19 Different Tips on How to Reduce Cortisol

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.

how to reduce cortisolNeedless to say, there are good effects of cortisol, but, like anything, too much of it can be horrible.

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.

Exercise Regularly

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.

Get a massage

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.

Chew gum

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.

Take rhodiola

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.

Fish oil

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

Deep breathing activates the relaxation response, which lowers stress and promotes deep relaxation and healing. Try this, it works.

Eat magnesium

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 :)

The Best Online Meditation Classes I’ve Found

Online media courses

Can You Learn Meditation Online?

If you are going to take a class on meditation, it might be a good idea to do so in person with someone who has meditated for a while.

However, this is not always possible, or even feasible.  Oftentimes, our schedules just don’t permit it, or we live in areas where finding qualified people is very difficult.

So, luckily, we have tremendous resources online to help us learn things like meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and the like.  Things that are going mainstream, but still pretty esoteric haven’t quite reached the point where you can easily find a school or qualified instructor.

Therefore, let’s look at some options online.

For me, if I’m going to take a class online, I want access to the instructor.  That is the trouble with many courses sold through vendors like Clickbank, ejunkie, and the like.  If you’ve reached this site, you’ve probably seen many of these.

While many are in fact quite good, I feel that learning meditation is best done with access to someone who can answer your questions.

For this reason, I find Udemy to be a great place to learn from home, online.

You get access to self-paced learning, and, more importantly, access to the instructor.  Not to mention a solid thirty-day refund policy if you’re not satisfied.  That’s the best part.

So, then, what is the best online meditation class?

Two of my Favorite Online Meditation Classes

That’s subjective, but I really like this one.

A Mindfulness Course for Everyone: Learn the Power of NOW

online meditation classesIt’s the best price to value that I’ve found yet, and centers on mindfulness meditation, which is a very powerful form of meditation that I’ve written about all over this site.online meditation classes

The instructor has a cool Irish accent and her voice is smooth and calming, at least to me.  She goes into the basis of mindfulness then has a couple of good guided meditations.

In addition to these, she has good and practical lectures on USING mindfulness in every day situations.  These are golden if you practice them regularly.  I’ve done these and tested them out, and can attest, at least in my experience, to their efficacy.  They simply work for me.

Online media coursesThere’s another good course on meditation called Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety Practicing a Simple Meditation.  While I really like the instructor’s lectures on the benefits of meditation, which are some of the best explanations I’d every heard on the subject, he doesn’t offer guided meditation, at least not yet.

That said, he does lecture on HOW to meditate, followed by timed book-ended silence that allows you to meditate with a verbal ease-in and ease-out, which is cool.  I just would like to see a guided meditation for beginners with this course.

Check it out, it’s very affordable and good if you overlook the lack of guided meditation, at least for now.  He might add it in the future, and you’ll get it free if he adds it to the course.  That’s how Udemy works once you buy a course.

At any rate, I hope this helps you.  Please keep in mind that the links here are affiliate links, and I do get a small compensation if you buy through these links.  It doesn’t change the price for you at all, so you’ll just be helping me run this site.  In full transparency, I’ve forgone recommending more expensive courses because I truly like these two.

How to Do Mindfulness Meditation

how to practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

There are many different types of meditation, but they all seek the same ends. Those being peace, tranquility, understanding, higher brain function, less stress, and ultimately, self-realization, or enlightenment. While many forms exist, one really stands out and will be the topic of this article.

how to practice mindfulness meditationMindfulness is one of the doctrines of Buddhism, namely the eight-fold path. It’s referred to as Right-Mindfulness and has become all the rage lately. It’s everywhere from schools to the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and rightfully so.

How to Meditate Mindfully

I know you’re time is short, so here’s how to do it:

  1. Set a timer for five minutes. (You have one on your smart-phone, or in the kitchen)
  2. Sit with your spine erect (straight). Posture is important.
  3. Notice and then concentrate on your breath as best as you can.
  4. Your mind will go crazy. It doesn’t like this. (that’s your ego)
  5. Notice your mind going crazy, then return to your breath.
  6. Your mind will go crazy again.
  7. Again, return to your breath.
  8. It’s all about returning to your breath.
  9. Do this until the timer goes off.

The trick is to do this consistently every day. Eventually, your mind will quiet down. It’s a myth that your mind stops. It never does. Don’t try to stop your mind. You’ll just get frustrated and angry, or down on yourself, which you shouldn’t ever have to feel.

Instead, just allow your mind to run, but gently return your attention to your breathing. That’s the real trick. Mindfulness is not something to achieve, it’s something that exists perpetually, but you just have to notice it. It’s like jacking into the Matrix, if you remember that movie.

This is Jon Kabat Zin explaining Mindfulness, and it’s pretty darn good:

The Space Between Your Thoughts

There is a space between your thoughts. Every thought takes up a spot in time. The thought comes on, reaches it’s peak, then drifts away and leads to other thoughts. Our minds do this all day long.

The space in between thought is the “emptiness” you might have read about. It’s there, always. The emptiness never leaves you.

