11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands.

It’s important for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress.

However, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can hurt you more than it helps.

Over time, high levels may cause weight gain and high blood pressure, disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce your energy levels and contribute to diabetes.

What Happens When Cortisol Is High?

Over the last 15 years, studies have increasingly revealed that moderately high cortisol levels can cause problems.

These include:

  • Chronic complications: Including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Weight gain: Cortisol increases appetite and signals the body to shift metabolism to store fat.
  • Tiredness: It interferes with daily cycles of other hormones, disrupting sleep patterns and causing fatigue.
  • Impaired brain function: Cortisol interferes with memory, contributing to mental cloudiness or “brain fog”.
  • Infections: It hampers the immune system, making you more prone to infections.

In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushing’s syndrome, a rare but serious disease.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your levels. Here are 11 lifestyle, diet and relaxation tips to lower cortisol levels.

1. Get the Right Amount of Sleep

Timing, length and quality of sleep all influence cortisol.

For example, a review of 28 studies of shift workers found that cortisol increases in people who sleep during the day rather than at night.

Over time, sleep deprivation causes increased levels.

Rotating shifts also disrupt normal daily hormonal patterns, contributing to fatigue and other problems associated with high cortisol.

Insomnia causes high cortisol for up to 24 hours. Interruptions to sleep, even if brief, can also increase your levels and disrupt daily hormone patterns.

If you are a night shift or rotating shift worker, you don’t have complete control over your sleep schedule, but there are some things you can do to optimize sleep:

  • Exercise: Be physically active during waking hours and keep a regular bedtime as much as possible.
  • No caffeine at night: Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Limit exposure to bright light at night: Turn off the screens and wind down for several minutes before bedtime.
  • Limit distractions before bed: Limit interruptions by using white noise, ear plugs, silencing your phone and avoiding fluids right before bed.
  • Take naps: If shift work cuts your sleep hours short, napping can reduce sleepiness and prevent a sleep deficit.

SUMMARY:

Keep a consistent sleep schedule, avoid caffeine in the evening, avoid sleep interruptions and get seven to eight hours of sleep daily to keep cortisol in a normal rhythm.

2. Exercise, but Not Too Much

Depending on the intensity of exercise, it can increase or decrease cortisol.

Intense exercise increases cortisol shortly after exercise. Although it increases in the short term, nighttime levels later decrease.

This short-term increase helps coordinate growth of the body to meet the challenge. Additionally, the size of the cortisol response lessens with habitual training.

While even moderate exercise increases cortisol in unfit individuals, physically fit individuals experience a smaller bump with intense activity.

In contrast to “maximum effort” exercise, mild or moderate exercise at 40–60% of maximum effort does not increase cortisol in the short term, and still leads to lower levels at night.

SUMMARY:

Exercise decreases cortisol at night. Intense exercise increases cortisol in the short term due to stress on the body, but still decreases it the following night.

3. Learn to Recognize Stressful Thinking

Stressful thoughts are an important signal for cortisol release.

A study of 122 adults found that writing about past stressful experiences increased cortisol over one month compared to writing about positive life experiences or plans for the day.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a strategy that involves becoming more self-aware of stress-provoking thoughts and replacing worrying or anxiety with a focus on acknowledging and understanding stressful thoughts and emotions.

Training yourself to be aware of your thoughts, breathing, heart rate and other signs of tension helps you recognize stress when it begins.

By focusing on awareness of your mental and physical state, you can become an objective observer of your stressful thoughts, instead of a victim of them.

Recognizing stressful thoughts allows you to formulate a conscious and deliberate reaction to them. A study of 43 women in a mindfulness-based program showed the ability to describe and articulate stress was linked to a lower cortisol response.

Another study of 128 women with breast cancer showed stress mindfulness training reduced cortisol compared to no stress management strategy.

The Positive Psychology Program offers a review of some mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques.

SUMMARY:

“Stress mindfulness” emphasizes self-awareness of stressful thoughts and signs of body tension. Becoming more aware of stress and its triggers is the first step to successfully coping with stress.

