Easy Ways To Lower Your Stress And Cortisol Levels

Balance is the name of the game when it comes to a healthy mind and body. Too much or too little rest, food, or exercise is enough to throw that delicate balance out of whack. When it comes to stress, we are more often than not looking for ways to lower it. But as it turns out, a little stress does the body good.

Moderate amounts of your body's main stress hormone, cortisol, is essential for functioning throughout the day (via MindBodyGreen). When your body is experiencing a healthy amount of this hormone, it provides you with a helpful boost to your immune system, memory, and alertness (via Healthline).

While mild amounts of stress and cortisol can help your brain and body function, too much of it can negatively impact your immune system and cognitive functioning, according to NPR. It also puts you at a higher risk for many health problems and is even linked to premature death. Though you may not always be able to control the stressful events that occur in your life, there are a variety of things you can do to manage stress so you can maintain a balanced mind and body.

Easy ways to reduce stress

According to Healthline, some easy ways to reduce stress and cortisol levels are through breathing practices, yoga, and supplements. Breathing exercises are an excellent way to manage stress because all it takes is a working set of lungs. The next time you're feeling frazzled, focus on taking slow, conscious breaths deep into your belly and then exhaling slowly back out again. This type of slow, focused breathing triggers your body's relaxation response, sending a signal to your brain that it's safe to let go and relax (via Healthline).

Moving your body is another excellent way to manage stress. Yoga in particular has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase feelings of well-being, per Healthline. If you're looking to reduce stress, you may also want to talk with your doctor about adding supplements into your routine. According to MindBodyGreen, supplements that may help to reduce stress are ashwagandha, omega-3s, and L-theanine.

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen that has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels over time, per MindBodyGreen. Adaptogens, like ashwagandha and ginseng, are thought to help your body adapt better to stress, although more research is needed on the topic (via WebMD).

According to MindBodyGreen, omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil, fish oil, and seafood are also thought to reduce cortisol levels and improve overall mental health. L-theanine, which you can find in green tea, can relax the brain and reduce overall levels of cortisol as well.