As you practice for a while, you’ll begin to notice the space between thoughts. You’ll see the emptiness as you practice mindfulness meditation. It’s there.

Don’t go looking for it. That will just drive you crazy. It sucks getting frustrated over that, believe me. I did it for years. It’s not something I recommend, unless you like that sort of thing, you devil you 😛

Where Does Mindfulness Meditation Come From?

I got the following quote off Wikipedia and it pretty much sums up mindfulness in one sentence:

The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event. All judgments and interpretations have to be suspended, or if they occur, just registered and dropped.
– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path#Right_mindfulness

Bare attention is the operative phrase here. Bare attention with no attachment or aversion. It’s these attachments and aversions that give rise to so many of our problems and issues.

Meditate MindfullyAs part of the noble eight-fold path of Buddhism, this tenet serves a great purpose, but is meant to be used with the other seven tenets. Those being Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right Concentration. All of those together form the core practice.

But, many of us are not Buddhist, and that’s cool. Mindfulness can be used alone as a tool toward your end goal, from simple stress relief to enlightenment and self-realization. It allows us to experience life as it is, and reality as it is, without our own biases.

The meditation part of mindfulness meditation is using meditation to practice mindfulness. It’s a mix of two practices, but the two are intertwined, which often causes a whole lot of confusion. You don’t have to meditate to practice mindfulness, as you can easily find out by getting this free book.

No, the two are separate, but highly complimentary. When you meditate, you are sitting still, and can readily observe your breathing in a quiet and controlled space. In many ways, it’s easier that practicing mindfulness while, say, driving a car through crazy traffic.

How Can I Learn Mindfulness Meditation?

In all honesty, you learn it best by just doing it, and sticking to it for a small amount of time every day. That’s the best way I’ve found. It works, but it takes patience, especially with yourself.

We are a society that expects results immediately. Especially in the age of instant gratification, where if we don’t know something we can just whip out our phones and look up the answer. If we want Thai food for lunch and Canadian food for dinner, we can do that any night of the week. If we want something exotic, we can go on Amazon and get same-day delivery.

Mindfulness is not for that mindset. While you can find enlightenment immediately, it often takes struggle and years of vigilance and practice. This is because our lives are filled with things that have screwed up our minds and given us huge biases. Watch the “news” and you’ll see it everywhere.

In a world that is moving faster and faster, giving us more to do and see at every moment, mindfulness meditation is about going the opposite direction. It’s about slowing down and just observing. It’s also about letting go of things.

We want more and more. Always grasping for new bright shiny objects, just look at the people salivating over Apple’s new lineup… Mindfulness is about no grasping, but simply observing and letting things slip away again.

We are born, we live, and we die. We come from the Earth, borrow this form for a while, then dissolve back into the Earth when our time is up. It’s the way of things.

That’s the way we look at our experience when we use mindfulness and meditation. It’s an exercise in self-control without seeking to control ourselves at all. If you think that’s paradoxical, you will understand when you practice.

This is a huge change from the way our culture is going, and one reason mindfulness meditation doesn’t work for so many who try it. It’s not like buying a new iPhone. There is rarely instant gratification. You seldom get what you expect, and the mere thought of having expectations will kill your mindfulness practice faster that you can say “selfie.”

That said, there are plenty of courses, and I go over many of them in my newsletter. There are always new ones coming out, but the core always stays the same. It comes down to how you learn, from whom, and how much you resonate with the material and instructor.

Are You In Control of Your Life?

Here’s another wonderful thing about modern culture. The belief that we are in control and responsible for everything in our lives. What a quaint belief.

It works for managers in corporations, who will offer mindfulness meditation classes to their employees to boost “morale,” Then, when employee engagement results come back and still suck, the management can tell employees that it’s their fault for not being “mindful” of their feelings and negative attitudes, even though most corporate “jobs” are indentured servitude, but I digress.

Maybe conditions in many corporations just flat out suck? I don’t know. It’s different everywhere and in each unique case, but I will say that using mindfulness for increasing productivity and padding the bottom line for shareholder value is suspect. Some companies do use to to benevolently enhance the well-being of their people, and that is wonderful.

But does practicing mindfulness meditation put us in control of our lives? Hardly. It does give us tremendous insight into how, in seeking to control our lives, we are actually in far less control than we realize. Our lust for things that attract us and our incessant avoidance of anything that pushes us out of our comfort zones or just makes us squirm keeps control locked away. We in essence imprison ourselves.

Mindfulness and meditation are keys that unlock the many cell doors that keep us confined. By learning to let things pass, we give ourselves incredible freedom in life. We realize that we are not fully in control of some things, and that’s cool.

What We Are Really In Control Of?

If we are not in total control of everything in life, then what are we in control of? Anything?


We are in control of our reaction to the world. We are in control of how we behave. We are in control over how much control attachments and aversions have in our lives. We can learn to lessen our dependence and addictions, and therefore, set ourselves free.

We can learn to meditate. We can learn to practice mindfulness. We can change the world by changing ourselves.

Here is how I do it. Join me.