Monday, May 16, 2016

11 Holistic and Easy Ways To Balance Your Cortisol - Back To Basics(updated version)




I have suffered from fluctuating Cortisol levels for sometime.  I actually did not become aware of this until about three years ago.  They say a little bit information is dangerous, and I guess in my case that is true. Once I found out that I had some Cortisol level issues I did a bunch of research to find out what would work for me.  The suggestions below are things that I have done to keep my Cortisol levels under control.  One of the things I learned is that high Cortisol and low Cortisol have some of the same symptoms. So my goal became just to get rid of the symptoms, that were driving me CRAZY! ( As always consult your medical provider when it comes to making any significant lifestyle changes - especially if you are on any medication)

First - What is Cortisol?
Simply stated Cortisol is Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenal glands which is essential to almost every process in the body and also for maintaining homeostasis.  When oyu body is under stress it goes in to the flight or fight response.  As a result your body signals the cells to increase your adrenaline and Cortisol levels. Initially your body will increase the Cortisol in response to the demand by the body.  Unfortunately, after awhile the body can't keep up with the demand of Cortisol and the Cortisol production begins to lower resulting in some not so great symptoms.  What are those symptoms? 

 Low Cortisol Levels- Symptoms 

  • night sweats
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • low energy
  • weight fluctuation 
  • heart palpatations
  • depression 
  • nervousness 
 High Cortisol Levels - Symptoms 
  • anxiety
  • cravings for salt and sweets
  • sleeplessness
  • hot and cold flashes
  • night sweats
  • weight fluctuation
  • fatigue
  • brain fog/memory issues
  • nervousness
  • increased heart palpitations
  • blood pressure spikes
  • aches and pains in the early morning
As you can see both high Cortisol levels and low Cortisol levels can bring on the same symptoms.  If you are not sure  which level is your condition, consult your medical practitioner. 

I have suffered from most of these from time to time.  I have found that I normally fall in the high Cortisol level. I also learned what cause my Cortisol levels to rise is stress.  There can be other causes for your  Cortisol that you may not know anything about.  Hence, the reason to find out what is causing the deficiency.

Whatever the cause these suggestions can help to keep your Cortisol within acceptable ranges.  I have used these solutions for  the last three years to minimize symptoms.  I have found that overall they do work.  One thing that I have learned is you have to really be in tuned with you body to understand what works best for you.  Another thing you must do is be consistent. Once you identify what works for you continue to do it.  Many times just like anything else when you stop doing something that is generally good for you, whatever you were doing that wasn't as good causes the not great symptoms to come back with a vengeance.

These are some great ways to get your Cortisol levels balanced. Sometimes you got to get back to basics: 

Get Moving
Yes you must move your body to get relief.  There are so many reasons why this is key to reducing your Cortisol.  Once reason is it get the feel good hormones increasing and decreases the need for the body to produce Cortisol. Try some movement you enjoy, walking, joggin, dancing (that is a really fun one), skating, jumping rope (okay maybe that is a bit out there) but whatever increases your movement really helps.

Yoga
One of the great stress reliever is Yoga.  The focus on breath and body placement helps to lower Cortisol.  If you have never done yoga before no worries.  There are lots of Yoga Videos on YouTube and brief videos on Instagram

Keep Your Blood Sugar Level 
Even if you are trying to loose a few pounds you must eat about every two hours to keep your Cortisol levels healthy.  You don't have to eat pizza every two hours.  You can eat something very healthy and low in fat.  Actually it also a great way to keep your metabolism going if you are trying to loose a few points.

Watch a Funny Movie - Go To A Comedy Club
Yes that's right. LAUGH.  Studies show is is one of the most effective ways to lower Cortisol.

Sleep Is Your Friend
We are a sleep deprived nation. We do not get enough rest.  In fact some pride themselves on just needing four hours of sleep a night.  This is so NOT the way to get healthy.  You need to get a good nights sleep every night at least 6 to 8 hours.

Avoid Negativity
Keep your immediate environment positive.  Listen to music that is uplifiting. Stop hanging with people who are always negative and complaining.  Monitor what you watch on TV (especially the news)  A constant does of negativity brings stress and more stress brings ...CORTISOL.

Increase Your Vitamin C 
Studies have shown that 1000mg to 1500mg daily of  Vitamin C helps to reduce Cortisol.  Eating oranges (citrus in general) strawberries, and any of the berry family is very helpful.  If you choose a supplement make sure it is not synthetic - those are a waste of money because on a very small percentage is actually absorbed by the cells.

Digital DeTox - Everyday!
Turn off all the TV's, computers, cell phones and anything else with a blue screen a couple of hours or so before bedtime.  You can still listen to relax music, read or just be ( hey what a concept).  Studies have shown that first our brains need to disconnect each day from the constant stimulus that our digital lives bring every day.  Second, the blue screens are definitely prohibitive when it comes to getting a deep sleep.  To find out more about blue screens and their impact on sleep click here.

Eat These Foods 
A steady dose of Wild Salmon, red bell pepper, beans, black tea, garlic, avocado, spinach, herb teas, fruits with vitamin C are great to help keep Cortisol levels within acceptable limits.

Massage therapy and Dry Brushing
A great way to relax, increase the blood flow, and stimulate your dopamine levels. All of which lowers Cortisol.

Magnesium
Whether it is in a pill form (not as potent) or in an Epsom salt bath or magnesium flake foot bath, all are helpful when lowering Cortisol levels.  Magnesium does help one to relax in general, so it makes sense that it ultimately helps with stress levels...which of course impact Cortisol levels.

Holistic Stress Reduction
When under stress you want to approach reducing your stress by using methods that address the needs of the mind, body and spirit.  There are many ways you can do this.  Some of these holistic suggestions I have outlined above but for more information and more detail click here for the "DeStress The Mess Journal" 

 As I stated earlier, a combination of all of these have worked for me.  You just have to experiment to see what works for you.  One thing for sure, you will begin to feel better.



Speaking of getting back to basics....


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