Cortisol is made in the adrenal glands and is an incredibly helpful hormone. Almost every cell in the body has a cortisol receptor. It doesn’t become a problem until there’s overproduction OR it’s increased at the wrong time of day (night vs. morning). It’s important to recognize the importance of keeping cortisol in balance, and the best way to do that is through healthy lifestyle choices.

What increases cortisol?

  • unhealthy response to perceived or real stress/life challenges
  • excessive alcohol consumption (hello beer belly!)
  • lack of restorative sleep
  • viral infections

What are the effects of high cortisol

  • disrupted sleep – can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep
  • thyroid function inhibition
  • elevated blood sugar leading to insulin resistance
  • osteopenia and osteoporosis
  • decreased cognitive function
  • loss of muscle mass
  • decreased immune response and strength
  • increased abdominal fat

Ways to decrease cortisol

  • listening to relaxing music
  • massage
  • meditation
  • laughing
  • omega 3s
  • dancing
  • ashwagandha

For a more detailed look at managing stress, check out our Basics of Holistic Herbalism Course!

woman with eyes closed and hands at temples dealing with stress