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Dr Mehmet Yildiz

My Elevated Cortisol Was About To Destroy Me When I Knocked It With 5 Punches


Cortisol is a good guy. It protects us. But when it is elevated in our bloodstream, it can be the worst enemy. This is my story of the victory upon elevated cortisol when it was about to ruin me. I knocked it with five simple lifestyle hacks.

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

Elevated cortisol in my bloodstream raised alarm bells for my declining health in my mid-life. My health care professionals were concerned and referred me to an endocrinologist who focussed on my hormonal profile.

Elevated cortisol was mocking up my hormonal balance.

For example, the higher the cortisol was going, the lower my testosterone was getting.

The symptoms of high cortisol manifested as anxiety, sleep disorder, food cravings, mood swings, aching muscles, and overall discomfort.

Living with elevated cortisol is not fun.

Identifying the root causes of cortisol was the first successful step for me. Root cause analysis was crucial for the diagnosis of the endocrinologist working with me closely.

The root cause of my cortisol was excessive mental and physical stress.

Cortisol goes typically up in the morning. It is natural. It helps us to wake up and get ready for the day.

My morning cortisol level was triple of the normal range in the morning.

What was I doing wrong?

The first root cause was my beloved coffee which gave me life on those days. At least, it was my perception.

But I was wrong.

When I got up, the first thing in the morning was drinking two cups of strong coffee. After 20 minutes, I was going out to run for five to ten kilometres.

Running gave me a temporary pleasure, but the stress created by caffeine and excessive exercise was a recipe for failure.

Besides, I was working full time in a demanding job and studying part-time. Having a young child who was waking up multiple times, requiring attention was another contributor to my skyrocketing stress.

My acute stress turned to chronic stress. My body was under constant mental and physical stress.

When my elevated cortisol was about to kill me, I discovered some useful solutions.

With five beneficial lifestyle changes, I punched my elevated cortisol in the face and defeated it.

Let me share my experience.

1. I learned to deal with my anxiety

The most important way to deal with anxiety for me to tame my overactive amygdala.

The amygdala is a hard-coded system in our limbic part of the brain with common life threats such as a sudden noise, extreme physical conditions, or sufferings.

The amygdala observes and senses the risky situations and the perceptual danger, affecting our survival adversely.

In my situation, there was no real-life danger, but my body was seeing stress as a threat.

I used my logical brain to tame sensitive amygdala.

Mindfulness was one of the techniques I used. I learned to act mindfully.

Living in the moment is a critical aspect of mindfulness. I ate and drank mindfully. Being aware of things around me and keeping things in the right perspective was a good start.

I shared my experience of dealing with anxiety in an article on News Break.


2. I ensured to walk 10,000 steps a day

I stopped running. It was causing me a lot of pain in my joints.

Exercise is vital for our health. As a fitness enthusiast, I did not want to have a sedentary lifestyle.

As advised by my healthcare consultants, I replaced running with gentle walks. Strolling outside enjoying the environment with mindfulness made a significant impact on my stress level. Even after 90 minutes of walking, I was feeling energetic and alert.

Completing 10,000 steps per day became my success formula to beat stress.

Having a smartwatch counting my steps was a motivation tool for me.

Having a trampoline helped me a lot to complete my 10,000 step goal.

I shared my experience with and the benefits of using a trampoline in an article on News Break.

10 Incredible Benefits of Jumping on Trampoline | News Break

I also shared my other joyful exercises in this article.

How I Got Fitter, Stronger, and Healthier | News Break

3. I gave up coffee and replaced with more sustainable alternatives

I used to love coffee. The smell of coffee in the morning was energizing me.

Some good things may also bad for me. I am not against coffee, but it raised my stress level, especially in the morning on an empty stomach.

The best solution to replace coffee was a cold shower in the morning.

I shared my experience and benefits of a cold shower in this article on News Break.

What Happens If You Have A 3-Minute Cold Shower Every Day | News Break

4. I improved quality sleep

Improving my sleep quality not only help me reduce stress but also made me feel fantastic. Getting an eight-hour of quality sleep was panaceas for my health problems.

I suffered a lot from sleep deprivation. I didn't know about it and blamed other things, such as genetics and other life conditions. Root causes of my many health issues were lack of quality sleep.

After learning about my sleep issues and accepting them was an excellent start in resolving my issues.

I shared my experience of improving quality sleep in this article on News Break.

How I Skyrocketed My Sleep Quality With 7 Simple Hacks | News Break

5. I got rid of digestive discomfort

I used to have a lot of digestive system issues.

As usual, stress was the main culprit. However, my diet was horrible.

I used to eat a lot of carbs which turn to sugar and increase my insulin.

Besides, unknowingly I was taking excessive fibre to improve my digestive system, but my poor body was suffering intensely. My digestive system was in agony. I experienced the pain of bloating every day.

I shared my experience on how to solve my digestive issues in this article on News Break.

When I Cut Fibre Entirely My Terrible Bloating Gone. How Naive Was I For Not Listening To My Body!


Identifying symptoms and root causes of elevated cortisol in the bloodstream is a good start.

Accepting the conditions is the next important step.

We are all unique and have a different stress response to various conditions.

For me running, coffee, demanding work, and young child were the triggers.

Replacing running with a gentle walk and replacing coffee with cold showers addressed my physical stress.

Dealing with anxiety effective addressed my emotional and mental stress.

Solving my digestive issues improved my overall well-being.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story. I perform experiments on my health and fitness safely and sensibly. I love sharing my experiences with my readers so that my stories can reflect insights from real life. You might check some of my stories on News Break related to my personal and professional experience in fitness, health, and lifestyle.

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