How to reduce stress hormones: 5 ways to lower cortisol levels

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According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, Americans are more stressed than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on America’s collective mental health, and issues such as climate change, inflation and racial inequality have contributed to increased stress across the nation. And stress doesn’t only impact mental health; Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, can cause serious physical health concerns if it builds up in the body. Chronic stress and cortisol buildup can cause health problems like high blood pressure. Learn how to reduce stress hormones and improve your health.

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If you want to learn how to reduce stress hormones, it’s important to first understand what causes stress and how it affects your body. From there, you can take a few practical steps to support healthy cortisol levels.

What is stress?

Stress is a state of worry caused by a difficult situation. It’s a natural human response that everyone experiences from time to time. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones, triggering your “fight or flight” response. Typically, your body returns to normal once the perceived danger has passed. But when you have chronic stress, your body stays in a heightened state of alertness even when you’re not in danger. Chronic stress can lead to many physical and mental health problems, including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

How does stress affect the body?

People handle stress differently. Some can move through stressful situations with relative ease, while others are more sensitive to its effects. Signs of stress can include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches

If you’re in a constant state of stress, learning how to reduce stress hormones is critical to minimizing your risk of health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

How to reduce stress hormones

The relationship between stress and cortisol levels goes both ways: Reducing cortisol means reducing stress and vice versa. Here are some steps you can take to lower your cortisol.

1. Eat a balanced diet

2. Limit caffeine intake

3. Get enough sleep

4. Try relaxation techniques

5. Consider supplements

Taking a personalized approach

Individual responses to stress vary, so what works for one person may not work for you. That’s why it’s essential to talk to your doctor before making significant lifestyle changes. Your doctor can help you create an individualized plan that works for your unique needs and circumstances. The behavioral health experts at HealthONE offer comprehensive services from outpatient to inpatient.  Schedule a consultation or take the assessment to understand the right option for you.

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