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5 Ways to Lower Cortisol in under 5 minutes


5 Ways to Lower Cortisol in under 5 minutes

If you're reading this, chances are you already know a few lifestyle habits to support stress levels daily, such as eating a stress-reducing diet, getting proper sleep and taking magnesium.

Incorporating these things are wonderful ways to reduce stress overall and should not be overlooked.

But, even if we're doing *all the things*, stress is still bound to strike. 

This doesn't mean anything is wrong with you or that you're doing something wrong. It's actually healthy for your body to be responding to the triggers and stressors around you!

The trick is to not get stuck in the stress response. But how to do that?

Here are 5 science-backed practices you can do in under 5 minutes to help lower cortisol, the stress hormone, and bring your body back to homeostasis after a stressful trigger.

1. Deep Belly Breathing

Have you ever caught yourself suddenly taking a big breath while sitting at your desk working, and realized that you weren't actually breathing?

When we are tense and stressed, we often start taking shallow breaths from the chest. This keeps us in a fight-or-flight stress response.

Studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing (or deep belly breathing) helps lower cortisol and stimulates the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it helps shift our nervous system into the parasympathetic "rest and digest" state.

Belly breathing is simple! Here's what to do:

  1. Sit or lie down on a comfortable, flat surface.
  2. Relax your shoulders, shifting them downward away from the ears.
  3. Put a hand on your chest and a hand on your stomach.
  4. Without straining or pushing, breathe in through your nose until you can’t take in any more air.
  5. Feel the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, expanding your stomach and sides of the waist. Your chest remains relatively still.
  6. Purse your lips as if sipping through a straw. Exhale slowly through your lips for 4 seconds and feel your stomach gently contracting.
  7. Repeat these steps several times for best results.

2. Orienting

Orienting the somatic practice of scanning your environment for signs of safety to help shift your nervous system into a parasympathetic state.

Taking in millions of bits of information per second, our autonomic nervous system is constantly scanning the environment for signs of danger or safety.

The thing is, there's a lot more stimuli around us today that our bodies could pick up as "danger" than our ancient nervous systems are used to.

A passing ambulance, a stern email from our boss, a "we need to talk" text...all day long, our bodies may be picking up on "danger, danger, danger."

But we can play an active role by intentionally orienting to our environment and looking for signs of safety, to help calm our nervous system!

Here is how to practice orienting:

  1. Start by slowly looking around your environment. Taking in small bits of information at a time, noticing the details such as the colors, the shapes, the shadows. In particular, notice anything you can see that brings you a sense of peace or happiness, such as a flower or the blue sky.
  2. Next, close your eyes and scan your environment for what you can hear. Notice the obvious sounds, and the more subtle, quieter sounds. Again, notice if you can pick up on any sounds that bring you peace or happiness, such as music, or a child laughing.
  3. After that, repeat the same process with things you can smell, things you can feel, and things you can taste in your environment.

After just 5 minutes of intentionally looking for signs of safety, peace, and happiness in your environment, see if you notice a shift in your body.

A good sign that it's working is if you spontaneously yawn or sigh, this is your nervous system shifting into a parasympathetic state.

3. GABA & L-Theanine 

GABA is both an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it helps slow the activity of the "excitatory" neurotransmitters like cortisol and adrenaline. 

Studies have found that participants felt more calm, less worried, and less stressed after taking GABA. 

L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, is known for it's calming effects on the body. Studies have shown that participants who supplemented with L-Theanine felt relaxed, yet focused. L-Theanine also helps boost levels of GABA in the brain.

Mood Chews contain 130mg of GABA and 90mg of L-Theanine to help lower cortisol levels, calm the nervous system, and stop the stress response.*

Not only are Mood Chews packed with cortisol-reducing ingredients, but the citrus and berry flavors help increase bioavailability of the ingredients. Customers often notice a difference in their stress levels within 20 minutes.*

4. Child's pose

Child's pose is a yoga posture that helps shift your nervous system into a parasympathetic (rest and digest) response. 

When our forehead is resting on the floor (or table or our hands), we are stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve helps regulate our nervous system. When we put pressure on it, it helps to lower blood pressure and slow our heart rate. It also helps to decrease levels or cortisol and reduce tension. Child’s pose also allows the opportunity to draw our senses inward.

You can modify this position by widening your knees, or putting a pillow or yoga block under your forehead. Even just getting into this posture for 2-5 minutes can help shift your body into a more relaxed state!

5. Give yourself a hug (or hug a pillow or a human if they're around!)

In one hugging study, almost 200 people (partners in couples that were living together) were given the very stressful task of public speaking. But before the task, half the group had the benefit of a 20-second hug from their partner, while the other half just rested quietly on their own. Both men and women in the hugging group showed lower stress levels: Having a supportive partner hug them for 20 seconds actually decreased stress.

And don't worry if there's no one else around to hug--research also shows that hugging yourself, or hugging a pillow, can have the same effect! 

So, the next time you're feeling stressed, you have 5 quick and easy tools in your toolbox! Take a few deep breaths, scan your environment for signs of safety, get a hug, drop into child's pose, or take a Mood Chew!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider before adding a new supplement to your routine.