13 Ways I’ll Try To Reduce Cortisol Levels

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13 Ways to Reduce CortisolRecently, 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.

10. Laughter.

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.

13. Sex.

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.

Posted in Basic Health, Emotional Stress, Energy, Weight Loss | Comments Off

Overcome Chest Congestion

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I have suffered from Asthma ever since my stint in the Army in Desert Storm.  So, when my sinuses start draining into my lungs, I get real worried.  I can’t function when my lungs get congested.  I have no air.  I can only do things that require sitting.  I definitely can’t let the mucus settle in for very long.

I woke up on Friday not being able to breathe well because of the congestion.  I was determined not to stay like this so I went to my herbal stash and found some herbs and essential oils to use as a compress.

I grabbed some black pepper, red pepper, oregano spice, and clove spice and ground together in my mixer.  I then mixed together with a little massage oil,  3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil, and 3 drops Peppermint essential oil.  I rubbed some Vicks vapor rub on my chest first and then applied my mixture over the top and rubbed until blended.  I put a wet wash cloth over the rub and put my heating pad on over that to get it all hot.  I did this twice daily.

It gets a little messy but is so worth it.  All of my coughs have produced flem.  It is annoying to dry cough and I have avoided it this time.  I am still struggling a little but I am fast on the road to recovery.  I was actually able to do laundry today without getting out of breath.

Posted in Basic Health, Chest Congestion | Comments Off

A Couple of Tricks to Free Your Mind

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Keeping things bottled up inside you can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your mind, spirit and body.  There is no need for you to remember everything.  You can release your mind to focus on just what it needs to.

Simpleology.com

I use Simpleology.com every morning to BRAIN DUMP everything going on in my head.  I type everything thing I am thinking about doing, need to do, don’t want to do now — whatever.  This website has a sorting feature that allows you to sort through all the tasks rambling in your head in order to find what you need to do today, what can wait to another day and what just needs to be tossed.  Talk about freeing your mind!!!  I no longer have to carry a long list of to do’s in my head.  If I want to remember something, I TEXT my thought to the “Dream Catcher” feature of this website and it will hold it for me to deal with later.  If there are some long term items I wish to handle, there is a “Mental Lockbox” to hold all of that now-useless information until it is needed.  THIS SERVICE IS FREE!!! So, what are you waiting for?

 

journal

Record your thoughts, feelings and history into a journal.  I use these cheap marble composition books. Every year at the beginning of the school year, Walmart sells this books for $0.50 each.  I stock up.  They have a variety of styles and I like to mix them up.  Every morning when I am reading my scriptures, I record something in my journal.  Sometimes, I just record the previous day’s events or loved ones birthdays.  There are times that I record something spiritual that has taught me or uplifted me.  This practice of writing in my journal has allowed me a path to safely share my feelings and has helped me heal from physical and sexual abuse I received as a child.  I reduce my stress by “venting” to my journal. As writing, I try to remember that one day my children, grand children and so one will be reading my words so I keep it as PG rated as possible.  However, I won’t hide the truth from them because there are lessons to be learned in my mistakes.  The very act of recording my emotions and thoughts in my journal actually free my mind to work on the tasks I have at hand.  It is a wonderful feeling!

blog

I am constantly reading some Self-Help or How-To book.  The many “megabytes” of information I am pouring into my brain is overwhelming sometimes.  I have found a way to gather, process and retain this information WITHOUT having to fully store it in my head.  I have created a private blog with WordPress.com and have made sure that it is not open for others to see.  When I go through a book, I take bullet point notes in blog entry, set the category as the name of the book, the topics it cover and such.  This allows the information to be categorized and stored for when I need it.  When I need to know how to plant flowers, well, I just click the plant flowers category link.  I won’t have to read the book again and yet I won’t have to store too much in my head either.  I have a business “brain” blog and a personal one.  It has made my life a lot more convenient as well as less stressful because my brain capacity is not being used to the fullest yet I am learning new things all the time.

Try out at least one of these ideas and see if over a little time life doesn’t seem as stressful.  Let me know how it works for you!