4. Learn to Relax

Image by Adrianne Galvin Photography

Various relaxation exercises have been proven to reduce cortisol levels.

Deep breathing is a simple technique for stress reduction that can be used anywhere. A study of 28 middle-aged women found a nearly 50% reduction in cortisol with habitual deep breathing training.

A review of several studies also showed massage therapy can reduce cortisol levels by 30%.

Multiple studies confirm that yoga can reduce cortisol and manage stress. Regular participation in tai chi has also been shown to be effective.

Studies have also shown relaxing music can decrease cortisol.

For example, listening to music for 30 minutes reduced cortisol levels in 88 male and female college students compared to 30 minutes of silence or viewing a documentary.

Helpguide.org has a brief guide to several relaxation techniques like those used in these studies.

SUMMARY:

Many relaxation techniques are proven to lower cortisol. Examples include deep breathing, yoga and tai chi, music and massage.

5. Have Fun

Another way to keep cortisol down is simply to be happy.

A positive disposition is associated with lower cortisol, as well as lower blood pressure, a healthy heart rate and a strong immune system.

Activities that increase life satisfaction also improve health and one of the ways they do this may be through controlling cortisol.

For example, a study of 18 healthy adults showed cortisol decreased in response to laughter.

Developing hobbies can also promote feelings of well-being, which translate to lower cortisol. A study of 49 middle-aged veterans showed that taking up gardening decreased levels more than conventional occupational therapy.

Another study of 30 men and women found that participants who gardened experienced greater cortisol reductions than those who read indoors.

Part of this benefit may have been due to spending more time outdoors. Two studies found decreased cortisol following outdoor activity, as opposed to indoor activity. However, other studies found no such benefit.

SUMMARY:

Tending to your own happiness will help keep cortisol down. Taking up a hobby, spending time outdoors and laughing can all help.

6. Maintain Healthy Relationships

Friends and family are a source of great happiness in life, as well as great stress. These dynamics are played out in cortisol levels.

Cortisol is incorporated in tiny amounts into your hair.

The amounts of cortisol along the length of a hair even correspond to cortisol levels at the time that part of the hair was growing. This allows researchers to estimate levels over time.

Studies of cortisol in hair show that children with a stable and warm family life have lower levels than children from homes with high levels of conflict.

Within couples, conflict results in a short-term elevation in cortisol, followed by return to normal levels.

A study of conflict styles in 88 couples found nonjudgmental mindfulness or empathy led to a more rapid return of cortisol to normal levels following an argument.

Support from loved ones can also help reduce cortisol in the face of stress.

A study of 66 men and women showed that for men, support from their female partners reduced cortisol in response to public speaking.

Another study showed that having an affectionate interaction with a romantic partner before a stressful activity benefited heart rate and blood pressure more than support from a friend.

SUMMARY:

Relationships with friends and family can lead to happiness and to stress. Spend time with those you love and learn to forgive and manage conflict for better emotional and physical health.

7. Take Care of a Pet

Image by Adrianne Galvin Photography

Relationships with animal companions can also reduce cortisol.

In one study, interaction with a therapy dog reduced distress and resulting cortisol changes during a minor medical procedure in children.

Another study of 48 adults showed that contact with a dog was better than support from a friend during a socially stressful situation.

A third study tested the cortisol-reducing effect of canine companionship in pet owners compared to non-pet-owners.

Non-pet-owners experienced a greater drop in cortisol when they were given canine companions, likely because pet owners had already benefited from the friendship of their animals at the beginning of the study.

Interestingly, pets experience similar benefits following positive interactions, suggesting animal companionship is mutually beneficial.

SUMMARY:

Several studies show that interacting with an animal companion reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels. Pets also benefit from positive relationships with their humans.

8. Be Your Best Self

Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy can lead to negative thinking and elevated cortisol.

A program to help identify and cope with these kinds of feelings led to a 23% reduction in cortisol in 30 adults compared to 15 adults who did not participate.

