Although the body has a built-in response that allows us to manage stress when performing our usual activities, nowadays dealing with stress is much harder . Aside from the risks posed by a continuously evolving coronavirus in our midst, we also worry about becoming victims of random acts of violence and of the worsening weather and climate disturbances that could affect our ordinary lives. Still it’s important for us to find ways of preventing stress from spiking up cortisol levels.
How Does Our Body Respond to Stressful Conditions?
The hormones released to protect our bodies from stress tend to be self-regulatory. They return to normal levels once the cause of one’s stress has been resolved or had not progressed. Generally, the systems inside our body will go back to doing their tasks. Returning to normal conditions will bring blood pressure level and heart rate back to baseline levels.
Why Chronic Stress is Harmful to Our Body
Whenever our body experiences stress, the hypothalamus sets off an alarm system that triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline hormones.
Although the rush of adrenaline increases the body’s energy supply, it also raises blood pressure and speeds up rate of the heart pumping action. On the other hand, the primary stress hormone called cortisol boosts the availability of substances needed to repair tissues affected by the stress response. At the same time, cortisol hormones trigger the release of more glucose in the bloodstream to supply the brain with more energy.
However, the detriments to such occurrences, especially if it becomes perennial is that cortisol also restrains functions not related to a fight-or-flight situation. Not only does it suppress hormones that help in growth, in reproductive and in digestive processes, cortisol also changes the immune system’s responses.
While the fight-or flight reaction is activated whenever stressors are constantly present, chronic stress can disrupt the body’s important processes for a long period of time. Constant stress can also make us vulnerable to the risks of developing the following health problems:
- Impairment in concentration and memory;
- Difficulty in managing weight excess;
- Difficulty in sleeping;
- Stroke episodes or heart attack due to high blood pressure and elevated heart rates.
- Constant headaches;
- Muscle pain and tension;
Ways to Naturally Reduce or Remove Cortisol in Our Body
The good news is that individuals can lessen their cortisol levels by knowing how to reduce cortisol in order to manage the stress triggers disrupting other bodily functions. The following have been proven as effective methods of reducing high levels cortisol hormones:
Keeping a healthy diet with particular attention to food rich in B12 and fish oil a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
1. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, whilst getting quality sleep;
2. Trying out various relaxation methods such as breathing exercises and meditation;
3. Developing new hobbies or new interests;
4. Working out;
5. Maintaining positive and healthy connections with family, friends, and partners as they are the ones we turn to for support and comfort during stressful times and;
6. Take herbal supplements like ashwagandha, a traditional medicine proven effective in Asian countries, for lowering cortisol levels.