Whether we like it or not, stress is a part of our everyday lives. We can’t escape the unpleasant feeling of being wound up, so the best we can do is alleviate it instead. The hormone in charge of stress management is called cortisol – it’s the one responsible for tasks such as waking you up in the morning, alerting you during emergencies when you’re in danger, or giving you that sinking feeling when you’re going through an emotional setback. Basically, its presence triggers the human fight or flight response into action, which traditionally should only be activated in short bursts. However, being in a sustained heightened state can lead to dire consequences such as elevated blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and increased body fat levels due to increased food consumption.
There are hormone replacement clinics in Florida that can abate issues like these, but there also exist natural methods for you to reduce cortisol, and therefore reduce stress.
Here are some of the techniques you can employ to keep yourself calm:
- Relax right when you wake up – This may prove difficult if you have a lot of things on your mind, but taking a bit of time off for yourself is an essential part of your day too, and don’t you forget it! Cortisol is often released early in the morning, so before doing anything else, take 12 minutes to simply breathe and get yourself mentally ready for the day. When you feel empowered, that’s when you up and get to work with a clear head. If you feel the need to calm down in the middle of the day, consider taking up yoga or meditation as those are also good ways to induce body serenity.
- Listen to Music – Listening to music before and during a stressful event is known to have a calming effect on the brain. When performing a strenuous task, focus on the music instead as it will help you “pass the time”. Should you find yourself in a nerve-wracking group situation though, don’t fret – just play some background music because this technique works for people in groups too. Set the music to something ataractic and watch as the atmosphere around you does the same.
- Laugh with a friend – That buddy who keeps you entertained and happy can do more than outright distract you from your problems; their very presence can reduce your cortisol levels by up to half by making you anticipate laughter all the time; this according to researchers at Loma Linda University. But if all your friends are busy, then watch a comedy show instead. As long as you’re amused, it should be enough.
- Sleep well and early – Getting less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly does a huge number on your cortisol levels. Sleep is required for the body to be able to expel all of the days’ stresses; by not giving your body the time it requires to recuperate, you are putting it under undue stress. However, sometimes sleeplessness can’t be helped, so make sure to take a nap the next day to get rid of your sleep debt.
Don’t take this the wrong way, though. Cortisol is a good hormone, but like most things, it is best in moderation. Having excessive amounts of it for a continued length of time is destructive to your body, so take care to de-stress every now and then.