You can reduce cortisol levels easier than you think. It all revolves around how you deal with stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are killers, literally. They can do life-long damage to your body in more ways than one.
But I won’t focus on that today, instead, I want to talk about the effects of cortisol and how to keep it regulated. It can be done!
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone created in the adrenal glands. Secretion of this hormone is controlled by these glands and also by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland as well. Too much cortisol can cause physical illness, just as too little of this hormone can cause other damage. There must be a regulated cortisol level at all times, in order to keep the body and mind balanced.
Cortisol is important as well. It aids in the metabolism, pregnancy and also in regulating blood sugar levels, so it is something every human being must have to survive. With this being said, reducing stress and anxiety will greatly contribute to the balancing of cortisol levels.
What’s more, there are ways to make this happen in just 5 minutes! If you find yourself experiencing an overload of stress, try these out!
Go ahead and activate that left brain real quick!
Considering the right brain governs emotion, you will want to stay away from that side when having a panic attack. Instead of letting your emotions run away with you, redirect your thoughts to the left side. It’s easier than you think to do this, and all it takes is one movement with your right hand. Clench your right fist over and over when you feel overwhelmed. This will redirect those renegade thoughts to the more logical left side of the brain, producing calm and stability.
Those breathing techniques really work!
I am sure you’ve heard this a million times, and I am sure you know it works too! Let me explain how slow rhythmic breathing can calm you down. Slow long breaths activate something called the Vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the heart, lungs, gut and other major organs. This nerve is considered part of the parasympathetic system which slows the fight or flight response.
Now, when this system is activated, it redirects blood flow away from the limbs and back to the inner organs, letting the body know that it is safe. It only takes five minutes to begin the breathing exercises. Breath in, while counting to 5, then hold for 2, then breathe out, counting to 6. Repeat these intervals as much as you like for full effect.
Recognize the incoming stress
Pay attention to what happens right before you have a panic attack. Do your hands start to shake, do you feel nauseated, or do you feel the need to cry? Things happen differently person to person, so it’s up to you to understand your indicators. Once you know what they are, keep an eye out. You could possibly use the other techniques to eliminate the onset of an attack.
Use calming sounds, images and smells to alleviate the stress
Images such as forests, beaches or mountains can quickly calm the nerves. This is also true about music or natural sounds. I recently discovered the power of ambient music, which has the capabilities of slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. There are also soothing smells, those which transport you to another time or place, and these scents can halt anxiety attacks as well as lift the darkness of depression.
Here are a few essential oils that cause a calming effect. Be aware of all your allergies in case some of these floral scents cause a negative reaction with your skin or sinuses.
There are 150 natural components within lavender oil which calm the nerves. The scent of lavender slows down fast brain activity, replacing it with slow alpha waves. Make sure the lavender essential oils is natural by checking for high esters, which you want to see, and low in the component, cineol.
Chamomile has been used for over 2000 years to combat things like insomnia, restlessness, vomiting and other ailments. When chamomile scent is inhaled, it calms anxious feelings, and when the oil is rubbed on the skin, it can also remove tension from the muscles.
This scent has been compared to the drug valium. Maybe it doesn’t work exactly as well as the drug, but Jasmine has a reputation for being one of the best scents to calm anxiety symptoms. Jasmine increases the GABA activity in the brain which governs the calming effect. Results of studies with Jasmine were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
There are much more scents that serve as great stress reducers. These are only a few notable examples.
Transform stress into excitement
Now this one may seem a little far out, but I have tried it. When you feel yourself getting upset and worked up about a situation, or for no reason at all, find something productive to do. Whether it’s cleaning, going for a bike ride or doing a few exercises, you can transform negative feelings into something more positive.
Now, at first, this won’t be the easiest thing to do, but if you find the willpower to start, it will get easier, and you will notice other uncomfortable feelings fade as well. Also, pair these activities with your favorite music, going in the opposite direction of the calming effect.
Just take a nap!
If all else fails, then stop everything and take a nap. I know this may not always be feasible, but if you can find a way, sleeping allows you to shut down your mind for a while and rest your body as well. Turn on a fan, add essential oils to a vaporizer/humidifier – your choice, and play soft music, whatever helps you get to that place of ultimate relaxation.
Now that you have a few options, give them a try!
There are many other ways to reduce cortisol levels in your body. These are just a few well-known solutions to get you started on your journey out of a stressful lifestyle. Cortisol can be a killer, but you can save your life in just 5 minutes, with any of these tips!
Share your tips as well! I am excited to hear what you’ve discovered in your battle with mental and physical ailments!
By Sherrie H.
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