Is your love life suffering because of stress? If so, you're not alone! It's quite common for stress to have this effect. This is all down to a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a powerful hormone which we need in small doses, but when we’re stressed we produce extra cortisol. Cortisol has a negative effect on testosterone, the hormone responsible for a healthy sex drive in both men and women.
If stress comes as a result of work or family pressures, it’s difficult to remove the stressor but there are things you can do to help reduce your stress levels. For this to work, you need to take some time for yourself - and not feel guilty about doing so!
How to reduce stress levels
Laughing stops the release of cortisol and instead releases the happiness hormones; endorphin, dopamine and serotonin. A good belly laugh can fill your body with happy hormones, leaving you feeling joyous for up to 45 minutes afterward.
Schedule a little time in your day for some relaxation. Yoga is an excellent way to switch off from your daily stresses, combining physical strength with controlled breathing and meditation. But if yoga isn’t possible, simply taking 10 minutes to switch off from your thoughts can help control stress, decrease anxiety and improve cardiovascular health. This doesn't necessarily need to involve meditation. A good walk in fresh air can help too! Which brings us on to...
Any form of physical activity will produce and pump endorphins around your body. The time while exercising is also time when you are not thinking of your stresses and the result is a (temporary) reduction in cortisol production.
Sleep is essential for our health. We’ve all heard about the magic 8 hours, but new research has found that quality of sleep is more important than duration. Getting good quality sleep can help reduce cortisol levels. Experts suggest starting a bedtime routine and shutting off from electronics for at least one hour before going to bed.
If switching off before bed is a struggle, why not try a different form of exercise…
Although stress is a libido killer, having sex is in fact one of the best ways of reducing stress for both men and women. With high levels of cortisol in the body, women may struggle to produce enough natural moisture, causing discomfort during intercourse. A small amount of personal lubrication
may help kick start the body and once those endorphins are running, you’ll forget all about your stresses!