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How to Reduce cortisol for good (Being grounded)

We know high cortisol levels is testosterone public enemy number one. We hear it all the time especially in the fitness community.

Lower stress levels means lower cortisol levels which equals higher testosterone levels.

The body produces more cortisol in response to stress. At the same time, it reduces testosterone production, dedicating energy to the production of cortisol so that enough will be available. Cortisol and testosterone levels tend to change together, a reflection of the interconnected systems in the body.

The body does a great job at handling stress, the problem is when cortisol levels are elevated for a long period of time.

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The issue is a high percentage of  modern men generally will experience high stress levels for a long period of time. For example: The guy that hates his job so he spends most of his 12-hour workday stressed and when he goes home he is too tired and doesn’t have time to spend on doing the things he enjoys.

Does this sound like someone you know?

Someone living such a life is setting themselves up for a disaster with  health consequences they can’t come back from.

“Hint that bold or over weight guy that works long hours most of his life.”

Working longs hours is not the problem as  long as you’re are not stressed a majority of the time and work doesn’t interfere with your health.

Here are Some signs of having high cortisol levels besides balding:

• You experience backaches and headaches
• You’re not sleeping well
• Even when you sleep well, you’re still tired
• You’re gaining weight (even if you’re healthy)
• Low sex drive
• You feel anxious
• Feeling depressed

I get it sometimes you have to  do the hard yards and changing your environment or lifestyle is not an option at this moment.

This is why most cliché tips to reduce stress won’t benefit you

You have to look at the bigger picture,  If you’re not in control of your environment you have to be in total control of your emotions.  To be in complete control of your emotions you have to be in complete control of your consciousness.

I know I am going a little deep with this post but stay with me.

Ever heard of the term “Being grounded?”

The concept of being grounded was primarily taught by Alexander Lowen who was an American physician and psychotherapist. His teachings which I discovered around 1.5 years ago have changed my life forever.  I was no stranger to stress thanks to the being in the army and being part of many uncontrollable situations.

There was one major low point in my life which turned me on a path for knowledge on how to be in more control of my emotions, consciousness and happiness which lead me to the teachings of Alexander Lowen.

From experience I know Being grounded will help you reduce stress and cortisol levels.
Not only that but it will also will give you the ability to live with more pleasure.

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So What does it feel like to be grounded?

Being Grounded

To be grounded is to feel connected to the ground and being psychologically balanced and physically stable. One who is grounded is in touch with themselves and is in complete control of their consciousness. They live in the present moment being in touch with their higher self and have complete control of their ego. The grounded person is not an egocentric person.

The opposite of being grounded is to live in your head, and it also can be described as being hang up, or up in the air.  Here is a transcript of what being grounded is according to Alexander Lowen, who was an American physician and psychotherapist:

Being grounded as that an individual contact with the basic realities of his existence, he or she is rooted to the earth, identified with his body, aware of his sexuality and oriented towards pleasure. These qualities are lacking, in the person who is “up in the air”, or in his head instead of his feet.

Most of us live our lives not grounded, and we get caught up living in our heads and fabricating an idealized image of ourselves. This elevated, but false self-image we fabricate for ourselves is created to compensate for the insecurities of not being rooted in our natural functioning.

When we are grounded, we are more open to pleasure and more present in the moment, this can help with making better life decisions, overcoming stressful circumstances and enhances the feelings of pleasure in our lives. Being grounded can also increase self-awareness, creating an ability to be more receptive to information and pleasure.  Some exercises can help you feel more grounded, the exercises I practice are bio-energetic exercises that were used and taught by Alexander Lowen.

For more information on bioenergetic exercises to help you feel more grounded, I would highly recommend practicing the teachings of Alexander Lowen. I would also recommend practicing some form of meditation regularly, I use yoga or jogging as a form of meditation.

As a start to your journey of becoming more psychologically and physically stable, I would start by using these two exercises below.

Exercise instructions provided by http://reichandlowentherapy.org

I have also included some instructional videos from Elliot Hulses’s youtube channel. He does a great job at demonstrating the benefits of each exercise.

These exercises might seem odd at first “Don’t let it discourage you” until you try them.

The Bow

The bow is the ‘granddaddy’ of Alexander Lowen’s bioenergetic exercises

Instructions: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, perhaps 18 inches. Keep the outside edges of the feet going straight out (which will point the toes inward somewhat). Make a loose fist with both hands and reach arms around to push into the small of the back. Bend both knees deeply but keep heels on the floor. Arch backward so that shoulders go back and pelvis goes forward. Keep weight on the balls of the feet. The idea and ideal behind this exercise is to assume a smooth curve or ‘bow’ Remember to breathe into the belly. As the body loosens up over time vibration will start to happen. Try to hold the position for at least a minute. Follow up with the forward bend.

Rationale: This is a ‘stress’ position. Part of the way it works is 1) it will not be comfortable at all until the muscles tighten and 2) as some of the unnecessarily engaged muscles fatigue, it is possible that a person will sink into the position better. The exercise also increases breathing, opens the chest. And it obviously challenges a tight pelvis, especially one which is ‘cocked back’ (Lowen’s term, referencing the bottom of the pelvis) or said differently, tipped anteriorly (mainstream physical therapy, referencing the top of the pelvis)

Forward Bend

Stand with bare (or at least stocking) feet about 10 inches apart or slightly less than shoulder width. Have the outside edge of the feet going straight ahead which will make the inner edge of the feet appear to be angling in slightly toward each other. Keep knees bent slightly. Bend over forward until fingertips lightly brush floor. Bend the knees as much as needed to get hands to the floor. Use hands only for contact–do not put any weight on them. Let the head drop as much as possible, that is, let the head hang. Try to keep weight over the balls of the feet. If the heels are slightly off the ground try pushing them down and simultaneously pushing the hips up by straigtening the knees. Do not straighten knees all the way or lock them. Remember to breath. Making sounds enhances the exercise. See if it is possible to curve the upper torso. If the torso is too straight, balance will force the butt back behind the feet, but as much as possible the hips should be over the feet. Allow any vibrations to occur in the legs

Variation: Have a helper push down on the hips as you push hips up toward the ceiling.

Rationale: The most basic component of armoring is a chronic shortening of the large extensor muscles involved in the startle reflex–the calves, the hamstrings, the back and posterior neck muscles. This exercise directly addresses that tightness.
Letting the head go is very difficult for some people. It represents loss of control and vulnerability. During the exercise, it is not possible to scan the surroundings for possible threats.
Also gravity and stress tend to compress the body from top to bottom, and combined with exercises that bend the other way, this exercise helps lengthen the body. Increase in length helps with flexibility because it is partly the bunched up state of the average body that is responsible for widespread inflexibility.

Those were 2 basic bioenergetic exercises you can start using today. For more tips on how to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone levels don’t forget to subscribe to keep posted with all our latest posts.


 

Kind Regards

Antonio Ferraro

Source: Alexander Lowen. Basic bioenergetic exercise.