We live in a world of extra stress and the biggest reason is our cell phones. Everything is happening instantly and we are being bombarded with information and people all day long.
It’s never-ending, from morning till night. 24/7!
This puts your body in a constant state of “fight or flight”.
Your adrenal glands are constantly overproducing stress hormones, which causes negative changes in all your other hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, thyroid, and so forth, resulting in:
- Muscle loss and belly fat gain
- Blood pressure problems
- Pain in your joints and muscles
- Poor sleep
- Wrinkles and hair loss
- Impaired brain function and poor memory
- Lowered sex drive and erectile problems for guys
- Blood sugar issues
- Lowered immune function
- And so forth
And of course, all of this leads to accelerated aging – externally and internally.
My Personal Experience
This is a super important topic to me, so much so that in the early 90’s I decided to take a prescription drug to lower my cortisol and stress hormones.
The initial results were awesome.
But within a couple of weeks, my body adapted and then the opposite would happen.
My body overproduced cortisol.
So then I’d increase the dose of the drug. Again, great results for a couple of weeks, but then the opposite.
Eventually, I figured out that there is no way to trick the body with drugs because drugs work AGAINST your body.
So I needed to find natural ways to lower stress and cortisol levels that worked WITH my body and not against it.
The end result is easy to maintain long-term.
Granted, the results are also slower when compared to the “instant gratification” of drugs.
So with that said, today I’m going to quickly reveal the 10 best ways to naturally lower stress and cortisol levels.
I will go into more detail about each of 10 ways in future articles.
But today I’ll quickly summarize each one.
By the way, if you didn’t already know – my background is in anti-aging endocrinology – which is the study of hormones.
So, yes… I’m far more knowledgeable about all of this than most people.
So if this is a topic you’re interested in and if you have extra stress and want to finally improve your cortisol and stress hormones, then make sure you check my blog regularly for updates.
With that said, let’s get started…
1. Sleep Better
One of the best ways to lower your cortisol and stress levels is to sleep better. Not necessarily sleep more, even though many of us are sleep deprived.
In order to sleep better and optimize your hormones, you want to get to bed when cortisol levels naturally start to decrease, which is around 9 to 10 pm.
Work WITH your body.
Because around 11 pm, you get that second wind and that’s actually cortisol levels going back up. We don’t want this.
So, get your body ready for sleep by dimming the lights around your home, turning on your blue blockers, taking some herbs and specific sleep hormones before bedtime so you’ll fall asleep faster and you’ll get a much deeper sleep, which will produce optimal hormone levels.
And then wake up naturally, with NO alarm clock, when the sun naturally starts to come up… which is around 6 am.
This keeps cortisol levels balanced and in a healthy range.
And yes, I’ll do an entire article series about sleep hacks since this has been one of my personal challenges my entire life.
After sleep, the second-best way to improve stress levels is by taking specific supplements that are clinically proven to help lower stress and cortisol levels.
The benefit of supplements is that they work immediately, they’re easy and convenient, which is something we all want.
I’ve been using these for years and they really do work.
I’ve tested my hormones multiple times with blood and saliva and there’s always a dramatic improvement.
Some of the best supplements are:
- Fish oil
- Two specific forms of ashwagandha extract – Sensoril and KSM-66
- Green tea
- and a few other herbs and specific vitamins and minerals
There’s a link below this article about each of these ingredients, how they work, the correct dosages, and the best form for each of them – so you don’t get ripped off.
I take them after my workouts when my cortisol levels are sky-high and I want to lower them immediately so I can gain muscle and lose fat.
I also take them before bed, to help calm my nervous system and help me sleep.
Most people have high cortisol all day long and the worst time is before bed.
3. Lower Stressful Situations – External
You can’t always control your outside world… but you can help reduce stressful situations externally. This means that you need to stop or at least reduce spending time on negative things in life.
For me, this means:
- Less news and negative media online.
- Interacting less with negative people – and we all have such individuals in our lives.
- Spending MORE time on positive things, situations, and people.
I know it can be addictive to watch all the negativity … the media knows this and it sells.
Just be mindful and keep an eye on how much time you’re spending on negative situations that you have no control over.
4. Lower Stressful Situations – Internally
Even though you can’t control external events that cause stress, you for sure can internally base on how you REACT to stress and the MEANING you give to stressful situations and events.
When something bad happens in your life – do you automatically…
- go to a bad place?
- Do you blame others?
- Do you get angry?
- Do you play the victim?
- Do you keep reliving the negative event over and over again?
All this does is keep producing negative stress hormones all day long and YOU are at fault.
Of course, it’s easier said than done to change your focus and I’ve got some quick ways to do so and I’ll reveal them in my future articles.
