Now that you have asked yourself those important 10 questions that I suggested in my last blog post called "Too Much Cortisol? These 10 Questions will tell you", let’s talk about what you can do to reduce your Cortisol levels.
Pray or Meditate –To most Americans this almost seems like a punishment. Maybe it comes from having to sit in a corner when we were little. Actually though, 10 minutes or more of quiet time helps us enormously. If we haven’t done this in a long time, we may find our minds wandering to all of those tasks that we “have to get done”. I suggest keeping a notepad next to you so that you can write them down. As you read through them later, you may find that they are not as important as they seem in our urgency to dash off and do. For me, laying out those things that I am thinking about helps me to order my steps so that my day is not filled with backtracking, but also, I feel that I am guided and directed to better answers to some of my dilemmas than I might have come up with on my own.
– and this doesn’t just mean write a check. In fact, writing a check is often too easy and does not accomplish the results you were hoping for. Most of us learn by doing, so when someone comes along side of us and shows the “how” and then helps us to do a thing for ourselves, this is redemptive compassion. It doesn’t produce the “entitlement” idea but rather gives the person or persons a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. This is truly a win-win situation.
– Robin Coussins was told that he would never walk again, after suffering from injuries resulting from a fall. He was determined, so he rented every comedy movie that he could find and spent hours “laughing his head off”. Not only did he rise up and walk, but all of his other bodily functions were restored as well.
Play with animals
– There is a reason that the Veteran’s Administration pairs up soldiers suffering from PTSD with animals. Our furry friends do marvelous things inside of our bodies. Stroking these wonderful beings fill our bodies with endorphins, oxytocin and many other self-healing hormones.
Have a healthy sex life
– Those with an active sex life live longer. Sex boosts our immune systems, calms our minds, makes us more tolerant of others, reduces our chances of heart attack or stroke, releases endorphins, so we feel less pain, helps us to sleep better AND lowers our cortisol levels. Please understand that I am talking about a monogamous relationship. Jumping from partner to partner has risks that I am not discussing here.
Express yourself creatively
– Again, when we feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment, it releases endorphins, reduces pain, reduces anxiety and depression, reduces blood pressure, increases our immune system and lowers our cortisol levels. (Does this list sound familiar?)
Get a massage and/or get a chiropractic adjustment
– Both of these accent your parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and relax” part. Most of us are constantly on the go, so our sympathetic or “fight or flight” part is overworking. This is what causes the cortisol to be activated in the first place, so by activating the rest and relax mode, those cortisol levels come down.
– Being an active member of a group enables us to feel supported as well as giving us opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. People who regularly attend church services or other organizations that reach out to others live 10 to 15 years longer than those who don't.
Life is to be enjoyed, not tolerated or survived only. As our “winter” recedes, come out into nature and breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and the relationships that bring joy into your life. We all will be better for it.