12 Ways to Beat Stress Now

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12 Ways to Beat Stress Now

Time and time again, research has demonstrated a clear link between stress and physical health. Stress can be a factor in immune system dysfunction, loss of sleep, and even many chronic diseases. And for those who struggle with their weight, despite pursuing a healthy diet and exercise, stress might be at least partially to blame!

That’s because stress disrupts the hormones that regulate things like appetite and fat storage. When we’re under stress, our bodies respond as though we might be experiencing famine or other detrimental environmental problems. Historically, that makes sense, as events such as food shortages were often the primary causes of stress. Most of us don’t really have that particular problem anymore, and our stress more often results from busy schedules, relationship problems, and career demands. But no one sent a memo to our hormones about that. So, stress can result in cravings for unhealthy foods, or simply cause metabolism to slow and refuse to burn fat stores.

If you’re under regular, chronically high amounts of stress, we recommend setting an appointment with a qualified mental health professional. This person can help you work through the problems creating the stress, and advise you on beneficial coping mechanisms in the long term.

But for those of you suffering temporary flare-ups of stress, these twelve proven stress busters can offer a quick mood adjustment just when you need it.

  1. Walk away… Go for a walk, or even a short jog. Even five minutes of exercise can change your mindset.
  2. Pet your cat – yes, really. A cat’s purring has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
  3. Practice yoga. Fit in a class when you can, to learn the basics. When stress strikes, strike a pose (a yoga pose, that is).
  4. Try aromatherapy. Certain scents, like lavender, are known to reduce anxiety. Purchase a scented candle or oil diffuser in a scent that works for you.
  5. Breathe deeply. Often when we’re stressed, we unconsciously hold our breath or breath rapidly and shallowly. Reverse that pattern by practicing deep breathing.
  6. Put on some music. Something soft and soothing can adjust your mood. For others, happy upbeat tunes do the trick.
  7. Chew gum. For some strange reason, chewing a piece of gum reduces the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).
  8. Take a nap.
  9. Get creative. For some people, doodling in a sketch book, photography, making pottery, writing poetry, and other creative endeavors greatly reduce stress.
  10. Try guided visualization techniques.
  11. Drink a cup of herbal tea. The warmth is soothing, and many herbal blends are designed to combat anxiety.
  12. Hug someone. For many of us, brief physical contact with a loved one is all we need to feel reassured and comforted.

If you’re experiencing regular, ongoing stress that does not respond to these tactics, please mention it at your next appointment with us. We need to know about these things, so that we can adequately support your health and weight loss progress.