We’ve been posting on Facebook and Insta this month about what stress actually is and ways to relieve its impact. In this blog post, we’ve expanded those social media snippets. Whether it’s having a treatment at Feel Amazing, going for a walk around the block or doing exercises around your own home, chatting with a friend on the phone, taking time out for meditation, doing regular stretching, or taking some slow deep breaths – managing stress is important for all of us at this difficult time.
How to naturally lower cortisol levels
- Practise good sleep hygiene – have a regular sleep schedule, reduce afternoon caffeine intake, exercise earlier in the day, limit phone use and bright light at bedtime
- Regular exercise can help stress, improve your sleep quality and overall health. Just don’t over do it as this too can have the opposite effect on cortisol levels
- Be aware of how stress is impacting your body and mind, practices such as meditation or mindfulness can be helpful for some people
- Deep breathing helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps lower cortisol levels
What else can help reduce the impact of stress?
Having a massage can reduce cortisol levels while serotonin levels are then increased, which helps your body cope with pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness. Having a remedial massage in a safe supportive environment where you can relax helps the mind-body connection, generating feelings of clarity, calm, comfort and relief. The emotional benefit of massage is just as important as the physical.
Acupuncture treatment can change how the body responds to stress by stimulating the release of endorphins, lowering cortisol production during high stress, or by raising cortisol levels to help avoid exhaustion. Acupuncture creates a self-regulatory effect within the body, calming the mind and treating corresponding organ systems. (For example, stress causes an imbalance of the heart and kidneys, so specific points associated with this may be targeted)
Stress relief at home
- Make a cup of herbal non caffeinated beverage – caffeine can increase heart palpitations and the body’s stress response, so even warm water can be of benefit
- Eat a balanced diet and be mindful of gut friendly foods as this can impact your gut microbiome and so your body’s ability to cope with stress. There is strong association with gut health and your mental health
- Take the time to sit down in a comfy chair to read or listen to an audio book, or write about how you are feeling and get out those thoughts that are playing over in your mind. Some people find that writing down a couple of things each day that they are grateful for can help improve how they feel
- Do something creative, get lost in the flow experience and be in the moment you are in
- Exercise is also a great way to use up nervous energy and increase endorphins naturally. Some people take out their stress on a cleaning task they’ve been putting off, seeing the reward of it being done also contributing to a sense of accomplishment
- Celebrate the small moments – laughing and cracking a smile helps release the feel good hormone endorphins while reducing stress hormones like cortisol. Laughter also contributes to improving mood, perceived pain, lowers blood pressure and helps your immune system
In my own family, we have been celebrating the little but important things – specifically potty training successes. It’s been amazing the incidental laughter from people around me when I’m giving praise to my youngest, loudly exclaiming on the telephone his achievement telling me he’s done a “big sausage poo!” on the toilet. (Ed – too much information?!)
How do Feel Amazing treatments help with stress?
Activities that promote relaxation, time out for self-care, and address stress-related symptoms can help improve not only your immediate stress levels but contribute to improving your overall health. At Feel Amazing Wellness Centre your wellness is our priority and we hope to offer a variety of treatments that can help. Whether you need a massage, acupuncture, or you could benefit from chiropractic treatment, or a naturopathic or TCM consultation to be prescribed natural remedies, our practitioners are available for online consultations and in-clinic bookings when it is safe for you to travel to see us.
When stress and uncertainty are high, it’s important to come together and support one another. If you’ve found that you aren’t managing as well as you’d like to be, then reach out and talk to someone. Professional advice is out there. Getting help is a sign of strength.
Where to get support
This fascinating article in SMH on the power of a 20-second hug with a person or a pet is worth reading. There are similarities physiologically between the touch aspect of massage and hugging.
The government healthdirect website has a list of resources to help with stress management.
As an essential service Feel Amazing Wellness Centre continues to be open for bookings – book online now