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Stress: These Daily Habits May Be Increasing Your Cortisol Levels

Keep reading as we share some common habits that can contribute to increased cortisol levels and their impact on our well-being.

Stress: These Daily Habits May Be Increasing Your Cortisol Levels

Being constantly overwhelmed by work responsibilities can lead to prolonged high cortisol levels

There are several daily habits that may lead to an increase in cortisol levels, which is the body's primary stress hormone. Chronic elevation of cortisol can have negative effects on our overall health. Here are some common habits that can contribute to increased cortisol levels and their impact on our well-being.

These daily habits are increasing your cortisol levels:

1. Lack of sleep



Inadequate sleep can lead to a dysregulation of the body's stress response system, causing higher cortisol levels.

2. Chronic stress



Sustained or excessive stress triggers the release of cortisol, leading to a constant elevation of the hormone that can have detrimental effects on various body systems.

3. Poor nutrition

A diet high in refined sugars, processed foods, and unhealthy fats can induce inflammation, causing stress on the body and elevating cortisol levels.

4. Excessive caffeine consumption

Caffeine stimulates the release of cortisol, leading to higher levels of the stress hormone. You are encouraged to consume caffeine in a controlled manner or occasionally.

5. Sedentary lifestyle

Lack of physical activity can disrupt the balance of cortisol in the body, leading to increased levels. Regular exercise helps regulate cortisol levels and counteract the impact of stress.

6. Overwhelming workload

Constantly juggling multiple tasks and being overwhelmed by work responsibilities can lead to prolonged high cortisol levels.

7. Social isolation

Lack of social connections or feeling lonely can trigger stress responses, resulting in elevated cortisol levels. Meeting friends and interacting with family regularly has been proven to improve overall well being.

8. Negative mindset

Chronic negative thoughts, worry, and pessimism can promote sustained cortisol release, impacting our mental and physical health.

9. Excessive electronic device usage

Extended screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns and stimulate cortisol production.

10. Alcohol consumption

Heavy drinking can increase cortisol levels, particularly when combined with sleep disturbances and poor overall health habits.

These habits impact cortisol levels by activating the body's stress response system, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Consistently high cortisol levels can have detrimental effects on various body systems, including suppressing the immune system, increasing blood pressure, disrupting sleep patterns, impairing cognitive function, causing weight gain (especially abdominal fat), decreasing bone density, and contributing to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can worsen existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.

To mitigate the impact of these daily habits on overall health, it is important to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. These may include:

  • Prioritising regular, quality sleep to restore cortisol balance.
  • Implementing stress management techniques like meditation, mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies.
  • Consuming a balanced diet with whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while minimising processed and sugary foods.
  • Limiting caffeine intake to moderate levels.
  • Incorporating regular exercise and physical activity into daily routines.
  • Fostering social connections and maintaining a supportive network.
  • Practicing positive thinking, gratitude, and mindfulness to promote a healthier mindset.
  • Establishing boundaries and finding ways to manage workloads and time.
  • Limiting screen time, especially before sleep, to improve sleep quality.
  • Moderating alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.

By adopting these habits and strategies, it is possible to reduce cortisol levels, promote well-being, and improve overall health.


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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