Relaxation Tips for Healthy Aging
Simple tips to reduce the impact of the stress hormone cortisol on the aging process
No one enjoys the mental anguish that goes with feeling stressed all the time. What you may not know is that your body doesn’t like it, either. While the stress hormone cortisol is necessary and even beneficial in small amounts, too much cortisol can damage your health.
Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol can cause a variety of problems commonly associated with aging:
- Accelerated skin aging
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Decreased bone density
- Diminished muscle mass
- Higher blood pressure
- Lowered immunity
- Inflammatory responses
- Increased abdominal fat
- Adrenal fatigue—a condition where the adrenal glands become worn out and can no longer produce the small amounts of cortisol your body needs on a daily basis
Managing cortisol and preventing it from getting to toxic levels is extremely important for healthy aging.
In our high-stress culture, it may be unrealistic to remove all sources of stress from your life; but that doesn’t mean you have to be at the mercy of cortisol. The following relaxation tips can calm the body and the mind, so you can control cortisol levels and promote healthy aging:
Yoga: Yoga is an effective stress-reliever because it facilitates relaxation for both mind and body. Physical exercise is excellent for relieving stress; and when practiced correctly, yoga requires a level of mindfulness that is akin to meditation.
Meditation: Even if you have only 5 minutes to spare, a quick meditation session is a great way to de-stress. Simply sit in a relaxed position, then focus on one thought, and clear your mind of all else. For example, you can focus on your breathing, repeat a mantra, or count to a certain number. Meditation is effective as a daily practice, or as a quick fix for calming yourself after a stressful situation.
Walking in Nature: Any kind of exercise can reduce stress levels. If you have the opportunity to walk outdoors, particularly in nature, you’ll get an extra boost to your relaxation efforts. Studies have shown a link between the experience of nature and positive emotions, physical energy, and mental calm.
Journaling: Keeping a journal can allow you to explore feelings and thoughts related to stressful events, so they’re easier to process. Try not to focus too much on the negative—think about plans for the future, solutions to problems, or gratitude so your journaling experience is positive and relaxing. Journaling is most relaxing when done as a daily practice.
Sex: Sex is relieves stress on many levels. First, there is the emotional component. Studies have shown that people with supportive social relationships tend to manage stress better and enjoy better overall health. Sex also involves touch, deep breathing, and physical activity, all of which are associated with reduced stress. Finally, sex and orgasms release endorphins and other feel-good hormones in the brain to help you feel relaxed mentally as well as physically.
Do You Need Cortisol Testing?
You can find out if stress is negatively impacting your body by having your cortisol levels checked. And if your cortisol levels are too high or too low, treatment is available. Renew Youth™ can provide this testing, as well as various treatments designed to support your adrenal glands’ ability to produce healthy amounts of cortisol. Contact us today for a consultation.