Cortisol is a popular stress hormone, and elevated levels lead to stress, fatigue and even difficulty losing weight. The only problem is we tend to write off stress because it’s so common. But that’s never a good idea. Elevated cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your body and mind. So, if you have stress – and there’s a good chance you do – here are five ways to reduce cortisol levels naturally.
Make exercise the rule, not the exception
According to Harvard Medical School, “Regular physical activity keeps you healthy as it reduces stress.” So, find a form of exercise you enjoy and try to do it for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week.
Sleep and stress can create a vicious cycle. When you’re stressed, it’s hard to sleep. And when you don’t sleep well, your stress levels can go up. So, even if you have so much to do, unplug and take gentle steps to relax so you can sleep and recharge your body and mind.
Eat more whole foods
If your diet consists of high-sugar and high-trans fat foods, this can increase inflammation and cortisol levels. Instead, opt for whole foods, natural sources of sugar, more antioxidant-rich foods and healthy fats.
Start a meditation practice
According to Mayo Clinic, “Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.” That’s because it helps provide a more mindful perspective on the stressful situation and helps place your body into a parasympathetic nervous system state.
Try medicinal mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms are definitely trendy right now, but they’ve been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. And while research is still forthcoming when it comes to medicinal mushrooms, varieties like reishi are classified as adaptogens, and have the ability to help the body cope with stress better.