 

 

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10 Easy Relaxation Ideas

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SAM_0619

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Everything is so fast paced. Our To-Do list just keep getting longer. Deadlines, Expectations, Appointments — all seem to grow into an unstoppable force.  Smart phones and tablets hold us hostage to constant stimulation.  We are more “social” than any other generation in history.  I love logging onto Facebook to see who is walking their dog now or who just got through eating dinner.  I am guilty of such social ramblings myself.  Our generation is expected to do more, handle more and just be more.

Our bodies can’t handle constant stimulation.  We are an unique “animal” which requires release from adrenaline in order to be healthy. We need to play and we need to relax.  We need time to allow our minds to just wonder and process all unconscious data we have rambling around.

I had the awesome opportunity to spend 10 years of my life as a massage therapist.  I retired because I got pregnant with twins and my body just can’t handle working on people any more.  However, my heart will always turn to the lessons I learned when it comes with dealing with stressed.

  1. Breathe. Go to a quiet area, close your eyes and just breathe deeply.  Repeat 5 times. You will be amazed at how much you feel your shoulders relax.
  2. Pray. Don’t just pray, but LISTEN.  When you speak to your Heavenly Father, take time to listen to what He wants to tell you.  He speaks with feelings and thoughts.  You can always know when He is speaking to you because you have a great sense of peace come over you.
  3. Write in a Journal. I use a journal to write what is bothering me, what I am happy about, and what is in my life.  I purge my brain and heart of my thoughts and feelings so that I can process them efficiently.
  4. Simpleology.  I don’t keep a running To-Do list in my head because it stresses me out. I use the skills taught at Simpleology.com to help me process my goals, to-do lists and actions that I must take.  There is a section there called “Mental Lockbox” which allows me to store things I don’t want to forget but don’t want to store in my head either.  This service is free, so why not use it?  Be sure to do the training it provides so you can use the tools more effectively.
  5. Drink Lots of Water.  Water will flush out the toxins in your body.  It will dilute the caffeine you ingest so your nerve endings won’t be stimulated to the point of unneeded stress.
  6. Soak in a Hot Bath.  Taking time to just relax in hot water will allow your mind to release and your muscles to relax.  If you don’t have a tub, use a shower.  It does help.
  7. Aromatherapy. I love essential oils. Lavender is one of many that calm your senses and allow you to relax. I use a Therapeutic Grade Lavender Essential Oil .  Click Here and give it a try.
  8. Get a massage.  If you can afford it, please go get a massage from a licensed massage therapist. You will be amazed how wonderful you will feel when you are done.  Toxins will be released and muscles will be rejuvenated.  Ideally, get one once per week but worst case scenario, try to get one every month.
  9. Sit by Water.  I love to go sit by a source of water and meditate.  By meditate I mean that I just let go and relax and focus on what the water is doing.  There is something so soothing about hearing or watching water work its magic.
  10. Yoga. You don’t have to embrace Eastern philosophies in order to benefit from Yoga. I use an easy, beginner’s stretching workout that releases all the muscles in my body while breathing correctly.  I feel relaxed, rejuvenated and renewed every time I spend the 15 minutes doing my program.

Finding your path to relaxation doesn’t have to be expensive or impossible.  It is mostly free and can be done in the bathroom of your work place if needed.  You can’t choose what people say and do to you. However, you CAN choose to not let their crap stress you out.  You have control over your body and you can choose to live a relaxed life.

“And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee”
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Don’t Criticize!

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criticize

 

Did you know that when you spend your time criticizing other people, you are really destroying your spirit and ruining your health?  Today, it seems that everyone is always complaining about someone else.  It is always someone else’s fault. It is easier to see what is wrong in the neighbor’s backyard instead of tending to your own.

It takes a lot of energy to focus on negative thoughts and feelings.  It makes a person tired, grumpy and unsatisfied.  Wouldn’t it be great to feel free again?

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice”
Ephesians 4:31

Try this exercise:

Write down 3 things you like about someone you want to criticize.  Every time you feel like criticizing someone, find something to praise them about.  You will feel better and you just might find that person starts becoming more than they were.

 

“Thou shall not speak evil of thy neighbor”
Doctrine and Covenants 42:27

 
 
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