One of the most stressful times of the year is the holiday season. Yes, it is the season of giving. But one of the biggest stressors is on giving the best presents and throwing the best parties. With so much pressure revolving around our performance it is easy to see how things can quickly get out of hand. We all want to be as amazing as we are online. Whom amongst us doesn’t like to focus on all the positives happening in their lives without posting any of the struggles?
The Roller Coaster of Life
Now, while I am all for focusing on the positives in an attempt to attract even more in the future, it is also just as important to remember the lows. Or at the very least acknowledge them. For those of you, like me, who understand that perfection in reality is much harder to achieve than the internet makes it out to be. It is important that we take some time out of each day to destress. While we might not have the same stressors as our ancestors. Such as finding food, shelter, and fighting off a multitude of natural predators. Our modern lifestyles are filled with an even higher amount of stressors.
Why Cortisol is Important
By now I am sure you must be asking yourself what is the harm in a little stress? It is true, stress when applied correctly can have multiple benefits. For example, the stress of a deadline can help you complete a project on a shorter time frame. Or even in the event of an attacker, it can provide your body with the energy it needs to fight or flee. While a little stress can be beneficial from time to time constant or excessive can be extremely harmful.
The Power Behind Cortisol
Stress is triggered by a number of different hormones. The most abundant contributing hormone to stress being Cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands can be found on the top of each kidney. While Cortisol is mainly known for its involvement in the bodies response to stress it also serves other purposes. Cortisol assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels, balancing metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even in the formation of memories. Its natural effects on water and salt balance, make it ideal for aiding in the regulation of blood pressure. In women, Cortisol also plays a key role in the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
The Harmful Effects it Can Have
Clearly, Cortisol plays a significant role in our health and well being. Unfortunately, for most of us the balancing act that is in constant motion within our bodies can lead to irregularities within the abundance of this hormone. Cortisol is the perfect example of the phrase ‘less is more’. Given today’s high stress lifestyle having too little Cortisol can be extremely rare. However, when it does occur more often than not it is much easier to increase Cortisol in your system than it is to reduce it. This article will include a number of ways to help you lower your Cortisol levels naturally. However, due to the rarity of too low levels and given the ease of increasing Cortisol through stressful situations the article will not cover any additional ways to increase Cortisol levels.
Need a Pick Me Up?
There are a number of different issues that can occur when you have too little of Cortisol. These signs and symptoms are a great way to help you indicate if you are at a high risk of these levels being off. If our Cortisol levels become too low it can be detected by the following indicators: chronic fatigue, reduced stamina, crying episodes without cause, trouble staying asleep, low blood pressure (which can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting), slow recovery with injuries, reduced stress tolerance (people who do not handle stress well), salt cravings, and even low blood sugar levels (which cause slumps in energy levels and mood swings). As mentioned prior, low Cortisol levels are very rare. The most individuals are dealing with an excess of Cortisol levels.
When The Stress is Too Much!
What happens when we have too much Cortisol? When Cortisol levels are in excess in can have devastating effects. Some of the signs and symptoms you should keep an eye out for include: feeling overly alert yet exhausted, difficulty falling and or staying asleep, feeling anxious or nervousness, easily irritated, memory lapse, easily distracted, craving sugar, weight gain (especially around the waist), indigestion, GERD and other digestive issues, as well as skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. The unfortunate reality is that we all display at least one, if not multiple, of these signs and symptoms. Due to our constant exposure to stress from looming deadlines, money woes, and even the foods we eat. We are in a near constant exposure to stressful situations.
A Breath of Fresh Air
There are several safe and all natural ways to reduce your Cortisol levels. Aromatherapy, for example, utilizes the scent of essential oils to naturally realign the chemicals within your body. There are a number of essential oils that have been shown to reduce stress levels as well as Cortisol levels. Some of the top picks are: lavender, rosemary, bergamont, grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, copaiba, and ylang ylang. Aromatherapy is a great way to help lower your stress and Cortisol levels with ease and the smallest risk of side effects. Some people may have an allergic reaction to them and as a safety precaution you should test the oils in small doses to determine if you fall into this category.
You Are What You Eat
One of my favorite ways to naturally lower stress and Cortisol levels is with food. To be honest, I have never been big on eating. But I love to cook and bake. Not to mention nutrition is one of the fastest ways to naturally reset anything within your body. Some foods that can help naturally reduce your Cortisol levels include: wild salmon, citrus fruits, green tea, dark chocolate, turmeric, chamomile, black tea, berries, garlic, almonds, avocado, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and grapes. Not only have these foods have been proven to help reduce stress, they are also known for aiding in weight loss! This is largely due to the fact that most weight gain is caused due to excess or prolonged exposure to Cortisol. That’s right, balancing out your Cortisol comes with a ton of benefits.
What is On Your Plate?
Whenever you have the ability to give someone an excuse to eat candy I think you will find that you don’t have to really push them into it. There is a reason. Candy is delicious! That is what makes it my number one go to when helping my clients lower their stress and Cortisol levels. While I have come up with a number of tasty treats to do just that this article will cover utilize multiple stress reducing foods, and even additional supplements. Today’s recipe is a new twist on an old favorite, chocolate almond butter cups. Get ready to feel the stress of the day melt away with these calming treats.
Calming Almond Cups
Makes 20 Candies
- ¼ Cup Almond Butter
- 1 ¼ Cup Dark Chocolate
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tbs Raw Coconut Oil
- ½ tsp Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 ½ Tbs Maple Syrup
Place butter, syrup, powder, and salt into bowl and mix together well. In a double boiler (saucepan filled with boiling water with glass or metal bowl on top) melt chocolate and oil together. Take silicone cupcake sheet pan or stainless steel treated with non-stick element (you can also use an ice cube tray). Pour a small amount of melted chocolate into container of your choice. Let setup for five minutes in refrigerator. Next apply a small amount of nut filling into container followed by another layer of melted chocolate. Return to the refrigerator for an additional 5-10 minutes until set and enjoy. Store in cool temp (doesn’t have to be in the refrigerator just somewhere at or below 70 degrees) and enjoy!
Find Out More
For even more great recipes be sure to subscribe. Everyone is unique and as such your health care routine should reflect that. That is why I am dedicated to helping you create a health care routine that fits more than just your health care needs. It should be something that fits into you lifestyle to ensure that you will stick with it. The best way to guarantee results is by consistently taking steps in the direction you want to go. If you need help reaching your health goals I am always here to talk and I would be more than happy to help you find safe all natural solutions that work for you. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or leave a comment below. You deserve to live a happy and healthy life. What is stopping you?