For some causes of guilt, fixing the source will mean making a change in your life. For other causes, learning to forgive yourself and move on can improve your sense of well-being.

Developing a habit of forgiving others is also critical in relationships. One study of 145 couples compared the effects of different kinds of marriage counseling.

Couples who received interventions that facilitated forgiving and conflict resolution techniques experienced reduced cortisol levels.

SUMMARY:

Resolving guilt improves life satisfaction and cortisol levels. This may involve changing habits, forgiving others or learning to forgive yourself.

9. Tend to Your Spirituality

If you consider yourself spiritual, developing your faith can also help improve cortisol.

Studies show that adults who expressed spiritual faith experienced lower cortisol levels in the face of life stressors such as illness.

This was true even after studies took into account the potential cortisol-lowering effects of social support from faith-based groups.

Prayer is also associated with reduced anxiety and depression.

If you do not consider yourself spiritual, these benefits may also be available through meditation, developing a social support group and performing acts of kindness.

SUMMARY:

For those with spiritual inclinations, developing faith and participating in prayer can help control cortisol. Whether you’re spiritual or not, performing acts of kindness can also improve your cortisol levels.

10. Eat Healthy Foods

Nutrition can influence cortisol for better or for worse.

Sugar intake is one of the classic triggers for cortisol release. Regular, high sugar intakes may keep your levels elevated.

Consuming sugar is especially linked to higher cortisol in obese individuals.

Interestingly, sugar can also reduce the amount of cortisol released in response to specific stressful events.

Taken together, these effects explain why sweet desserts are good comfort foods, but frequent or excessive sugar increases cortisol over time.

Additionally, a few specific foods can benefit cortisol levels:

  • Dark chocolate: Two studies of 95 adults showed that consuming dark chocolate reduced their cortisol response to a stress challenge.
  • Many fruits: A study of 20 cycling athletes showed eating bananas or pears during a 75-km ride reduced levels compared to drinking water only.
  • Black and green tea: A study of 75 men found 6 weeks of drinking black tea decreased cortisol in response to a stressful task, compared to a different caffeinated drink.
  • Probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria. Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol.
  • Water: Dehydration increases cortisol. Water is great for hydrating while avoiding empty calories. A study in nine male runners showed that maintaining hydration during athletic training reduced cortisol levels.

SUMMARY:

Cortisol-reducing foods include dark chocolate, tea and soluble fiber. Avoiding excess sugar consumption may also help keep your levels down.

Ask me for more information about the 30 day nutrition program I run each month. Available to residents in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, UK and Poland.

11. Take Certain Supplements

Studies have proven that at least two nutritional supplements can lower cortisol levels.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to reduce cortisol.

One study looked at how seven men responded to mentally stressful testing over three weeks. One group of men took fish oil supplements and the other group didn’t. Fish oil reduced cortisol levels in response to stress.

Another three-week study showed that fish oil supplements reduced cortisol in response to a stressful task, compared to a placebo.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an Asian herbal supplement used in traditional medicine to treat anxiety and help people adapt to stress.

A study of 98 adults taking an ashwagandha supplement or a placebo for 60 days showed that taking 125 mg of ashwagandha once or twice daily reduced cortisol levels.

Another study of 64 adults with chronic stress showed that those who took 300-mg supplements experienced reduced cortisol over 60 days, compared to those who took a placebo.

SUMMARY:

Fish oil supplements and an Asian herbal medicine called ashwagandha have both been shown to help reduce cortisol levels.

The Bottom Line

Over time, high cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

Try the simple lifestyle tips above to lower your cortisol levels, have more energy and improve your health.

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.

Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.

Full credit for the article goes to healthline.com

12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha (Withania)

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb.

It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress.

Ashwagandha also provides numerous other benefits for your body and brain.

For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Here are 12 benefits of ashwagandha that are supported by science.

1. Is an ancient medicinal herb

Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.

It has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.

Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for smell of the horse, which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength.

Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it’s also known by several other names, including Indian ginseng and winter cherry.

The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and North Africa. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions.

