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We all hear the tales of how bad stress is for the body. It leads to weight gain, illness, relationship issues, and a lower quality of life. Simply willing it away doesn’t always work. Lifestyle changes can make a difference, but various factors may need to be explored before understanding the root of the issue.

Cortisol, Herbs, and Sleep

Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in the morning to help us become active. As we age, or during times of emotional pressure, cortisol levels can get higher at odd times of day, including rising at night, causing sleeping issues. Sleep issues lead to higher cortisol levels, and the cycle often continues until burn out occurs.

Negative mental health caused by stress

Having the right balance of cortisol requires us to have stable sleep patterns which may be hard when we have stress. If it’s an age-related increase in cortisol or hormonal, herbs may be needed to assist with finding some balance.

Adaptogen herbs will help to restore balance to your system, whether the cortisol levels are too high, creating anxiety, or too low, creating fatigue. These herbs are known to greatly balance stress with consistent use:

  • Ashwagandha
  • American Ginseng
  • Holy Basil (Tulsi)
  • Schisandra
  • Rhodiola rosea

If sleep is an issue, a natural sleep aid may be helpful. These herbs and supplements are known to assist with relaxation and sleep:

  • Melatonin
  • Seriphos
  • Valerian Root
  • Lavender
  • Hops
  • Passionflower

Walking and Yoga

Gentle, enjoyable exercise like walking and yoga have been known to reduce cortisol levels in the body. It increases mental health overall and may even assist with depression, anxiety, and insomnia.


Without a doubt, any person would benefit from having a therapist to help us get through this thing we call life. Whether utilized as a sounding board or as a help to process deeper issues, seeing a therapist can help to greatly unburden the load we carry as individuals. While therapy can be inaccessible and expensive, 12-step groups are free, frequent, in person, and online and can serve as a healthy support for coping with daily stresses.


Taking space for stillness daily may be foreign to many, but meditation has been medically proven to reduce stress. It is a powerful tool for eliminating the toxic buildup of the day and increasing mental health, helping with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Finding the right meditation for you may take a little exploration, but it is definitely worth the effort.


Additionally, we also need to look at our lives and figure out if there are reasons for our stress, such as:

  • Relationship stress
  • Work stress
  • Personal issues

Lifestyle changes may be necessary, and no amount of sleep, herbs or exercise can fix a real-life issue that needs to be dealt with. Speaking to a friend, family member or therapist can be a help here. Journaling may also provide you with the insight needed to take any steps or make any changes needed to decrease stress in your life.

Stress can be caused by many things but there are solutions available and a life you love may be just around the corner. It’s worth taking the time necessary to explore options and give yourself the life you deserve.