Stress effects can bring about profound changes to our health and wellbeing. I know this all too well from personal life experience. Contrary to what some might want to believe, I have not exactly lived a stress free and charmed life. But, I have learned to finally have some form of control or management of how stress affects me. While I know that managing stress is not particularly easy, I do know it is not impossible. Sometimes, it becomes necessary that we reach out and receive professional help, which is what I did.
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. None of us are immune to stress. But we can bring it under control to a large degree when we learn how to control the manner in which we react to it.
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. When stressed, individuals may eat much more or much less than usual. Or they may increase their use of alcohol or tobacco, which can result in heartburn or acid reflux. Stress or exhaustion can also increase the severity of regularly occurring heartburn pain. A rare case of spasms in the esophagus can be set off by intense stress and can be easily mistaken for a heart attack. Stress effects on our body are no laughing matter.
Fight or flight.
Most of us become overeaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens thanks to your fight or flight response, a.k.a. survival mode. Once our body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to do. In most cases, that means we will overeat. Why? Because your body thinks you’ve used calories to deal with your stress, even though you haven’t. As a result, it thinks you need to replenish those calories, even though you don’t.
During tension-filled times, our levels of “the stress hormone,” cortisol, rise . This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the cortisol also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. This is a biochemical response that you cannot stop from happening, but you can do something about it. You can help yourself by eating healthy foods, getting active, and doing things that make you relaxed and happy which do not involve alcohol.
Try these stress management techniques to combat stress-related weight gain:
- Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.
- Before eating, ask yourself why you’re eating — are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious?
- If you’re tempted to eat when you’re not hungry, find a distraction.
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. If you’re in a hurry, grab a piece of fruit on the way out the door.
- Eat a healthy diet, such as whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Aim to include most food groups in your meals.
- Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your home or office.
- Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so that you can look for patterns and connections — and then figure out how to overcome them.
- Learn problem-solving skills so that you can anticipate challenges and cope with setbacks.
- Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, stretching, massage, deep breathing or meditation.
- Engage in regular physical activity or exercise.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Get encouragement from supportive friends and family.
Check out our our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. It is not complicated at all and is really nothing more than a common sense approach to nutrition. I guarantee that anyone who tries our methodology will lose weight, and then keep it off. Best of all, we charge nothing to anyone to follow our methodology, we are entirely free to all.
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2 Comments Add yours
This is a wonderful, informative article about the effects of stress on our overall well-being. I overturned my entire life years ago and recreated it from scratch to alleviate stress. Quite often we think we can just “live with it” but that can easily turn into “die with it”…great work, David!
It’s really very well written post and thanks a lot for sharing.