Cortisol is a hormone released in response to physical or psychological stressors. More than 70% of disease is thought to be stress-related and cortisol levels are often measured to assess the impact of stress on the body.
Cortisol levels may be measured
over a day via a salivary cortisol day curve
over a month or so to see the effects of stress over time (e.g. hair cortisol).
Elevated cortisol levels are known to
interfere with learning and memory
decrease immune function and bone density
increase blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease
Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also
increase risks for depression and mental illness
lower life expectancy
7 ways to Reduce Stress
Breathe It has been found that controlled breathing exercises play a role in decreasing stress.
Exercise Exercise is one of the quickest and most accessible methods of combating stress and improving well-being.
Laugh Researchers have found laughter plays a role in reducing symptoms of depression, fatigue and helps to decrease stress overall. Perhaps it really is the best medicine.
Scents Studies have suggested aroma inhalation could be a very effectivestress management method.
Relax Massagetherapy has been shown to significantly reduce stress reduce both physical and psychological stress.
Sleep Getting adequate amounts of sleep helps your body better manage stress. Researchers have found associations between nighttime sleep, napping behavior, and levels of salivary cortisol.
Snuggle Acts of intimacy have been reported to positively affect stress levels. A 2009 study published in the Western Journal of Communication found couples who kiss more often experienced improvements in perceived stress, relationship satisfaction, and total serum cholesterol. Likewise, research has found affectionate relationships with frequent warm partner contact may contribute to lower reactivity to stress as well as increased levels of oxytocin.
A hair cortisol test can show how cumulative stress levels are affecting your health over a longer period of time.
An adrenal panel can show how your stress levels are correlate with symptoms such as fatigue throughout the day .