How to Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally for Reduced Stress
Sep 16, 2021
As we juggle more things in our everyday life from careers and families to maintaining interpersonal relationships or staying active, the amount of stress that we encounter increases. Learning how to manage stress is crucial to improving mental and physical health and protecting our well being. What exactly causes stress within our bodies, however?
Our feelings of stress are caused by cortisol levels in our bodies. Today we’re taking a look at what that is and how to lower cortisol levels naturally for reduced stress.
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a naturally-occurring hormone within our bodies that is released by the adrenal glands and responsible for feelings of stress. It’s what helps your body react in stressful situations as your brain signals its release via the sympathetic nervous system. You may have heard this referred to as our “fight or flight” instincts.
When cortisol levels are elevated for a short period of time, it can actually be helpful. Some levels of stress are important depending on the factors. For example, stress that raises cortisol levels and provides your body energy to run from a dangerous situation could keep you from harm.
When levels are elevated for long periods of time, however, it can lead to negative health effects like high blood pressure, depression symptoms, low energy levels, insomnia, and increased risk of heart disease. This brings us around to why it’s important to learn how to lower cortisol levels as part of a self-care routine.
Learning How to Lower Cortisol Levels
Learning ways to lower cortisol levels doesn’t always have to involve medication. We’re going to explore how to lower cortisol naturally with a few simple lifestyle changes such as:
- Exercising and staying active
- Learning to recognize stressful thoughts to manage them more easily
- Doing breathing exercises as part of how to lower your cortisol levels
- Getting a stress relief massage
It’s important to note that only a medical professional will be able to determine whether or not your stress levels require medication or may be reduced naturally. Consult your doctor for any medical advice before making lifestyle adjustments.
How to Lower Your Cortisol Levels With Exercise
Exercise releases endorphins that can help your body with how to lower cortisol levels and elevate your mood. Different exercise intensities will have different effects on your cortisol levels, however. For example, intense exercise increases your cortisol levels shortly, but they’ll decrease within a few hours.
This short-term boost is what helps your body rise to meet the challenge of your workout or activity. Studies have shown that regular activity will actually reduce the cortisol level increase, however, as your body becomes more accustomed to the activity you’re doing. This is why having a proper cool down routine after working out is crucial. You may find recovery tools for athletes such as a portable massage gun, a luxury massage chair at home, or foam rollers help you relax after physical activity and calm your body down safely.
Regular physical activity and exercise has also been shown to help with other methods for how to lower cortisol levels naturally such as providing better sleep quality, lowering stress levels, and improving your overall health.
Practicing Mindfulness for How to Lower Cortisol Naturally
Part of discovering how to lower cortisol levels naturally for reduced stress is learning how to acknowledge stressful thoughts before they get out of control. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to be a potentially effective way to help control stress and anxiety. Mindfulness isn’t the absence of thought or clearing your mind of all stress, but instead is about centering your mind and acknowledging your thoughts without judgement.
The focus of mindfulness is to help your mind process stressful thoughts more efficiently by recognizing them without the immediate emotional reaction. This may help give you a more levelheaded response to sources of stress, which could help when figuring out how to lower your cortisol levels.
Breathing Exercises to Help Lower Cortisol Levels
Breathing exercises are simple routines you can incorporate into your daily schedule and do from practically anywhere. Whether you’re taking a break at your desk, sitting in your car in between different events of the day, or combining stress relief techniques while relaxing in a massage chair at home, taking a few minutes for deep breathing may help with how to lower cortisol levels naturally.
Similar to mindfulness techniques, controlled breathing exercises engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which aids in lowering cortisol levels. Deep breathing may help reduce stress, lower anxiety, and deepen your relaxation. While they can be practiced at any point throughout the day as often as you need, we love incorporating breathing exercises into a relaxing night time routine to help our minds and bodies unwind before bed. It can help with sleep quality, another factor in how to lower your cortisol levels!
Stress Relief Massage Experiences Can Help Lower Cortisol Levels
Last, though certainly not least, in our exploration of how to lower cortisol levels naturally for reduced stress is getting regular massages. It’s no secret that full body massages reduce stress and help you relax more fully. This deep relaxation can help when figuring out how to lower cortisol naturally. The key here is to incorporate massage for anxiety and stress into your schedule on a regular basis.
For those who can’t fit regular visits to a massage therapist into their schedule, consider the benefits of massage therapy at home with a massage chair. Some of the biggest benefits of owning a massage chair at home are that you can use it whenever you’d like according to your schedule and can also do so from the privacy of home. Not everyone is comfortable in strange surroundings or with the idea of another person massaging their body. The advancements in today’s models have effectively eliminated the difference between using a massage chair vs human massage.
With a massage chair at home, you can also choose from a variety of different types of massage techniques depending on your needs. Luxury massage chairs may offer programs such as Thai massage, Swedish massage, and deep tissue massage. You can also adjust the intensity of your massage so that your experience is exactly how you want it. Top massage chairs may even offer AI massage technology that uses two different types of body scanning technology to go to work and deliver the exact massage experience you need every time.
We hope this guide has helped you learn a few simple lifestyle adjustments you can do when learning how to lower cortisol levels naturally for reduced stress. Knowing how to manage stress levels can have a profound impact on your mental and physical health. Be sure to consult a doctor before making any changes to your health routine and ensure it’s safe for you to do so. Once you’ve been given the go ahead, try mindfulness techniques, start being more active, or choose a massage chair for home and see how different methods for how to lower cortisol naturally may work for you!
Want to learn more about the benefits of massage chairs for health and how they fit any lifestyle? Check out these resources: