2. Getting 7 hours of Sleep Per Night
Sleep plays a significant role in our physical health because it is involved in healing and repairing the heart and blood vessels. But what happens when we are on the wrong side of getting enough sleep? Chronic sleep deprivation and sleep restriction are often associated with mild, temporary increases in cortisol levels. In the short-term, a shortage of sleep can lead to your body being in a stressed state. And while you are not in actual danger, your body will go into “fight or flight” mode. In the long-term sleep deprivation may also affect the reactivity of your body to other stressors, making it more and more difficult for proper recovery.
3. Engaging in Restorative Activities
Adding some “Me Time” to your routine and participating in restorative activities can help decrease your overall stress load. Some fantastic activities you might enjoy are meditation, massage, acupuncture, mid-day naps, reading, and walking outside. But let’s talk about MEDITATION because it is a powerful tool to help combat stress!
A study performed by psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped put an end to anxiety symptoms in people with a generalized anxiety disorder (a conditioned they classified by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability)5. And there continues to be more and more research supporting the positive impact meditation has on mental health!
We all go through challenging times at some time or another, and it is very easy for stress to get the best of us. Hopefully, these stress-management techniques will help reduce your cortisol levels, and, at the same time, help you to feel less stressed!
1.Miller, S. G. (2016, December 13). 1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/1-in-6-americans-takes-a-psychiatric-drug/
2.Canady, V. A. (2020, May 1). New report examines medication trends for depression, anxiety and insomnia. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mhw.32344
3.Wehrwein, P. (2020, March 6). Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624
4.Mental Health Medications. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/mental-health-medications/index.shtml
5.Corliss, J. (2019, August 5). Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967