Many of its health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation and tumor growth.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha is a prominent herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and has become a popular supplement due to its health benefits.

2. Can reduce blood sugar levels

In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.

One test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

Also, several human studies have suggested that it can reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes.

Additionally, in a 4-week study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared with 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo.

What’s more, in a small study in 6 people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing with ashwagandha for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels. However, the study didn’t include a control group, making the results questionable.

SUMMARY

Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels through its effects on insulin secretion and sensitivity.

3. Might have anticancer properties

Animal and test-tube studies have found that withaferin — a compound in ashwagandha — helps induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells.

It also impedes the growth of new cancer cells in several ways.

First, withaferin is believed to promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, disrupting their function. Second, it may cause cancer cells to become less resistant to apoptosis.

Animal studies suggest that it may help treat several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer.

In one study, mice with ovarian tumors treated with withaferin alone or in combination with an anti-cancer drug showed a 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. The treatment also prevented the spread of cancer to other organs.

Although no evidence suggests that ashwagandha exerts similar effects in humans, the current research is encouraging.

SUMMARY

Animal and test-tube studies have shown that withaferin, a bioactive compound in ashwagandha, promotes the death of tumor cells and may be effective against several types of cancer.

4. Can reduce cortisol levels

Cortisol is known as a stress hormone given that your adrenal glands release it in response to stress, as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low.

Unfortunately, in some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically elevated, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.

Studies have shown that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol.

In one study in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared with the control group. Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% reduction, on average (3).

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha supplements may help lower cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals.

5. May help reduce stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress.

Researchers have reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system.

Also, several controlled human studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders.

In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group.

In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in both animal and human studies.

6. May reduce symptoms of depression

Although it hasn’t been thoroughly studied, a few studies suggest ashwagandha may help alleviate depression.

In one controlled 60-day study in 64 stressed adults, those who took 600 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha extract per day reported a 79% reduction in severe depression, while the placebo group reported a 10% increase.

However, only one of the participants in this study had a history of depression. For this reason, the relevance of the results is unclear.

SUMMARY

The limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce depression.

7. Can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men

Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health.

In one study in 75 infertile men, the group treated with ashwagandha showed increased sperm count and motility.

What’s more, the treatment led to a significant increase in testosterone levels.

The researchers also reported that the group who took the herb had increased antioxidant levels in their blood.

In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. After 3 months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men.

8. May increase muscle mass and strength

Research has shown that ashwagandha may improve body composition and increase strength.

In a study to determine a safe and effective dosage for ashwagandha, healthy men who took 750–1,250 mg of pulverized ashwagandha root per day gained muscle strength after 30 days.

In another study, those who took ashwagandha had significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size. It also more than doubled their reductions in body fat percentage, compared with the placebo group.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and increase strength in men.

9. May reduce inflammation

Several animal studies have shown that ashwagandha helps decrease inflammation.

Studies in humans have found that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy.

It has also been shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

In one controlled study, the group who took 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared with a 6% decrease in the placebo group.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation.

10. May lower cholesterol and triglycerides

In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, ashwagandha may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Animal studies have found that it significantly decreases levels of these blood fats.

One study in rats found that it lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53% and nearly 45%, respectively.

While controlled human studies have reported less dramatic results, they have observed some impressive improvements in these markers.

In a 60-day study in chronically stressed adults, the group taking the highest dosage of standardized ashwagandha extract experienced a 17% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides, on average.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

11. May improve brain function, including memory

Test-tube and animal studies suggest that ashwagandha may mitigate memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease.

Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.

In one study, rats with epilepsy that were treated with ashwagandha had nearly a complete reversal of spatial memory impairment. This was likely caused by a reduction in oxidative stress.

Although ashwagandha has traditionally been used to boost memory in Ayurvedic medicine, only a small amount of human research has been conducted in this area.

In one controlled study, healthy men who took 500 mg of standardized extract daily reported significant improvements in their reaction time and task performance, compared with men who received a placebo.

Another 8-week study in 50 adults showed that taking 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily significantly improved general memory, task performance, and attention.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks.

