Combating Cortisol Overload – Part 1

By Brenda Jank

Note: This post is Post #6 of our original series on rest and restoration. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh, new way and will invite others to join in.

The Definition of Insanity has played a part in altering the terrain of my life and my heart on a number of occasions. Have you ever heard of it?

The Definition of Insanity is doing what you’ve always done, but expecting different results. (This idea can be traced back to the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous – 1983.) It’s given me pause more than once – especially in the arena of cortisol overload.

Last week we spoke of Easy Tweaks. This week we are going to roll up our sleeves and dig in, but we will find that most of these suggestions are framed by delight, not a sense of duty.

Try This

  • Take Five. Go outside intentionally. Five simple, quiet minutes outside enhanced the well-being of people fighting depression, across the board. It was an astounding finding. Set a timer. Go. Step outside. Look for the moon. Watch a bird or a bug. Listen to the wind. You won’t be disappointed. Do it every day. Shoot for an eight week run.
  • Give yourself a bedtime – for one week. If you’re a guy, start the process 10 minutes ahead of time. If you’re a woman, make it an hour. (We tend to get side tracked.) Assess and repeat.
  • Drink all the caffeine you want – before 1 pm. If you struggle with sleep, cut your caffeine in half.
  • Make sure all snacks have some protein. If a snack is all carbs, the sugar slump will lay you low. (Same goes for meals, especially breakfast.)
  • Consider a 10-20 minute power nap during an afternoon slump.. Do some deep breathing while you’re at it.
  • Daniel prayed 3 times a day. Do a Daniel. We too easily forget that God is near, attentive, Almighty, compassionate. His Presence makes a difference.
  • Cuddle. The warmth of sustained contact puts us on the fast track of cortisol reduction. 7-second hugs work, too!
  • Read the Serenity Prayer twice every day. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892–1971)
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Do it now. Breathe out through your mouth. In through your nose. Use your abdominal muscles. Keep your shoulders low. Don’t let them rise. The oxygen boost to your brain does wonders.

Did you like this post?
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Brenda Jank and the Run Hard. Rest Well team are thought leaders in the arena of Restorative Wellness. Find additional resources at Contact us at:

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2 thoughts on “Combating Cortisol Overload – Part 1”

    • Stress is not the enemy.
      The enemy is cortisol and God has given us simple things to fight this nasty bugger!
      We are in this together!


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