14 Ways to Naturally
Lower Your Stress
Lower Your Stress
Stress & You
Stress is just part of life, right? And when you’re a mom you have even more.
Unfortunately, no matter how you present yourself to the world, stress affects your body. Read on to discover 14 ways to lower your stress hormone, cortisol.
What cortisol does to you
Your body releases a hormone called cortisol when you are stressed. So every time you are in “fight or flight” your cortisol level increases. This is fine if you are actually escaping from something or fighting off death. However, in our society, we are bombarded with stress which makes this stress response chronic.
Your stressors might be different from mine, but I’m guessing we share many:
- so much to do
- feeling rushed and short on time
- various demands
- trying to do all the right things for ourselves and family
- keeping all the balls in the air while wearing so many hats
In addition to cortisol releasing under stress, you have natural fluctuations in this hormone. When your body is functioning optimally, cortisol is naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.
Too-high levels of cortisol are associated with:
- belly fat
- poor sleep
- brain fog
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- lowered immunity
Techniques to lower your stress hormone naturally
There is one consistent key to everything we discuss here. Address the whole you. You are not just a physical body. Whole health is created through your body, mind, spirit, diet, and environment.
1. Reduce your stress.
Stress is the top cause of increased cortisol levels. Therefore, it’s the first thing we should tackle.
Of course, it’s not enough just to say “reduce your stress.” If it were that easy, we’d all be in a state of bliss each day! For that reason, stress is the first thing you’ll address in my Abundant Energy for the Weary Mom program.
Enjoy life, have fun, and laugh. The cortisol-lowering benefits of laughter are more potent when you laugh with others. So get a couple friends together and play a laughter-inducing game (Apples-to-Apples, Pictionary, Pie Face) or watch a funny movie.
3. Brain Dump
Have you done a “brain dump” before? If not, it’s very simple: grab a piece of paper (I prefer unlined for this) and then write down everything that’s on your to-do list and stressing you out. This has been shown to help with sleep when done at the close of each day. Getting things off your mind and onto paper helps your physical and mental health.
4. Relax physically & emotionally
Things like deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol. You probably know what works best for you.
*Note: watching a tv show or movie usually increases your cortisol levels because parts of your brain cannot separate fact from fiction. If the scene on the screen is stressful, your body is feeling it.
5. Get Social
Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key. Yes, this is even true for the introverts.
6. Pets can lower your stress hormone cortisol
Enjoy your pets. Being around them and petting your furry friend reduces your stress levels.
Don’t have your own pet? You can volunteer at a shelter or visit a friend who has a pet.
Sleep reduces cortisol levels. It improves your overall health in many ways. The lack of quality sleep has negative consequences.
I cover sleep in more detail in my free 5-day Jumpstart into Refreshing Sleep and Rest course.
Designed for the exhausted mom, the Jumpstart into Refreshing Sleep and Rest will ignite your energy without relying on a brew, patch, or juice. Imagine waking up each morning refreshed and full of energy and vitality.
In this free, 5-day email series, you’ll discover simple solutions to create refreshing and revitalizing sleep. After this jumpstart, your morning coffee/tea can be a treat instead of the only way you can find energy for the day.
Light or moderate exercise done on a consistent basis can reduce overall cortisol levels.
*Note: Intense exercise can actually raise your cortisol levels, so don’t overdo it.
9. Reduce sugar & caffeine to reduce your cortisol
Two biggies that increase your cortisol are sugar and caffeine.
Reducing the sugar you eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for your mind (and body). It’s not always easy, but it’s almost always worth it.
High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. Some people do best when they cut it out completely, while others are fine with limiting the amount of caffeine. Either way, find healthy ways to boost your energy levels.
My favorite clean caffeine drink is a nootropic called Axio. (Nootropic = brain food) Axio gives you instant energy and also delivers other benefits, such as support for your body’s response to everyday stress. I love how Axio wakes up your brain, nourishes your body, and gives you the right kind of energy, right when you need it, without the jitters or caffeine crash. For the days when I don’t want caffeine, there is a decaf Axio to provide the same benefits.*
10. Tea + Chocolate are good AND good for you
Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate. Yup! Even though I just said to limit your sugar and caffeine, both tea and chocolate are good for you and your stress hormone, cortisol.
Try a mint or chamomile tea or a square of rich, dark chocolate (without a lot of added sugar!) I love the tea blends from Adagio. Check out their Mint Comfort Tea.
11. Drink water to lower your stress
Did you know that being even a little dehydrated increases your cortisol levels?
Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty. A good amount to aim for is half of your weight (pounds) in ounces of water each day.
12. Gut health is key
There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection, and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key! That means eating probiotics and prebiotics every day! While probiotics are like the seeds in your garden, prebiotics are like the soil. You need both good soil and good seeds.
Probiotic-rich fermented foods include things like sourkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, and more. Prebiotics typically come from veggies that are high in fiber.
Of course, if you are not getting enough prebiotics and probiotics from your diet, that’s where supplementation comes into play. This gut essentials stack contains the best I’ve seen—and believe me, I’ve looked at a LOT!
13. Mighty Mitochondria
Within each cell of your body, you have mitochondria. They are mighty. They are the energy producers of your cell. And they directly impact your body’s stress response.
To thrive in a stressful environment, you need to support your mitochondria. Your body has a pathway to do this called the nrf1 pathway. As we age, this slows down.
Thankfully, you can activate your nrf1 pathway which optimizes your body’s ability to boost mitochondria function, protect the ones you have and restore that youthful feeling at the cellular level. Protandim NRF1 Synergizer, combined with the Protandim Nrf2 Synergizer, gives us a new way to improve cellular health and support healthy mitochondrial function as we age.*
14. Breathe. You’ve got this.
You’ve read through 13 ways to lower your stress hormone, cortisol. You might be feeling more stressed at the thought of everything to do.
Pick just one thing on this list to implement. Add a note to your calendar for 2-weeks from now to come back and pick another thing.
Better yet, enroll in Abundant Energy for the Weary Mom where I guide you on this journey for 6-months. Each module increases your energy while addressing your stress levels.
When you enroll in Abundant Energy for the Weary Mom, you will create a reservoir of natural energy so that you can experience each day fully and make a positive impact on your family and everyone you encounter. You will avoid the “squirrel trap” by following a proven path to improved energy levels. With support and encouragement, you will work in a strategic order to gain fast results that stick.
This is a 6-month guided coaching journey. Support, education, encouragement, and accountability are all at the tips of your fingers within the app. Monthly virtual video coaching sessions are available for an additional charge.
Lower your stress hormone, cortisol
Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can have negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.
In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine. And have more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.
Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, activate your body’s pathways, and enroll in Abundant Energy for the Weary Mom.
In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!
Disclaimers, References, & Photo Credits
*The statements in this post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
ExploreIM, Authority Nutrition 1 and 2, Precision Nutrition, The Paleo Mom, Harvard, Photos from Leah Kelly, Delphine Hourlay, and Brett Sayles on Pexels