Optimal levels of cortisol are needed to maintain good physical and mental health. The brain does its absolute best to help you with a stressful situation by regulating the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. However, you have a bigger responsibility. You need to do your part to keep the stress in check. Here are a few tips which will help you manage stress:

1. Get Good Sleep 

There’s a popular belief that 8 hours of sleep keeps you healthy. While it is true that the body needs the right amount of sleep, there are other things about sleep that need to be considered. Not just the length but the quality and timing of sleep. High levels of cortisol are found in the people who sleep during the day instead of night. However, sleeping during the day is a normal daily activity of a person who works nightshift. Such people should follow a regular bedtime and keep themselves physically active during the wake time. Sleep deprivation can shoot the cortisol levels for up to 24 hours. Excessive consumption of caffeine should be avoided. 

2. Exercise, but Not Too Much 

Physical exercise, in general, good and is highly recommended. The intensity of exercise does affect the levels of cortisol. However, no significant changes in the levels of cortisol are observed in the people who work out regularly. Even though the cortisol level increases right after a good work out session, the levels of cortisol get back to normal in the night with the help of good sleep. 

3. Recognize and Avoid Stressful Thinking 

Avoid stressful thoughts. Stressful thoughts act as a signal for cortisol release. In a study involving 122 adults, it was found that the cortisol levels shot up for over when asked to write about previous stressful experiences as opposed to writing about positive life experiences. This shows how important it is to identify stressful thoughts and to avoid them. You need to train yourself to avoid thinking about the past stressful situations.  

Focus on positive thoughts. At the same time, train yourself to be aware of your breathing, heart rate, and other signs of stress. This would help you recognize stress when it begins so that you can take action to keep your stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels in check. 

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