9 Ways to Manage Cortisol and Anxiety

Where to begin ….

Essentially, I’m baffled by what science studies and what’s actually shared with the general public. While I understand wanting to have ‘your ducks in a row’ before revealing ‘your’ findings, there’s something to be said for be upfront about what researchers are looking into..

Why am I saying this? Because our current context around stress and anxiety is that they are mentally and emotionally fueled. Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, the way we think and follow our emotions does play into the ongoing symptoms of stress and anxiety, at this point in our timeline, they are not the primary culprit. In fact, there are actually other factors that triggered systemic changes a.k.a. chemicals that led to such feelings of angst, restlessness and so on and chances are, it was not a worrisome thought that started the journey down the rabbit hole.

What am I referring to? Let’s just say that there are 45 million lipophilic chemicals being used around the world and well over 70,000 of them have been identified as being endocrine disruptors … let that sink in … over 70,000 confirmed xenoextrogens that we are exposed to on a regular basis. This doesn’t include the phytoestrogens … all of which act like estrogen in the body.

The reason this is significant is because; although, not estrogen, these chemicals ACT like estrogen in the body which happens to be a primary signaling molecule that not only activates immune activity, it signals stress. In other words, it is notifying the body that it is being threatened. What we know is stressful situations albeit mental, emotional or environmental influence a set of ‘behavioral, hormonal, cellular and molecular responses that assist organisms in adapting to the physical and social environment’ This is significant when we’re talking about stress, anxiety or any health condition because these chronic changes are what lead to the decline and degeneration of health.

Keep in mind, I say chronic because we cannot escape our environment. And no amount of exercise, deep breathing, meditation, etc is going to alleviate the metabolic changes occurring at the cellular level.

Of course, when the stress response is activated … which is clearly a prewired instinct of survival … the HPA (hypothalamus | pituitary | adrenal) axis is stimulated which means cortisol is being pumped throughout the system. What’s interesting is cortisol, while recognized for its role in stress | inflammatory reactions, is also needed as an anti-inflammatory; however, it’s not happening at the level it should be due to the ongoing systemic reaction to the environment; from the inside out.. In other words, the body is in a constant state of flux, adjusting to our cyclical needs as well as protecting us from the external toxic threats. In essence, the body is chemically adapting as needed which alters our mood and emotions NOT because there’s something wrong with us, but because there’s something right with us. We’re in survival mode; however, the change in chemistry affects the way we think and react which is typically ungrounded or unstable depending on how you like to look at it. No matter what, our mental and emotional instability generates further systemic instability a.k.a. stress, ultimately signaling the need for more cortisol.

And then there’s the fact that cortisol has an effect on the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway which is recognized as the ‘rewards system’. Have you ever been accused of being addicted to stress? Chances are you are without realizing it; and again, it’s not your fault … it’s due to the physiological changes occurring for the sake of survival and protection.

Another interesting point is the fact that research is finding elevated levels of cortisol in older adults … is there any surprise given the state of our environmental, mental, emotional, economic, political, and life climate?

You’re invited to ‘tune in’ to my IGTV channel .. my latest video goes into a bit of detail around this last point. AND, if we already follow one another or you’ve visited my profile … thank you!!!

SO, now what do we do?

Ways to Manage Cortisol and Anxiety

  1. drink nettle tea daily - first of all, you can store this in the freezer without concern and secondly, the reason I’m even suggesting you drink nettle tea is due to its ability to help improve the body’s use and elimination of estrogen. Why does this even matter? Because over 70,000 chemicals have been confirmed as ‘endocrine disruptors’ a.k.a. xenoestrogens which act like estrogen in the body and depending on the epigenome it can add stress to the body if it cannot be metabolized and cleared Besides estrogen being linked to elevated emotions, it also stimulates the stress response which includes the production of cortisol. j(the link is to a pound of the herb; and as it is, I’m trying to keep things ‘cost effective’ which is why I point out you can store it in the freezer) Drinking 1 to 2 cups or more a day is not a problem.

  2. take ashwagandha daily - again, another bulk item that can be stored in the freezer; however, the reason I like bulk herbs is because there are no additional ingredients added. Now, if you want to ‘pack’ capsules, feel free; just remember, you’ll be swallowing many caps a day. However, to add anywhere from a 1/4/ to 1/2 teaspoon to the nettle tea mixes quite well and when you add the sweetener of your choice, along with possibly cinnamon or ginger, the tea is quite nice and works wonders on reducing harmful cortisol levels.

  3. reduce your intake of phytoestrogens from soy to lavender - examples of phytoestrogen foods and products are found all over the internet and I suggest paying close attention to the foods high in phytoestrogens i.e. soy and flax as well as the herbs. There are a number of essential oils known to act like estrogen in the body i.e. lavender, clary sage, tea tree, rosemary and geranium to begin with. The idea is to soothe and stabilize the body and the best way to do that is by avoiding all things that are specific with their stimulation. Please understand, I realize that in an ideal world, these foods, herbs and oils would not even be an issue and for as much as I’d like to see the toxic chemicals be removed, the truth is … this isn’t going to happen any time soon, which means we must be proactive and support the body as it supports us.

  4. consider adding holy basil tea - as it is an adaptogen and supports the adrenals

  5. take magnesium glycinate because magnesium is needed for hormonal regulation and protein assimilation. Not to mention, it protects the cells from heavy metals and soothes the immune system. Truthfully, magnesium is essential in over 800 processes on a daily basis.

  6. you can use the essential oils copaiba and holy basil ONLY if you don’t take medications

  7. take a coezymated vitamin B complex as B vitamins are needed for both carbohydrate and protein metabolism along with nerve and brain health. What’s more, they are water soluble and depleted rapidly during times of stress.

  8. add a betaine plus supplement to your daily protocol - why? because hydrochloric acid is essential for the breakdown of macronutrients as well as the regulation of microflora in the intestines. That said, the production is consistently diminished during times of stress.

  9. additional essential oils to consider for managing coritsol and anxiety are roman chamomile, balsam peru, palmarosa, vetiver and helichrysum

That said, I hope you find this post helpful and invite any questions you may have. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel as well as follow me on IG and Twitter (@tammydavis8)