisol and leave you feeling more stressed.
Plus, did you know that coffee is the most-used drug in the world? Sometimes it’s nice to introduce a little anarchism into societal coffee expectations.
Eat a Whole-Food Diet
You might be as tired as we are of repeating the “eat healthy” cliché, but we can’t deny how true it is. Having a balanced, whole-food diet supports your body’s stress response system and can do wonders in the long term.
It’s best to avoid or cut back on highly processed foods, sweet snacks, and excessive alcohol.
Deep-Breathing Exercises Throughout the Day
As simple as it may seem, breathing can do wonders to reduce cortisol levels. Finding time in your day to do some deep-breathing exercises is a powerful technique that can help you out of a stressful moment.
All you need to do is take slow, intentional breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth, repeating as necessary until you feel calmer.
Learn to Recognize Stressful Thinking
Our minds are as powerful as our bodies, and our thoughts and perceptions can contribute to cortisol production. When you catch yourself falling into negative thinking patterns, try challenging them or finding techniques like positive self-talk and mindfulness to come back to the present.
It might be difficult at first, but practice and patience can mean a world of difference for your stress management.
Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do to manage cortisol levels and improve your mood. There’s no right or wrong way to do it: just find a way to get your body moving.
You can hit the gym, have a solo dance party, take a swimming lesson, go for a daily walk, or even just run around the block. Whichever way you decide to move your body, make sure you enjoy it.
Practice Daily Journaling
Creating a routine where you are able to write down and expand on your thoughts and emotions can be cathartic and reduce stress. When emotions are too difficult to process as is, keeping a daily journal can help you gain clarity, release emotional tension, and feel more grounded.
Plus, it lets you look back on everything you wrote ten years later and cringe.
Enjoy a Hobby
Life is full of responsibilities, but it’s imperative to leave a little time for fun. Finding a hobby and practicing it can reduce cortisol levels by keeping you relaxed and happy.
No matter what your hobby or special interest is, there’s a whole world out there that you can explore and diminish your stress with.
Get Outside! (In Nature)
As entertaining as Instagram is, make sure you touch grass every once in a while. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation, and you know it if you’ve ever felt the breeze in your hair or blades of grass between your toes.
Find a place where you feel at peace and relish in Mother Nature.
Finding mindfulness techniques that work for you can help you deal with and manage stress. Meditating or doing yoga can promote relaxation and help you process emotions and physical feelings, which can help you stay in touch with your body and mind and stay on top of it all.
Focus on Quality Sleep
Bad sleep equals high cortisol levels, and there’s no way around that. It’s super important to have a healthy and regular sleep schedule. This can include a bedtime routine that’s relaxing so that your eyes are shut way before the sun is back up.
If you have trouble sleeping, try introducing a relaxing routine like taking a bath, doing skincare, drinking tea, reading a book, and drifting off to sleep at a decent hour.
How to Reduce Cortisol Naturally with Food
The food you eat every day can have a massive impact on how you feel and on how stressed you are. While a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to consistently take care of your health, there are some foods that have been shown to reduce cortisol levels—hint: fermented foods seem to be the way to go.
This traditional Korean dish is packed with probiotics that can regulate cortisol and lower stress levels. With tangy and umami flavors thanks to the fermented cabbage, radish, and veggies, Kimchi is a must-have if you want to regulate stress through food.
The grown-up version of sugary yogurt is Greek yogurt, which is packed with calcium and can reduce cortisol levels by regulating blood sugar levels. The great thing about Greek yogurt is how flexible it is: you can eat it with fruits and nuts or use it to make a savory sauce.
Kefir might not be up everyone’s alley, but it’s definitely worth a try. This fermented drink is kind of like yogurt and is also filled with probiotics and helps support gut health. If you’re tired of Yakult, Kefir is a great choice that can keep your gut (and mind) happy and healthy.
Take a trip to Germany and try some fermented cabbage, otherwise known as Sauerkrout. It’s high in probiotics and manages cortisol production, plus a rich source of vitamin C, all while being delicious on a one-dollar hot dog from the side of a busy city road.
Kombucha has made a name for itself as it gains popularity around the world, making its way into every Erewhon cart and “healthy” Pinterest board. This fermented drink is rich in probiotics and antioxidants and can ease inflammation and high cortisol levels. Plus, this is a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.
What is the Best Supplement to Reduce Cortisol?
You’ll probably find many supplements claiming to decrease stress out there, but how do you know which one will actually work? While it all depends on individual needs, preferences, and quality, there are some ingredients that are promising.
All the way from ancient and traditional Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years to deal with what we still struggle with today: stress. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve symptoms of stress.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The days when a spoonful of fish oil dampened any kid's day aren’t that far behind us, but nowadays, you can get your omega-3 fatty acids from food or less intimidating supplements. These fatty acids work wonders for reducing stress.
Prebiotic and Probiotic Supplements
Prebiotic and probiotic supplements go hand in hand: probiotics can help restore the balance of gut flora, while prebiotics helps feed these good bacteria. With gut health being one way to manage cortisol levels, these supplements can may a difference in your mood.
Rhodiola rosea, also known as Arctic Root, grows in the cold and unforgiving weather of the Arctic and Siberia. It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine thanks to its
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- Epinephrine to increase alertness
- Acetylcholine to direct attention
- Dopamine to create rewards that are necessary for ongoing focus
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