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How to Reduce Cortisol Levels and Balance Your Stress Hormones Naturally

    How to Reduce Cortisol Levels

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone is released by your adrenal glands any time your body feels threatened or stressed. Cortisol helps your body to handle its response to traumatic or adverse situations. It tells your body when it’s time to pump blood faster and to release glucose for energy.

Prolonged and increased levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, HBP, diabetes, low mood and skin changes. Keep reading to learn how to lower cortisol naturally and reduce stress and prevent your body from thinking that it is constantly in a fight-or-flight situation.

1. Figure Out Your Stress Triggers

A stress trigger or stressor is any stimulus that generates anxiety or stress physically or psychologically. It can be a threat, unexpected change to your environment, pain, financial troubles, relationship problems or work-related issues.

Your body naturally releases cortisol when you’re faced with stress. This is to keep your body on high alert, provide the much needed energy which is essential in the “fight or flight” response.

To lower your cortisol levels, first understand them and the causes. This can help you to find ways to manage these situations. For example, walking away from arguments, letting go extra work, and avoiding unnecessary triggers such as on social media.

2. Identifying Stressful Thinking

Studies reveal that people with a negative mindset and writers of stressful events often have higher cortisol levels. Their oxytocin (a relaxing hormone and neurotransmitter that calms the nervous system) tends to be low.

Solution? According to studies, mindfulness in at risk-situations and meditation are effective ways to combat negative thoughts and reduce cortisol levels. This combats depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So try enrolling in meditation programs.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How regular do you have goodnight bedtimes? They are extremely necessary for reducing cortisol levels and therefore stress. Your sleep quality, timing and duration affect your stress hormone. No wonder night-shift workers who sleep during the day usually experience high cortisol levels like people with insomnia or sleep deprivation.

To solve the problem, incorporate good sleep hygiene like limiting things that disrupt your sleep such as noise and light. Have earplugs, blackout curtains, an eye mask, a noise machine. Set a sleep alarm and keep phones, the TV, bright lights, etc away before bed.

4. Exercise But Not Too Much

When you do strenuous exercise, it stresses the body, increasing cortisol levels in the short term before they decrease again at night.

To lower exercise-induced cortisol levels and release stress, do regular moderate and not intense exercise. Avoid strenuous exercise in the late afternoon and evening in order to stay awake. Remember that doctors recommend physical activies for good mental health.

5. Find a Hobby

Having a hobby to help you relax is beneficial in many ways. It includes stress level reduction. A hobby like yoga which is a mindfulness activity is linked with a significant drop in cortisol. The same applies to arts or gardening if you’re a veteran with depression, PTSD or substance abuse. Just make sure your hobby is fun to you.

6. Have Fun and a laugh

It’s common knowledge that laughter is good for the soul and mind. A good belly laugh suppresses the stress hormone because laughter is a healthy and positive behaviour that easily overcomes stress. No wonder you usually don’t feel stressed when you’re having a good time. That’s the reason it is important to engage in positive events to feel happy while also having your blood pressure lowered.

7. Get a Pet

Though unusual, having a pet lowers cortisol levels and it’s been proven scientifically. One study found that people in a dog group compared to those in a friend group had lower cortisol levels. When humans interact with dogs, the oxytocin levels increase in both of them, decreasing cortisol levels in humans and relieving stress. Dogs, cats and even caged birds like canaries and budgies bring other health benefits too, for example focus, reduced blood pressure, and combating loneliness.

8. Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet plays an important role in health, including lowering cortisol. However , consuming the wrong foods can end up triggering cortisol release, for example, sugar. Both cortisol (stress hormones) and some nutrient-rich foods enable the production of neurotransmitters which are messengers in the brain that regulate mood.

Such cortisol reducing foods and drinks include:



·        Dark Chocolate   

·        Bananas 

·        Prebiotic Fibre   

·        Probiotic Foods E.G. Kimchi, Sauerkraut   


·        Green Tea

·        Black Tea

·        Probiotic Yogurt Drinks

·        Water

Coupled with speaking to your healthcare provider, embracing these healthier lifestyle habits can help reduce your cortisol levels naturally.

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