How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels

Stressed? Psychological Coach Lucy Spicer gives you four simple ways to help...

How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels

Stressed? Wondering how best to manage it? Thankfully Psychological Coach and expert NEOM columnist, Lucy Spicer is here to talk all things cortisol. From what it is to how to lower it, here's everything you need to know as well as four simple tricks to help you feel a little more cool, calm and collected... 


What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’. When you’re stressed or anxious, cortisol is pumped around your body in higher quantities.

Imagine you’re running late for an important meeting, going on a first date, or see an email come in from your boss asking to talk - you might notice your heart racing, butterflies in your stomach and a sudden surge of anxious feelings. This is cortisol kicking in and although it might not feel like it, it’s there to help your body manage the immediate stressful situation it’s in. 

Whilst cortisol is helpful for managing stress in the short term, when you're constantly feeling stressed and experiencing high cortisol levels becomes the norm, it can impact your physical health and overall wellbeing. 


What Causes High Cortisol?

High cortisol levels can be caused by multiple factors including pressures from work, financial worries, family responsibilities - basically anything that is a continual source of stress in your day to day life. 

It’s important to note that lifestyle also impacts cortisol levels too. Not getting enough quality sleep disrupts your natural cortisol cycle. Diet also plays a role, high sugar, processed food and caffeine can all elevate these levels beyond a healthy range. 


Four Everyday Strategies To Help Reduce Cortisol Levels


1. Practice Breathing Techniques

Breathwork is a powerful tool for reducing stress and lowering cortisol. Next time you feel stressed, intentionally slow your breathing down as this sends a signal to your brain to relax. 

Ratio breathing can help to calm your nervous system through the method of breathing in equal parts. To do this, inhale for the count of 4 - hold your breath for the count of 4 - exhale for the count of 4 - hold for the count of 4 and repeat 10 times. 

Top tip: make sure you’re breathing in from your stomach instead of your chest.

Still want to learn more and find out how Essential Oils can elevate your breathing? Have a read of this... The Power Of Breathing Exercises & Essential Oils 


2. Prioritise Your Sleep

Good sleep is like hitting the reset button for your body and mind. Ditch your phone in the evening and replace it instead with a calming bedtime routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the regulation of cortisol levels so prioritise rest to help your body recover from daily stress.

Top tip: incorporate the NEOM Perfect Night's Sleep range into your bedtime routine. My go-to products are the Magnesium Body Butter and I loved to diffuse the Perfect Night's Sleep Essential Oil Blend through my Wellbeing Pod to make my space feel super relaxing and sleep-ready. 


3. Get Moving 

Regular physical activity is a great way to help your body process stress more effectively by releasing endorphins which counteract cortisol. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense; even a daily walk with your go-to podcast can be effective. In fact, research suggests that lower intensity activities like yoga and Pilates may be more beneficial for reducing cortisol levels compared to high intensity workouts. 

Top tip: stay accountable to your exercise goals by using a habit tracker to record your progress. Because who doesn’t like the feeling of ticking something off a list... 


4. Try To Manage Your Time 

Effective time management can significantly reduce stress, which in turn reduces cortisol levels. Try planning your day the night before by prioritising tasks and breaking them down into manageable chunks.

In general, try to avoid over committing and learn to get confident communicating boundaries and saying no when necessary. Organising your time effectively can reduce feelings of overwhelm and help to keep you feeling calm and in control.

Top tip: Use the NEOM Calming Pen on your pulse points when you write your to do list and allow the essential oils to keep any feelings of stress or worry at bay. 


For more of Lucy's expert advice, check out her Instagram - @lucyspicer_  or listen to her podcast - The Journal