Stress Reducing Tips

Since getting rid of all stress is not a goal anyone can attain, try these tips to help get Cortisol levels and weight under control all the while improving overall health.
1. Exercise
Even it is just a few push-ups, a quick jog around the block, or flexing your calf muscles.  Physical activity makes your body believe you are escaping the source of stress.  In addition, exercise makes your blood circulate more quickly which helps rid the body of excess Cortisol.
2. Eat Slowly
Stress can lead to a propensity to scarf down food which generally means bigger portions and weight gain.  Taking the time to savor each bite will also allow your brain to receive the “I’m full” message so that you will eat less.  It has been hypothesized that paying attention to feelings of fullness may lower Cortisol as well.
3. Stop Deprivation Dieting
It has been shown that constant and strict dieting can increase Cortisol levels considerably, and when Cortisol levels spike, blood sugar spikes and then crashes. This crash in blood sugar decreases self-control. It is a vicious cycle.  The best thing is to eat healthful throughout the day in the form of 5 or 6 small meals to keep blood sugar stable.
4. Cravings are OK

If you are intensely craving something sweet or salty it is better to indulge in a small amount, than to binge on a large amount later on. This can also help control Cortisol since you will not be stressing about depriving yourself

5. Reduce Caffeine
Caffeine can compound the effects of stress by increasing Cortisol levels more than stress alone.  A recent study found that consuming the equivalent of 2 ½ cups of coffee while under mild stress boosted Cortisol significantly.

6. Stress Reducing Nutrients
The body can be stressed when there are deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium which can lead to increased Cortisol levels and food cravings

7. Get your Zzzzz
One of the most effective ways to combat the effects of stress is to get enough sleep.  In fact, sleep deprivation creates additional stress.  Most experts recommend 7-9 hours per night.  Studies have found that lack of sleep contributes to an increase in Cortisol and appetite as well as weight gain.