Many of us handle certain levels of stress daily, however long-term stress can have some major impacts on our health, wellbeing and weight.
Stress has a variety of negative aspects, including a slowed fat metabolism. Dr Sainsbury-Salis says that “one of the things that stress does is release stress hormones cortisol and neuropeptide Y.” This stress triggers our adrenal glands putting our bodies into a fight or flight response, that then sends messages to the cortisol receptors. “Cortisol gives you a higher preference for addictive behaviors and makes high-fat and high-sugar foods much more attractive,” Dr Sainsbury-Salis says. “It also acts on the hypothalamus in your brain, increasing your hunger and driving you to eat in times of stress.”
How we cope with our stress varies by individual, everyone has different tolerance levels and for that reason it is important for us to recognize and understand what our physical responses to stress are. Monitor your heart-rate, pay attention to your breathing rhythm, identify when you are tense; gauge your stress and adjust accordingly to calm yourself down.
The American Psychological Association suggests the following stress-reducing strategies to achieve a better life balance and get you closer to fulfilling your fitness endeavors:
1.Step away from what’s stressing you.
Walking away or lose yourself in a positive distraction, even for 20 minutes, can help reduce stress.
A short 20-minute workout can provide tremendous benefits to your physical and mental well-being and can relieve stress for several hours
3. Smile and Laugh
We tend to become tense when we are stressed, especially in our faces. Smiling and laughing helps to loosen up the facial muscles and relieve some of the underlying tension.
4. Seek Social Support
There is nothing wrong with accepting or seeking support from friends and family. Sharing your concerns and feelings with others can help to alleviate these overwhelming emotions.
Having an outlet to clear your mind when you are feeling overwhelmed is key in reducing stress. Even 5 minutes of mediation or mindful prayer can help release these negative emotions and have a positive impact on your day.
American Psychological Association. (2007, October 5). Stress Tip Sheet. Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/10/stress-tips.aspx
Drummond, L. (2016, June 17). Stress less to lose weight. Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/diet/lose-weight/stress-less-to-lose-weight/news-story/32e6875b3e84d0a438d395bc092ce121