Relieving Stress


Image via News UGA

Jade Alderson

Did you know that cortisol is the stress hormone and can fog up your ideas and thoughts, causing you to make decisions that may not be the most ideal? One of the best ways to manage your overall life is to manage and lower these cortisol levels. Many high school students have to deal with a multitude of AP classes, college preparations, jobs, a social life/relationships, and dealing with home life (including younger siblings). There is so much to do which leads to a surplus of stress. People have spent years figuring out how to lower cortisol levels and here are some ideas to do so.

Although caffeine is highly valued, it does increase cortisol levels in your brain. Caffeine consumption in ALL forms is shown to increase your cortisol levels, including energy drinks, energy pills, coffee, and other supplements that include caffeine. A cup of coffee a day is alright and can help focus levels, but many people drink much more than that. Drinking certain teas without caffeine can help lower these levels and create a better sense of calm. This can be a good substitute for coffee as well, due to its warm comforting feel. 

As a good diet helps physical health, it also helps your mental health, including stress. Having a well-balanced diet, with good portion sizes, increases the potassium level your liver gives off, which helps the balance of brain chemicals and side effects, such as cortisol. A good diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, every day, and less processed foods and sugars. Also, making sure to drink plenty of water is included in a good diet. Smoking and alcohol also increase cortisol levels and are unhealthy for developing and growing brains. It might seem like a temporary solution but does end up affecting you in the short and long term. This also improves your overall mental health, giving you the motivation and energy that your brain and body need to help focus, which is definitely important for a student. 

It may not be the most fun thing, but using less screen time improves your stress levels. The blue light causes an issue, but also the overload of information. Scrolling through social media, or too much news, can overload your brain and make you more forgetful and more stressed due to that. It isn’t healthy for cortisol levels and it is also unhealthy for general mental health including depression, anxiety, a lack of motivation, and more. 

It is important to monitor your cortisol levels because it has a large impact on your mental health, but over time, also your physical health. It is important to find ways to destress in your life and one solution isn’t a fix-all for everyone. Everybody deals with stress differently but it is important to find a healthy way to prevent it, and release the stress when it does come up. As a high school student, you have many responsibilities and tasks that need to be completed but without a good balance, you won’t be able to efficiently complete these tasks.