Natural Ways to Calm your Stress Response

Stress is not great for your mind or body long term. It can come from many sources outside of the body, such as your work environment or even your relationships. But stress can also come from inside the body through the food you eat every day or the pollution you inhale. While internal and external stress may feel unavoidable, there are a few things that you have control over that can support how you handle stress.

Why should you care about stress?

High levels of stress are not only an inconvenience that can cause dark circles under your eyes and gray hair, but it can also be one of the primary root causes for why you are not feeling 100% like your best self.

It may be one of the reasons you are unable to lose weight and are experiencing low energy levels and hair loss. Why? Because it has a systemic influence on your entire body—these high-stress situations can impact multiple organs and how your body operates daily.

One main area that has an influence on this reaction are your adrenal glands. Let’s dive into your adrenals and see how you can better support them, leaving those stress-ridden feelings to the wayside.

Your adrenal glands and you

Your adrenals are glands that sit on top of your kidneys and oversee the release of your cortisol hormones after they get the signal from your Hypothalamus and pituitary gland within your brain. This is known as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis.

In a nutshell, cortisol is a stress hormone that signals your body to react in a certain way! Cortisol shouldn’t be viewed negatively and is crucial for your getting out of bed in the morning, getting tasks done, and by invoking your fight or flight response. Moreover, if also has influence on your metabolism and is linked to your motivation to achieve the things you want.

When too much is released for a long period of time, however, breakdown starts to happen, and your body becomes overworked and undernourished. The good news? Your lifestyle and diet can be helpful towards supporting your stress responses and giving your body what it needs to heal.

Let’s visit six ways you can start supporting your adrenals today!

6 ways to support your adrenal glands

1. Keep a regular eating schedule

Maintaining a regular eating schedule is undoubtedly one of the most important ways to keep your adrenals functioning well. Regularity allows your hormones to work in harmony with your fuel intake to deliver key nutrients and prevent significant dips in your blood sugar. When sudden drops in blood sugar do happen, various fight-or-flight hormones are released, including cortisol.  This is especially true when fasting for long periods of time in the morning and adding coffee to your empty stomach. This is a recipe for disaster and will further increase your stress response, especially if you are already dealing with pressure from other outside factors.

2. Eat enough food for your body

When you constantly undereat or overeat, this can put a strain on your body. The goal is to eat slowly and deliberately, getting enough calories to perform your day-to-day activities and feeling full but not overly stuffed. When you undereat, this can further reduce your body’s store of key nutrients that are needed to provide a sense of calm, such as B-vitamins or magnesium.

3. Drink mineral rich water

Trace minerals are needed for multiple functions throughout the body and some of the best sources are from the water you drink, the sea salt you season your food with, and the soil that grows your food. When it comes to naturally soothing your adrenal glands, these minerals act as food to help them function efficiently without overtaxing your body. Drinking mineral water is a great place to start!

Pro Tip:

Purchase mineral sea salt and add a pinch to your room-temperature, filtered water with a lemon slice in the morning. (We like this brand: Celtic Sea Salt)

4. Rest when possible

If you are truly fatigued, allowing your body the time and space it needs to recover is crucial. This is especially true in the mornings if your cortisol release is out of balance such as being unable to get out of bed in the morning and not being able to fall asleep at night. Allowing yourself eight hours to rest at night (even if you are unable to sleep that whole time in the beginning) is a great way to show your body that it is safe to relax and heal. Simplify your morning routine so that you are not rushing everywhere and take time to relax in the evening to unwind before bed.

5. Cut out the sugar

As hinted earlier, changes in blood sugar can cause a roller coaster of hormone responses that can increase strain on your body. Keeping steady with your dietary intake can help you feel an even sense of energy throughout the day without the extreme highs and dips that can happen from eating pure sugar. Instead, try to enjoy sugar in its natural form by eating more fruits!

6. Go easy on exercise

While exercise is very important for your overall health and can help with stress, over exercising (combined with an improper diet) can cause strain on your body, leading to an imbalance of hormones. This cascade can also cause higher circulating levels of cortisol and make you more exhausted than you began with. You may need to take a break for a while and focus on simple activities like walking or gentle yoga until you feel less overwhelmed.