Chronic stress can be a huge bummer. I've definitely experienced it, and it's never any easier just because you're more familiar with it. Stress is actually caused by a rise in your cortisol levels, so managing them can really help you out. That's why I spoke to a few doctors about interesting products that help reduce your cortisol levels.
"Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glad when you experience either physical or emotional stress," said Dr. Rachel Cartlon Abrams, the author of Bodywise: Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing. "The trouble we have is that we stay stressed, even after the event, and with chronic stress, we have chronically high cortisol, which has a number of bad effects in the body, including raising blood sugar, reducing muscle, limiting immune function, and adding to fat gain around our midsection."
Dr. Anna Garrett, PharmD, told me that, "We live in a world where we are connected 24/7, and most of us live very stressful lives that we have just come to accept as normal. So our bodies are continuously flooded with cortisol, so that we can respond to all of this stress." She suggests that finding ways to better manage everyday life can help reduce high cortisol levels. Both Dr. Abrams and Dr. Garrett recommended a number of products that will get your levels in check.
1Color The Stress Away
Sometimes the best way to decompress is to unplug. But some people can't sit still for a long time (the mere thought of that actually stresses me out). I always travel with an adult coloring book so that I can unplug, not stare at a screen, and just aimlessly draw. It's super relaxing. Your stress will just melt away. One user said, "The guide at the beginning of each chapter gives the owner an opportunity to reflect on an approach to that section's therapeutic value." So you'll be able to really reflect on what is stressing you out and how to fix it.
2Create A Relaxing Environment
There's nothing better than sitting in a super relaxing room. Create the ultimate stress-free environment with an aromatherapy diffusor. Dr. Garrett believes that lack of sleep, or interrupted sleep can cause cortisol levels to rise. An aromatherapy diffusor will give out a slow mist of water and essential oils. Plus, there are seven soothing LED light options which can also create a calming effect for you. The best part is that it's super quiet and turns off by itself when the water runs out, so it won't disturb you while you sleep.
3...With Essential Oils
Dr. Garrett told me that using essential oils like lavender, frankincense, and myrrh can really lower cortisol levels. They're relaxing and calming scents that can be put in your new aromatherapy diffusor (or you can rub it on your pressure points). Only a few drops will do the trick. This set also comes with several oils that reduce anxiety and help stimulate drowsiness like lemongrass oil, lemon oil, and patchouli oil.
4Take A Deep Breath With Meditation
Dr. Abrams tells her patients that doing guided meditation is a fantastic way to reduce cortisol levels. It's another really good option when it comes to disconnecting and really taking a minute to be with your thoughts. This set is great because each card (there are 50) gives the user detailed instructions on how to do the yoga pose, it tells them the benefits of it, and it even gives an affirmation for the day. You can either use one card, or you can do a sequence of cards if you're having an especially stressful day.
5Regulate Cortisol Levels With Vitamin C
If you're looking for a way to regulate your cortisol levels longterm, you might consider taking vitamin C if you aren't already. Dr. Garrett told me that introducing supplements into your diet can help. Aside from regulating cortisol, vitamin C also improves your immune system, helps your vision, and can give you a healthier heart. These vitamins are great because they're also made with rose hips and bioflavonoids, which work together for you to get the most benefits out of them.
6Reduce Stress With A Bestseller
Dr. Garrett said that she often recommends books on mindfulness to her patients. She really likes the author Jon Kabat-Zinn. He has two books Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living. Both books teach the reader meditation techniques that when used correctly can reduce stress and heal illnesses. One user said, "This book is so good that if I could, I'd give it 10 out of five stars...Every chapter makes a clear point, and many chapters close with a concrete 'actionable item,' like a homework exercise to put the concepts and thoughts springing from that chapter into real practice."
7Don't Let Stress Make You Feel Restless
Dr. Abrams told me that adding Phosphatidylserine to your vitamin regiment is a good idea when trying to feel less stressed. It has got several benefits like boosting short-term memory, reducing decline in mental function, enhancing concentration, promoting mood, and reducing exercise-induced stress. One user said she bought this supplement for her husband who has a super high stress job and often had trouble falling sleep after a busy day, "He has trouble turning his mind off. I have tried many things to help him rest, but with very little success until this supplement. Within two days he was finally able to fall asleep and stay asleep."
8Measure Your Stress Levels And Improve Your Response
"HeartMath Institute has a wonderful biofeedback device that has been demonstrated to reduce cortisol," Dr. Abrams told me. Attach the tracker to your ear, and plug it into your iPhone. Follow the instructions and throughout the session different responses will be measured. It will help you focus on positive memories and emotional states which will ultimately reduce the amount of stress you have (which means lower cortisol levels). Be careful with the sensor, as users do agree that it's incredibly fragile!
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