10 Tips To Eliminate Stress Hormones Naturally
By Sara Novak
We humans are made up of hormones, many of which were meant to protect us back in the caveman era. When a saber-tooth tiger was prowling after us, we needed the built-in hormonal response required for survival and since then, many of those same hormones still evoke a stress response.
The only problem is that they are not normally necessary for survival. When you are sitting in traffic or trying to meet a deadline at work, your life is not at risk and activating your body’s fight or flight system is not going to do you any good. We still need our stress hormones once in a while.
When that mack truck cuts out in front of you on the highway or a robber comes knocking at your door, you want to be ready. But for the most part, our stress hormones are doing our body more harm than good. Plus, they make you feel depressed, and who has time for that? If stress hormones have got you down, we are here to help.
Table Of Contents:
- What Are Stress Hormones
- What Happens When You Have Too Many Stress Hormones
- 10 Tips To Fight Stress Hormones Naturally
What Are Stress Hormones?:
You are probably familiar with the brain’s main stress hormone, cortisol. When you come in contact with a threat, according to the Mayo Clinic, the hypothalamus, a small region at the base of the brain, activates your stress response system. It starts at your adrenal glands, which sit right on top of the kidneys. Once they receive a signal, they start releasing stress hormones throughout the body. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure. “Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.” Your stress response impacts all aspects of the body’s functioning, including the immune, digestive, and reproductive systems.
What Happens When You Have Too Many Stress Hormones:
If your body is constantly in stress response mode, better known as fight or flight, it can take a real toll on your body both mentally and physically. Here are some of the side effects of an overactive stress response:
- Digestive issues
- Heart disease
- Lack of focus
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
10 Tips To Fight Stress Hormones Naturally:
While you can be genetically more likely to have a heightened stress response, there are a number of steps you can take to push stress hormones out of your body. These tips can help:
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released in the brain. It is well known for an acute stress response, which can cause dilated pupils, trembling, rapid heart rate, and flushed skin. In the body, cortisol impacts all sorts of systems including your circadian rhythm, stress levels, blood sugar, heart health, and inflammation, to name a few. Research published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that cortisol levels in the blood were substantially reduced in those who took ashwagandha versus the placebo group. Another study published in the journal Medicine found that the use of ashwagandha was associated with a reduction in morning cortisol levels. This herb, known widely in Ayurvedic medicine, is a magic bullet against your stress response.
You probably do not need a scientific experiment to tell you that after a few weeks of rain, nothing clears up your mood like a good dose of vitamin D. Sunshine is so important to your happiness, no matter how you get your fill. And in case you needed proof, not to worry because there is tons of it. According to researchers publishing the Journal of Biological Rhythms, "bright light exposure reduced cortisol levels on the descending phase of the cortisol rhythm suggesting that exposure to morning sunlight may have a greater effect on adrenal cortex physiology than previously recognized.” The finding suggests that sunshine is important and bright light is even more important. Getting outside in the early morning when the sun is bright can have a huge impact on cortisol levels in the brain. And it is not just humans that feel the impacts. A study published in the journal Zoological Research showed a similar finding with regards to monkeys. “The development of psychiatric disorders such as SAD may include an onset of hypercortisolism phase due to a lack of sunlight exposure.” Humans and monkeys alike are not made to be caged indoors. We are meant to be out and about enjoying Mother Nature’s built in light system.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation
Cortisol causes our blood sugar to increase because it releases glucose into the blood in an effort to supply the body with more energy. After all, you would need the extra energy to escape the dire wolf that is on your trail. But at the same time, if you eat a cookie and it releases glucose into the bloodstream, this can also increase cortisol in the body. Controlling sugar in the body is another important tool in your stress reduction toolbox. If you need a little extra boost, consider SENSOLIN. A wide breadth of research has proven that supplementing Ceylon cinnamon, berberine, GlucoHelp, chromium, and biotin all help to reduce blood sugar. Luckily, UMZU’s most recommended blood sugar reducing supplement, SENSOLIN: Natural Blood Sugar Support Supplement, includes all five in one powerful formula. SENSOLIN is naturally-sourced and proven to help users lower their blood sugar and A1C, improve digestion, lose weight, and prevent midday blood sugar crashes. It can also improve your mood and help you power through even the most trying days when taken 15 minutes before each meal to stabilize blood sugar, taken with your post-workout meal to increase uptake of glycogen, or taken when you wake up in the morning to stabilize blood sugar all day. Try all three options to see which one works best for you. People all over the world are becoming fans of SENSOLIN because it is so effective.
