Recently, I have been going through some personal training to overcome a lack of competitiveness in my life. I posted on Facebook a request that my friends help me figure out ways to become more competitive in business. I, then, searched the Internet for articles pertaining to how to become more competitive. One of the articles suggested that I reduce my cortisol levels. Cortisol levels rise with stress. The more stressed out your body is, the higher your cortisol level is.
So, then began the search to find out exactly how to reduce my cortisol levels. I have tummy fat and always have had it even when working out in the Army. It has gotten worse over the years and it seems that high cortisol levels could be a factor. This makes me even more motivated to lower these levels.
So, here are the suggestions I have condensed from reading a lot of various articles and ads throughout a search.
1. Eliminate Caffeine.
WOW! That will be a hard one. I don’t drink coffee due to religious reasons but I love Pepsi. I crave at least 1 Pepsi per day. I have pulled myself off of it only to return to it within 2 weeks. I feel like I am addicted to crack or something. I tried the trick of getting caffeine free Pepsi’s for a while to wean myself off of the caffeine and it worked for a short time. However, I will need to find a long term solution to this problem. I think it will come down to mind over matter and a lot of prayer and fasting.
2. Sleep Longer.
This I can do. I have been trying to go to bed at 9pm for a while now. I use a small dosage of melatonin to help get my body ready for sleep and I try to make sure I get 8-9 hours every night. It never fails for one of the kids to wake me up in the middle of the night though which disturbs my goal of sleeping through. This will just have to do because my kids will be kids.
3. Exercise Regularly.
Duh! Everyone knows that exercise will reduce stress. Problem is, I have been lazy and need to get off my butt and get going. I have a goal set and an action plan written — now all I need is the ACTION.
4. Stabilize Blood Sugar.
I knew that stabilizing the blood sugar levels was needed to lose weight and improve over all health, but I never new that it would affect the cortisol levels directly. Diabetes runs in my family so I have to be careful of letting my blood sugar spike too often. However, I still have a lot to do in this area and will work on getting better. I love the Food Lover’s method and need to actually follow it. The theory is that you eat a portion of protein, a portion of Fast Carb and a portion of Slow Carb in a meal 3x per day. Have a 100 calorie snack between meals and before bed. A fast carb is starchy foods and a slow carb is green veggie and such. When I followed this program, I didn’t get tired throughout the day like normal. My problem is spending the time to organize the snacks ahead of time. I love to organize but don’t get around to doing it with snacks like I should. So, I will add that to my priority list and get busy!
5. Anti-Stress Supplements.
I read that Omega 3, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and a ton others I can’t remember help with lowering cortisol levels. I know that I don’t have as severe intestinal problems when I take my Krill Oil, Probiotic, Vitamins including B & C but I didn’t realize that it helped because of this.
6. Meditation, QiGong or Yoga.
I love yoga. Don’t do it enough but I love how it makes my body and mind feel. I have a QiGong DVD but have never used it. I need to dig it out and take advantage of the healing benefits it offers. It is some form of Asian body movement that aligns the Chi or something. I really need to get more instruction on it. I have used meditation before and did the “Om” thing. It did make me feel better and so I will be adding that to my relaxation regimen as well.
7. Remover Negative Surroundings.
I love this idea. I was a massage therapist for over 10 years and I could always tell what type of surroundings a person had by how tense their body was. I am a big believer in removing myself from stressful environments and situations. My mother was abused for over 17 yrs before she died of cancer. Growing up in an abusive home gave me a contrast to live by. I know how it feels to be in tension all the time and my life now allows for peace. Sometimes, we have remove negative people from our lives. My good friend just finalized her divorce 2 days ago and I jumped for joy. Her health went down hill almost immediately upon marrying this fellow. I believe it was because he was so negative all the time. He never saw the positive of any situation. He constantly had the news playing on the TV and of course there was no good news reported. Since she has kicked him to the curb, she has a lighter step, her skin looks healthier and she is happier. She has said less negatives things as well. She was turning into him for a while with all the negative talk.
8. Regular Massage.
Oh, I really love this suggestion. As a licensed massage therapist for a decade, I have hundreds of success stories in how this reduces stress immediately, immensely and chronically. There is a healing that happens when our bodies are touched with a healthy touch. It happens on a cellular level as well as a spiritual level (meaning our spirits respond well to it). I have missed getting a regular massage for so long now and I really need to find a good therapist close by to resume my treatments.
9. Soothing Music.
I had to quit listening to soothing music for a long while after retirement from massaging. My brain was so in tuned to flow with the wave length of the music that it would put me into a trance sort of. I would be able to massage in a trance like way that it seemed like I was flowing the music into their muscles and sweeping the stress right out of them. It has only been recently that I can listen again without getting “tranced” out. When I am studying for one of my college exams, I actually put this music on so that maybe the knowledge will go deeper in my brain….but maybe it is only wishful thinking.
I don’t watch enough comedies. I used to laugh all the time but have become very mission oriented in my older age. I spend my time so much on a mission that I forget to laugh. That is the great thing about having young kids still. When I have forgotten for too long, they come in and do something really silly and remind me how to live. My goal is to be more child like in my laughter and enjoy life more.
11. Spiritual Practice.
I have a firm testimony in the power of spiritual living. My family will tell you in a heart beat that mamma better have her scripture and prayer time in the morning or she is a bear all day. I love starting my day with studying the scriptures, writing in my journal and ponderously praying. I try to make time to really LISTEN for God’s answer and message. It heals my soul a little more each day.
12. Play With Animals.
I know I don’t do this enough. I am not an “animal” person, per se. I cry if they get hurt but not usually interested in playing with them. Cats are the exception. I can hold a cat all day long because they aren’t restless and they are independent. I do want to raise horses and alpacas one day to improve my relationships with animals.
Yep, I said it. Good ole fashion tumble in the hay will relieve stress. I put a disclaimer with this though. If it is done within a very safe relationship, preferably marriage, then the stress is really relieved. However, if it done whimsically, then there are chances of other stresses sneaking up to bite you in the butt such as disease, unwanted pregnancy, and complicated relationships. I am not a prude yet I feel it regarded too lightly.
So, I will try to incorporate these ideas to reduce cortisol into my life. It might take a little elbow grease to make myself actually do some of these things in a consistent manner, but I have decided that I will put my all into it. Maybe, the very acts of determination in reducing cortisol will increase my competitiveness (my inner drive) by themselves. Let me know any results you have had with these ideas.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a physician or any other “authority” figure. These are just ideas I found for myself to try. Consult your physician before you try any of them to make sure you stay healthy. I can’t guarantee the results, accuracy or much else when it comes to how it affects your body, so please check with your doctor.