12. Is safe for most people and widely available

Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people, although its long-term effects are unknown.

However, certain individuals should not take it, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

People with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ashwagandha unless authorized by a healthcare provider. This includes people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes.

Additionally, those on medication for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.

It may also decrease blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so medication dosages may need to be adjusted if you take it.

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha depends on the type of supplement. Extracts are more effective than crude ashwagandha root or leaf powder. Remember to follow instructions on labels.

Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice daily.

It’s offered by several supplement manufacturers and available from various retailers, including health food stores and vitamin shops.

There’s also a great selection of high-quality supplements available online.

SUMMARY

Although ashwagandha is safe for most people, certain individuals shouldn’t use it unless authorized to do so by their healthcare provider. Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice per day.

The bottom line

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits.

It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.

Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.

Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.

Evidence Based – Full credit for this article goes to healthline.com

The warm fuzzies of oxytocin!

Oxytocin plays a role in some of the most important moments in our lives. From labour and birth to friendships and relationships, Oxytocin accompanies our positive interactions with one another.

For this reason oxytocin has been dubbed the ‘bonding hormone’.

Ok, so what is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a small peptide that is produced within the hypothalamus part of the brain, and then released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. From there it binds to oxytocin receptors in the body to influence our behaviour and feelings.

When does it kick in?

Oxytocin is release in response to activation of sensory nerves – in particular during labour, breastfeeding and sexual activity.

But even lower intensity stimulation – think gentle touch, stroking or warm temperatures – can result in a release of oxytocin.

Can we increase our oxytocin levels?

As well as the oxytocin triggers we have discussed above, there are other smaller ways that we may be able to boost our levels day to day. In doing so we may also increase our feelings of warmth and empathy towards others.

Why not try some of these:

  • Put down your phone during conversations so you can look people in the eye and really connect with them.
  • Give someone a gift. Giving and receiving gifts is another way to show you care.
  • Make sure to tell the people you love how you feel about them.
  • Share a meal with people. Spending quality time with people we care about can boost connection.

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.

Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.

How laughter can relieve stress and help your immune system?

Stress Management Benefits of Laughter

Here are some of the many ways laughter reduces stress.

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Hormones

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine, and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins.

Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells we have working for us and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.

Physical Release

Have you ever felt like you have to laugh or you’ll cry? Have you experienced that cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.

Internal Workout

A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.

Distraction

Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.

Perspective

Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a threat or a challenge. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as challenges, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.

Social Benefits

Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious. So, if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more and realize these benefits as well.

By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

How to Use Laughter

Laughter is one of my all-time favorite stress management strategies because it’s free, convenient, and beneficial in so many ways. You can get more laughter in your life with the following strategies.

Laugh With Friends

Going to a movie or a comedy club with friends is a great way to get more laughter in your life. The contagious effects of laughter may mean you’ll laugh more than you otherwise would have during the show, plus you’ll have jokes to reference at later times.

Having friends over for a party or game night is also a great setup for laughter and other good feelings. Making time for this kind of fun is as important as any other habit you keep in your life to support your health, and it’s very possibly more enjoyable than most health habits as well.

Find Humor in Your Life

Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it’s ridiculous, realize that you could ‘look back on it and laugh.’ Think of how it will sound like a story you could tell your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now.

With this attitude, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approach life in a more mirthful way and you’ll find you’re less stressed about negative events.

Fake It Until You Make It

Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is fake or real, faked laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. The body can’t distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humor.

The physical benefits are exactly the same, and the former usually leads to the latter anyway. So smile more, and fake laughter; you’ll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to real smiles and laughter.

Media

There’s no shortage of laughter opportunities from entertainment, both at the theater as well as at home with streaming movies and T.V. comedies.

While wasting your time watching something marginally funny may actually frustrate you, watching truly hilarious movies and shows is an easy way to get laughter into your life whenever you need it. You may want to share your recommendations with friends and you’ll have something to reference and laugh about together.

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.

Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.

Credit to Very Well Mind for this article!