For now, just try to adopt an “attitude of gratitude”.
5. Better Diet
Believe it or not, your diet easily controls stress hormones. This includes the type of diet, calories, and foods you eat.
Eating only one meal a day for example or extreme intermittent fasting causes an increase in stress hormones. Your body thinks it’s in survival mode.
Also, blood sugar and insulin help lower cortisol levels and fuel your brain and muscles.
So, being on a very low carb or no-carb keto diet or carnivore diet tends to increase your cortisol levels and over time lowers total and free testosterone levels.
On the other hand, eating a diet high in processed foods and high glycemic load carbs that cause blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day also causes highs and lows in your cortisol levels.
Extreme calorie-restricted diets also cause massive amounts of cortisol. You lose weight, but a lot of it can be valuable muscle.
Don’t stress your body, keep it slow and steady.
Again, I’ll go deeper into this topic in a future article.
You need to move daily to help balance your stress hormones. Unfortunately, there are many exercises that will increase your stress levels and put additional stress on your nervous system.
Going balls-to-the-wall at the gym every workout will do this.
Running and other higher intensity, long-duration exercises will also do this.
Working out hard every day without also taking OFF days and days where you’re not going 100% and beyond will also cause chronically elevated levels of cortisol and kill your adrenal glands and decrease good hormones.
This has been one of my personal issues because I was always “all or nothing” at the gym and I was constantly overtrained and had elevated cortisol levels, which decreased my testosterone.
It took me years to find the correct balance and I’ll tell you how I’ve done it in a future article.
However, start the day off on a positive note and go for a brisk 15-20 min walk outside. Just enjoy nature or listen to something positive.
This helps set the wheels in a positive motion and helps proper cortisol levels for the night as well.
Most people are dehydrated and that puts stress on your body and increases cortisol levels.
Drinking coffee, soda, juice, protein shakes, energy drinks, and so forth is not how you properly hydrate your body.
In fact, many of these drinks increase your body’s need for more water.
So, increase your water intake daily, especially if you exercise regularly. Add some lemon juice into the water if you’d like.
The only other beverage I suggest is green tea.
8. Change Your Focus
During the day, you’re going to run into stressful situations. At the very least, a few times a week.
And it seems like every 2-3 months, there’s a big explosion in our lives or lots of things start to go wrong at once.
When these situations happen, big or small, you need to change your focus.
Instead of focusing on the PROBLEM, you need to focus on the SOLUTION.
Most people spend the majority of their time and brain energy thinking about, speaking about, and focusing on the problem.
They keep reliving it in their heads.
They keep bringing it up every time they see someone.
They basically keep reliving the stressful event over and over again. Which causes your body to keep producing stress hormones the entire time.
Instead, see the problem, bitch and complain about it for a little bit, get it out… and then focus the rest of your energy on the solution.
Because what you focus on expands and you’ll get more of.
Focus on the problem, you’ll see and get more.
Focus on the solution, and you’ll get results and move forward.
This will then produce positive hormones and reduce the negative stress ones.
9. Give To Yourself
Sometimes it feels like we’re always giving to everyone.
We’re being pulled in a dozen different directions. Everyone wants a piece of you and your time.
Work, friends, kids, relationships, bills, and so forth.
Well, through all of this, you also need to take time out every day and give time to yourself.
Don’t expect this from anyone else.
It’s YOUR job. YOUR responsibility.
For me, it’s going to the gym. That’s my time.
I also get in my massage chair twice daily for 15 min and just relax, meditate, or take a nap and let my brain go blank.
I’m rebooting my system.
You need to see what makes you happy and set time aside daily.
If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen because life will get in the way.
And don’t give me excuses that you don’t have the time – stop watching TV or going on social media or having mindless conversations with people.
You need to reboot your system at least once a day.
10. Take Action
And finally, take action on what you’ve read today. Most people barely read half of an article let alone implement what they’ve learned.
One thing that causes us stress is feeling lost, hopeless, confused, and so forth.
When you take action, you’re going towards something positive and making progress.
That will reduce your stress and increase your confidence.
There are other ways to lower stress, but I’ve found these to be the most effective.
Today I’ve listed the top 10 ways to improve your stress and cortisol levels. Pick one and do it. Then pick another and another.
Small improvements daily will result in big changes over time.
Some are easier to implement than others … like taking a 15 min walk in the morning. Anyone can do this and it’s free.
Some work a lot faster than others, such as taking supplements. And again, click on this link about the supplements I use, the benefits, and so forth.
Read this article over and over again so you can improve your stress levels and live a much healthier, happier, and longer life.
And stay tuned for more detailed articles about each of these 10 topics in the near future.