How To Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally? Say Goodbye To Stress

By Kendra Reed

Updated On

Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” plays a crucial role in our body’s response to stress. While cortisol is essential for our survival, consistently high levels can lead to various health problems. In this article, we’ll explore what cortisol is, how it relates to stress, and most importantly, how to lower cortisol levels naturally to promote overall well-being.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and it helps regulate various bodily functions.
  2. Chronic stress can lead to consistently high cortisol levels, which can negatively impact physical and mental health.
  3. Lowering cortisol levels naturally involves lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and effective stress management techniques.

What is cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys. It plays a vital role in regulating metabolism, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and immune function. Cortisol also helps the body respond to stress by triggering the “fight or flight” response, which prepares the body to face or flee from a perceived threat.

The connection between cortisol and stress

When we experience stress, whether physical or psychological, our body releases cortisol to help us cope with the challenge. In short-term situations, this is a normal and healthy response. However, when stress becomes chronic, our body may consistently produce high levels of cortisol, which can lead to various health issues.

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What happens when cortisol is high?

Consistently high cortisol levels can have numerous negative effects on the body, including:

  1. Weight gain, particularly around the midsection
  2. Weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to illness
  3. Digestive problems, such as bloating and irritable bowel syndrome
  4. Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression
  5. Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
  6. Impaired cognitive function, including memory and concentration issues

How to lower cortisol levels naturally?

Fortunately, there are several natural ways to lower cortisol levels and promote a healthier stress response:

Exercise Regularly

Engaging in moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, can help reduce the stress hormone levels and improve overall mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

Practice relaxation techniques

Stress-reducing activities like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help lower stress and promote a sense of calm. Set aside time each day for relaxation, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Maintain a balanced diet

Eating a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help regulate cortisol levels. Avoid processed foods, excessive caffeine, and added sugars, which can contribute to increased cortisol production.

Get enough sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep routine, create a relaxing bedtime environment, and avoid screens for at least an hour before bed to promote better sleep and lower cortisol levels.

Connect with others

Social support is crucial for managing stress and lowering cortisol levels. Make time for friends and family, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help when needed.

Engage in hobbies

Participating in activities you enjoy, such as gardening, reading, or painting, can help lower stress and cortisol levels. Make time for hobbies that bring you joy and help you unwind.

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can increase cortisol levels, so it’s essential to consume them in moderation. Stick to no more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day and limit caffeine intake to 400mg or less daily.


Maintaining healthy cortisol levels is essential for overall physical and mental well-being. By understanding the connection between cortisol and stress, and implementing natural strategies to lower the stress hormone levels, you can take control of your health and reduce the negative impact of chronic stress. Remember, making small lifestyle changes can lead to significant improvements in your stress response and quality of life.

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Q: How can I tell if my cortisol levels are too high?

A: Symptoms of high cortisol levels include weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, and skin problems. A blood test can confirm if your cortisol levels are elevated.

Q: Can supplements help lower cortisol levels?

A: Some supplements, such as ashwagandha and omega-3 fatty acids, may help lower cortisol levels. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Q: How long does it take to lower cortisol levels naturally?

A: The time it takes to lower cortisol levels varies from person to person. With consistent lifestyle changes, you may start to notice improvements within a few weeks to a few months.

Q: Can stress management techniques alone lower cortisol levels?

A: While stress management techniques can help lower cortisol levels, a comprehensive approach that includes exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep is most effective for maintaining healthy cortisol levels.


  1. “Stress and your health.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus, 5 April 2022,
  2. “Chronic stress puts your health at risk.” Mayo Clinic, 8 July 2021,

Kendra Reed

Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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