4. Gratitude Journaling
Gratitude has been shown to be a powerful method for reducing stress. Gratitude journaling involves a daily listing of the aspects of your life for which you are thankful. Whether it is your accomplishments, the people whom you love, friends, family, or that glass of red wine that gets you through hard times. Research seems to back this up as well. One study published in the Journal of Management Education found that when students were asked to keep a daily gratitude journal, it showed a heightened level of meaning and engagement in the class. The finding illustrated the importance of teaching stress management techniques like gratitude journaling. Another study published in the journal Advances in Psychiatric Learning found that “expressive writing” may also have numerous emotional and physical well-being benefits. The authors write about “the demonstrated benefits [of expressive writing]”, which potentially results in a combination of immediate cognitive and/or emotional changes and longer-term cognitive and/or emotional changes.
5. Get On A Good Sleep Schedule
If you have ever been up late in the night (and who hasn’t?) and found it more difficult to handle stress the next morning, there is an easy reason why. The amount, timing, and quality of sleep has been shown to impact the amount of cortisol in the body. A review published in the journal Sleep Science found that “hypercortisolism” or excessive levels of cortisol in the brain were closely linked to sleep, metabolism, and stress levels in night shift workers. Additionally, a study published in the journal Endotext found that “[i]nsomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is associated with a 24 hour increase of ACTH and cortisol secretion, consistent with a disorder of central nervous system hyperarousal.” Finally, research published in the journal Sleep, found that sleep disturbances in older adults were associated with high daytime levels of cortisol.
Exercise, especially intense exercise, has been shown to increase cortisol levels in the body while you are doing that exercise in a reaction to the stress that you are putting on your body. But at the same time, it reduces levels of cortisol at night when it is time for bed. A study published in the journal Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy found that “[p]hysical exercise promotes a reduction in cortisol levels in individuals with major depressive disorder.” However, the level is dependent on the type of exercise.
7. Deep Breathing
You are riding along in traffic and you can feel your shoulders inching towards your ears. Your jaw is clenched and your hands are holding the steering wheel for dear life. Noticing a stress reaction as it happens is an important tool for stress reduction. One of the best ways to stop cortisol in its tracks is to practice deep breathing in the moment. Inhaling for 1,2,3, holding your breath for 1,2,3, and exhaling for 1,2,3. Repeat this breathing exercise for a few minutes and you will notice that stress is almost immediately lifted away. A small study published in the journal Neurological Sciences found this to be true. According to researchers who measured levels of stress through heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, “[t]he use of deep breathing techniques has lead to an effective improvement in the management of stress in daily life, and therefore, could exert positive influences on the stress conditions that the student must face during the course of his/her studies.” Another study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that deep breathing, along with other mindfulness exercises like yoga, reduced cortisol levels in individuals with PTSD.
8. Ginkgo Biloba
It is one of the most well known stress reducing supplements and with good reason. Ginkgo biloba has been shown in study after study to reduce stress levels. Research published in The Journal of Psychology and Pharmacology found that the gingko biloba extract reduced blood pressure and levels of cortisol in response to stressful stimuli. Researchers publishing in the journal Human Psychopharmacology found that the extract may also increase levels of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
9. Get A Plant
Those that cultivate plants have also been shown to experience lower levels of stress. According to research out of Texas A&M, the influence of plants can increase memory retention up to 20 percent. “The effect of nature in the home and in the workplace serves to stimulate both the senses and the mind, improving mental cognition and performance.” Whether it is plants inside the home or taking a walk in the woods, greenery has a dramatic impact on how we feel.
10. Maintain Your Social Network
This does not refer to social media. Cortisol levels are at their highest when you feel alone. Maintaining healthy relationships is important for stress reduction, according to research. Kids that grew up with warm healthy relationships with their parents had lower levels of cortisol as measured in strands of their hair, according to researchers publishing in the journal Clinical Child Adolescent Psychology. Another study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that men experienced lower levels of cortisol in response to supportive and loving partners. Women did not experience the same reduction in stress response, though it is unclear why.
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