Reducing stress is key to avoiding inconvenient health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, headaches, Alzheimer’s disease, and a number of other ailments that impact your physical and mental health.
When it comes to managing and reducing stress levels, it’s important to know that cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone,” has a direct effect on the physiological symptoms that result from stress. Almost every cell in your body contains receptors for cortisol, this is why it can cause such pervasive negative effects. But not to worry, managing cortisol and reducing stress can easily be accomplished by following these five proven methods.
One of the most reasonable methods for reducing stress comes from the age-old tradition of observing the steady flow of breathing. Without a mindfulness of breathing, stress can easily creep its way in, especially in times of high-pressure situations. Becoming mindful of your breath can be one of the best, most immediate methods to reducing stress.
The second proven method for reducing stress is to regularly engage in some form of exercise. Physical activity is great because it has a direct effect on lowering cortisol. However, the added benefit of exercise is that it releases natural chemicals called endorphins, which help act as natural painkillers and aid in recovery, both mental and physical.
Third, it is best to avoid intake of addictive chemicals, such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Oftentimes, these chemicals will only temporarily mask the sensation of stress, leaving it to return at a later time. Though in addition to this, addictive chemicals such as these will ultimately make you more prone to feeling stress in times when you may not expect it.
The next best method for reducing stress is to make sure you’re consuming healthy foods. Try to avoid foods that shock your body with high sugar and look at lifestyle changes like implementing a Keto-friendly diet. Doing so can have a direct impact on your mental health. Try maintaining a well-balanced diet that includes important vitamins and minerals to see how much of a difference it can make.
Finally, if all else fails, give yourself a break! Maybe it’s that you’re working way too hard, or that you have a lack of sleep. Both of these factors can cause your cortisol production to increase and put your body into a state of unnecessary high-alertness. Taking the time to go on a relaxing retreat to write down your emotions, or simply adding time into the day to get more hours of sleep, can turn a busy schedule into one that you’re confidently managing.
If you’re practicing all of these methods to the truest of your abilities, you too can live a comfortable life with minimal stress levels. Although it may not be possible to completely get rid of stress, reducing stress could be one of the most important things you ever do for yourself. Not only will you perform better at your job, and become a better member of your family, but your physical and mental health will be thanking you for the relief as well.