You’ve probably heard of cortisol by now. It’s the hormone released by the body in cases of severe stress and traumatic experiences. When too much cortisol is released into the bloodstream, it can cause a wide range of negative impacts.

Elevated cortisol levels can interfere with learning and memory, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, along with other mental health issues. Here are nine simple ways to keep it in check:

Take your time in the morning

Whether you live alone or have a full family to take care of, mornings can become hectic quickly, especially if you’re running late for work! Dealing with a commute, ensuring everything looks good, and managing everything on time can send the stress levels soaring. Establishing a morning routine you can follow allows you to tackle things step by step and give yourself a breather. Have a script you can follow so surprises don’t raise your blood pressure.

Meditate

You’ve probably heard by now that meditation is key to a quiet mind and reduced stress. It has a proven biochemical benefit in changing brain chemistry to reduce cortisol levels, increase serotonin, and release endorphins.

Exercise

Exercise isn’t only beneficial for how your body looks, but how your body feels. It produces everything from endorphins to human growth hormones, both of which control cortisol levels.

Create a relaxing environment

Your home is your sanctuary, so ensuring you have a calm environment allows your body to immediately relax as soon as you step foot in your house. Leave work at work, and establish a calm space in your home that can always be your respite.

Get some sleep

You must get adequate sleep to control your stress levels! If you’re having trouble at night, take some melatonin, which is a natural hormone in your body. By boosting your melatonin levels, you send a cue to your body that it’s time to rest and recuperate.

Watch your blood sugar

Keeping your blood sugar in check ensures you’re not putting your body through a cycle of ups and downs, putting extra stress on it. ¬†Avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugar is key. Opt for complex carbs, proteins, and good fats instead to keep your hormones balanced and cortisol levels low.

Cut out caffeine

Coffee might be your mid-afternoon pick-me-up, but it also spikes cortisol levels for up to eighteen hours after drinking it! That means your body is wired for nearly 24 hours after consuming caffeine! Opt for ginger tea or a lower-caffeine option instead, or get used to not drinking it altogether.