“Listen to your body.” That is what they say. Well my body is telling me right now to eat every sugary carbohydrate in sight! I have never felt more strongly before that my body needs Ben & Jerry’s.
Why might I be feeling this way? Is this really what my body needs? Well the truth is that our bodies are programmed for feast & famine. And these feast or famine alerts are set off due to stress. And in this 21st century, stress is unavoidable.
This trigger our body sends due to stress is what helped our ancestors survive during hard times. The problem is that luckily, most of us do not experience famine anymore. There is an abundance of food at all times. What is really going on when my body is saying, “I need chocolate, now!” may be a result of a hormonal signals produced by stress that tell our body to replenish nutritional stores – this is one cause of the ‘hungry’ feeling we all experience.
The hormone that is released due to stress includes adrenalin – which gives us instant energy, as well as CRH and cortisol. At first, the adrenalin and CRH will give you a decreased appetite, but this does not last very long. Cortisol is the hormone that signals our body to replenish, and this hormone likes to stick around.
When we follow these signals, it can lead to weight gain and even worse, the tendency to store fat around our midsection. For most of us, I would say this is the last place we want that fat going! These fat cells lie deep within the abdomen and are linked to diabetes and heart disease.
The good news is that we can outsmart our bodies; we don’t have to deal with our stress by eating a bag of chips and salsa, or munching on some cookies. There are healthier ways to address your stress that will lead to really dealing with the stress the right way and helping combat it instead of giving in to it and suffering of these not so great consequences.
The first, as I am sure you have heard a million times, is exercise. We all know that exercise produces endorphins. Exercise can also be a great way to release that stress energy. The problem here is that living an active life with regular exercise is sometimes not enough to combat the stress we may experience in our lives.
I know I fall into this category. Despite working out 5-6 days a week I still struggle with managing stress. And, it seems the older I get, the stress does not go away and often feels like it comes from more sources. Oh, if only I could go back to the days where all I had to worry about was a final. Now, there are bills, parenting, our children’s health and development, our careers, family issues, and the list goes on.
We have to accept that stress is never going to go away. Instead of wishing for all our problems to go away one day, we need to learn to face our stress head on, yet feel as peaceful as when you were younger.Happiness Coach Lyna Jones in Dumbo, NY wearing The Venice Tank
I have learned that we all need to take some time to ourselves for relaxation. Even if all we have time for is 15 min in the morning or at night before we go to bed. This is time just for you, to completely unwind and mentally lighten the intense load you may feel. The most effective way I have found to unwind and really release and relieve all the stressors in life is through meditation. Meditating for as little as 10 minutes per day can help control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.
There is a sub-genre of meditation that aims to reduce a person’s stress level, physically and mentally and it is called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness. What is interesting is that the studies have shown benefits in reducing stress not only immediately but also even years after an 8 week course. Below you will find a Mindfulness Meditation (MBSR) video for you to try by Vicki Panagotacos, PhD, FT.
Post was by our guest blogger, Olivia Cano from LIVLOV.tv. Her mission is to inspire other moms to start LIVing their lives to the fullest and truly LOVing themselves. Loving yourself is really looking after yourself, embracing your potential, believing in yourself and in your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to.