Running on High Cortisol, Sis? Read this.
Do you find yourself struggling to relax or feeling constantly stressed? Do you turn to unhealthy habits to cope with your day-to-day life? If so, you may be dealing with the effects of high cortisol levels. Your body produces a hormone called “cortisol” in response to stress. When cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods, it can lead to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. These may include anxiety, depression, weight gain, and more. If you’re feeling the effects of high cortisol, it’s important to take a step back and recognize what’s happening.
Change the Venue
One simple strategy to manage cortisol levels is to remove yourself from the stressful environment. If you find yourself overwhelmed at work, tell your boss you need to take five minutes to cool down. If you are your own boss, be kind to yourself and take that five-minute break. Take a quick walk, grab a cup of tea, or simply find a quiet place to sit and breathe.
Remember, stress can be contagious. Leaving a tense environment, even for just a few minutes, can give you the necessary mindset to get back to work with a calm and focused mind (easier said than done, I know!).
Engage your Vagus Nerve
Your vagus nerve runs through your body, connecting various organs and systems. This nerve is responsible for influencing your heart rate, digestion, and more. Engaging the vagus nerve can effectively calm your body, providing a counterbalance to stress.
One easy way to activate your vagus nerve is to place your hand over your heart and inhale deeply, expanding your rib cage. Hold your breath for a moment, and then exhale slowly. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes and feel the calming effect.
Self-regulation can be a powerful way to reduce stress and control cortisol levels. Understanding how to self-regulate and lower cortisol has been one of the greatest gifts I gave myself. It has literally changed how I relate to people and most importantly how I SHOW UP to the people who matter most.
We know from the Polyvagal Theory created by Dr. Stephen Porges that our nervous system, physiological responses, and emotional responses intertwine which is why breathwork, humming, gargling, singing, rebounding, bouncing and vibrating work. l love combining breathwork with Lime Essential Oil because I immediately feel uplifted and I know using EO’s can get a little “woo-woo” for some us but thankfully there’s research to back up why this combo works (PMID: 37175176; PMID: 36552586). If breathwork isn’t your thing – diffuse your favorite citrus essential oil while you bounce or vibrate. Just make sure whatever essential oil you choose is therapeutic grade and organic, if possible.
You are not Alone
You can reduce stress and control cortisol levels by implementing simple strategies. You can also build resilience. Be kind to yourself. Take necessary breaks. Remind yourself that self-care isn’t selfish but essential for a healthy, fulfilling life.