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How to Naturally Reduce Cortisol Levels and Stress

by | Last updated: Jan 18, 2023 | Blog, Women's Health | 10 comments

Cortisol is an important stress hormone, but too much can cause damage. Cortisol has a catabolic effect produced by the adrenal glands, which can break down tissue, including bones and muscles. High cortisol can cause many physical and health problems over time. 

Chronic stress can keep your cortisol levels elevated. So it’s essential to reduce your cortisol levels to help reduce your stress. 

Here are five ways to reduce your cortisol levels and stress naturally. 

Practice Stress Reduction 

The first way to reduce cortisol levels is to practice stress reduction techniques. Stress reduction techniques include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, therapy, and biofeedback. You may have to experiment with different stress reduction techniques to find one that works for you to reduce your feeling of stress. Overall, it has been shown that using stress reduction techniques can reduce cortisol and stress. 

Good Sleep Hygiene

The second way to reduce cortisol and stress is to practice good sleep hygiene. By sleep hygiene, I mean having a good bedtime routine that allows you to relax and fall asleep. Plus, make sure you’re sleeping in the dark, so you make as much melatonin as possible, which helps reduce cortisol. High levels of cortisol at night suppress melatonin production, and high melatonin can help to suppress cortisol. 

Regular Exercise

The third way to reduce cortisol and stress is exercise. While it’s natural to have a little bump in cortisol when you exercise, there’s a nice decline in cortisol after exercise. It’s best to exercise in the morning to follow your natural cortisol circadian rhythm rather than at night, which may keep cortisol elevated too late. 

Healthy Diet

The fourth way to reduce cortisol and stress is by what you eat. There are quite a few foods that can help keep your cortisol levels low. Foods that are rich in omega-three fatty acids like fatty fish and nuts; foods that are rich in magnesium like bananas, avocados, and dark chocolate; foods that are rich in L-theanine like black or green tea; gut healthy foods like probiotic-rich yogurt and prebiotic-rich artichoke can help to reduce cortisol levels. And of course, you’ll want to be drinking enough water so you’re not dehydrated. 

There are some foods you want to avoid that can increase your levels of cortisol. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, plus high-sugar foods like sodas and candies and simple carbohydrates like cakes and pastries. 


The fifth way to reduce cortisol and stress, and thus your stress reaction, is by taking supplements. Supplements known as adaptogens can help reduce cortisol levels. These include passionflower, holy basil, ashwagandha, Panax ginseng, and chamomile. Supporting your hypothalamus, which controls your stress response and your HPA axis with Genesis Gold, can help reduce cortisol levels and stress for a more holistic approach. 

If you have any questions about cortisol and stress, why don’t you join me in our Hormone Support Group? You’ll get access to our free Hormone Reboot Training

About the Author - Deborah Maragopoulos FNP

Known as the Hormone Queen®️, I’ve made it my mission to help everyone – no matter their age – balance their hormones, and live the energy and joy their DNA and true destiny desires. See more about me my story here…



  1. Olecia

    This was very helpful information thank you

  2. lira newhart

    can you reverse aging or skin laxity and fat loss due to stress

  3. Don

    Over the last 30 years I’ve had 5 -6 times where I had upsetting but not tragic health events occur and my amygdala “highjacked” me leading to what felt like cortisol rushing into my brain behind my forehead. This always leads to a difficult time with poor sleep and anxiety issues. I’ve had antidepressants and sleep aids prescribed over the years and continue to take those meds today. In early Nov. my wife had covid and passed it on to me. We were both fully vaccinated and boosted. My covid symptoms lasted 5 or 6 days and as they abated I suddenly became very fatigued and I learned that covid fatigue is real symptom and could make me a long hauler. My amygdala kicked in. This has lead to constant tingling in my forehead and lower legs, poor sleep for several weeks and despite a sleep med, good sleep hygiene and practicing CBTI nothing has worked. Do you have any thoughts on how I can address this health issue? Thank you if you do.

    • Deborah Maragopoulos FNP

      Since the amygdala must interface with the hypothalamus to activate the sympathetic nervous system, taking hypothalamus support will help. Especially since the hypothalamus controls adrenal response.

  4. Sandra Trujillo

    Here goes. Around age 5 years I developed Hypothyroidsm, not diagnosed till age 15 years. Just points away from Mexidema. School was a joke. I have been on Armour Thyroid since. Now on 2GR. Please do not “sweep me under the rug”. I am 76 years old. My Mother and Our favorite saying was “I am so tired of being tired”. When I was around 55 years. I became so tired I sat in my little chair for Over 31/2 weeks, up only bathroom which was not much. Some friends started coming over to feed me twice a day I only would sip soup. My daughter tried to take me to the Dr., but I said I was dying and to leave me alone. So I waited over 3 weeks to dye. One day I made it to my bed and started a slow recovery. After that I had Fybromyalgia eversince. In my mid 60s I developed Kidney disease, now they are finding that hypothyroidism can cause CKD. When I was working it took up to 4 antidepressants to keep working. I am still tired of being tired. Thank You so much. Sandra Trujillo. Are you able to answer?

    • Deborah Maragopoulos FNP

      My long term hypothyroid patients do very well by supporting their hypothalamus with Genesis Gold. But it takes time in your case it may be well over a year since you’ve been out of balance for decades

  5. Annalyn garcia

    I was diagnosed with anxiety and insomnia 2 weeks ago. I’m 51 years old and I’m not sure why probably because I’m going through menopausal .my doctor gave all this strong medication like Xanax, Ativan and etc. none of them worked. Im searching for answers why these strong medications are not working. I found out that my cortisol level is probably high. I found your videos regarding cortisol and taking supplements. Feeling helpless 😔 after being seen by medical doctors five times.. and they said I need to see a psychiatrist .


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