Cortisol has become a punching bag and is blamed for a whole host of problems. If you’ve landed here on this page, you’re probably aware of them. If not, there’s a huge article here that details the havok that this hormone can wreak on you.
The good thing about cortisol is that it helps balance your whole system. It reduces inflammation which, if left unchecked, can really destroy you. It also reduces pain, like when you get hit and don’t feel it till much later. Also, in some instances, having a reduced immune response can be a lifesaver, and might even be helpful in the case of some auto-immune conditions, but that’s still speculation and not our focus here.
And… that’s not why you’re here anyway, so let’s get down to some ways to reduce cortisol…
I’ll start by saying that if you are concerned about this, please check with a doctor or health care professional. This article is by no means medical advice, and is meant to give you information, and that’s it. What you do with that information is up to you, and the FDA probably doesn’t agree with any of this… probably…
Here are 19 ways to reduce cortisol levels.
Limit the daily Starbucks
A simple latte or grande may increase cortisol levels in your blood by a huge amount. Not only that, but the cortisol levels may remain high in your blood for nearly a day after you drink it. Instead, opt for black tea described below, or at the very least,… cough cough… decaf!
Sleep Longer and Deeper
It’s no secret that we don’t sleep enough. Wheres’ the time? Between all that we do, we are lucky to get the minimum required zzzs every night. However, it’s imperative that we make time to sleep, and do so deeply. This has so many benefits, including possibly reducing our cortisol levels, while making us feel good and refreshed, and full of energy.
If you work in an office, then you are most likely sitting at a computer all day long. You might get up to stretch, or go to lunch, and then it’s back to the desk. This sucks. It’s no way to live. We all need to make time to exercise. Getting moving helps rebalance our systems by helping us build muscle and produce seratonin and dopamine. It also might help to take DHEA suppliments to get over the initial hump of getting back into an exercise routine after being out of shape for a while.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
Keep your insulin levels in check. Cut out refined sugar and simple carbohydrates, and big and infrequent meals. Instead, opt for frequent small meals that are balanced with protein, complex carbohydrates, and good, healthy fats like olive oil. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration stresses the body, and we know what hormone comes with stress…
Take Anti-stress suppliments
The following list of suppliments may reduce cortisol levels and boost the immune system, but I’m not the FDA or a doctor, I just research, so take this information with a grain of salt:
Vitamin B Complex, calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, Vitamin C, grapeseed extract, alpha lipoic acid, Co Q10, astragalus, ginseng, rhodiola, eleuthero, holy basil, and schizandra or a host of cortisol reducers here. (I’ve never taken cortisol reducers, so I can’t vouch for their efficacy.)
Learn to meditate
This one is probably the best way long term to bring down your stress levels and reduce cortisol. Follow the many techniques on this site to learn to meditate, or take a shortcut like this. There are also courses like this that can really help.
Listen to soothing music
Soothing music, or any music that calms you down can combat stress and relax you. Try to avoid music that gets your adrenaline pumping, as that can stress you out, even if it doesn’t feel like it is. That may raise your cortisol levels. Try classical, new-age, trance, and chill-out. They work pretty well for me. If you don’t know what those are, just go to youtube and type them in.
Drink black tea
Black tea contains polyphenols and flavonoids which may have a heavy calming effect. Don’t add sugar though, as that can destroy the effect. Steep it well and drink is slowly while breathing well. That will help calm you down and chill you out, and lower cortisol.
Watch or read comedy
Some say that laughter is the best medicine. It certainly does a great job in eliminating stress and releasing endorphins, which make you feel good. Not only that, but there has been research that correlates laughter with a nice drop in cortisol levels.
Rubbing out sore or knotted and tense muscles can help release endorphins. Check out trigger point therapy as well. Massage just feels good and may help you release dopamine and seratonin, which are feel-good hormones. This all works to reduce cortisol levels.
Gum not only helps control tartar, but also relieves tension in the jaw, where many of us carry it. Like massage, this helps relieve tension in the neck and jaw. Just opt for sugar-free gum without artificial sweeteners. If you can find stevia or xylotol sweetened gum, all the better.
There’s anecdotal evidence that taking rhodiola helps reduce stress. It’s in the ginseng family, and touted by many as a calming herb. I’ve taken it with very mixed results. Feel free to try it and see if you get anything out of it.
Anecdotally, 2000mg can lower cortisol by a noticeable amount. It’s touted as healthy, and provides a nice dose of Omega 3s, so why not. I like Barlean’s personally.
Deep breathing activates the relaxation response, which lowers stress and promotes deep relaxation and healing. Try this, it works.
Magnesium is a mineral that is heavily responsible for nerve conductivity and electrolyte balance. Having lower levels of this mineral can make you feel stressed, anxious, depressed, and a whole host of other crappy sensations. Taking quality magnesium suppliments can negate these effects, and in turn, may lower cortisol levels.
Get B vitamins, particularly B5
Alledgedly, excess cortisol in your system can work to deplete B-vitamins. So, if you’re stressed and have high cortisol levels, you might in turn have low B-vitamin levels. That can lead to a host of problems. Therefore, taking quality B-Complex suppliments may help negate some unpleasant effects of high cortisol levels. If you feel better, your cortisol levels may drop as well, so it’s a nice symbiotic circle.
Earthing, Set your feet free.
This is no new concept, but the name might be to you. It’s pretty much going barefoot on natural surfaces like sand, grass, dirt, etc… It always feels great to go barefoot where it’s safe to do so, and now there’s a whole paradigm around it.
It comes from getting in contact directly with Earth’s “healing energy” by way of grounding. You basically spend time barefoot. There are even shoes and sandals that are made specifically for this now, in addition to grounding your electrical system and bringing the “energy” into your home.
Eat Golden root or Holy Basil
These two herbs are rumored to bring down your cortisol levels.
Take Vitamin C
Folic acid helps to control the functions of the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol. Taking vitamin-C with folic acid is proported to reduce cortisol levels.
To sum it up
There, you now have 19 possiblities and know a bit about how to reduce cortisol. As with anything, practice moderation. If you’re really concerned, talk to your doctor. Preferably one you really trust.
As a side note, the links on this page are affiliate links and I can get a small commission if you buy through them. It costs you nothing, but helps me pay to keep this site running, so thanks 🙂