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Prefer to read this article as a PDF download? Early on in my nutritionist practice, a forty-eight-year-old female lawyer named Toni was referred to me by a local physician in New York City.
The highlight of this case was that Toni was a marathon runner. She ate a paltry 1, calories per day, she ran eight to ten miles a day during the work week and about fifteen miles on Saturday, and she was a legitimate candidate for losing fifteen pounds. When Toni walked into my office I was surprised to see that she looked absolutely nothing like a marathon runner.
She was short, plump, and high-strung. Toni had spent thousands of dollars on blood tests and to have her body poked and probed to find something wrong but was given a clean bill of health. This highly intelligent, super-successful woman was absolutely beside herself that she could be exercising so much, eating so little, and seeing no results after a year of training. With the right questions I quickly determined that, contrary to my suspicions, Toni was telling the truth.
She was really running and she was really starving herself. I was quite confident that I could help. She ate fast, received no pleasure from food, and seldom had a nourishing meal. We had lots to work on. I told Toni that it would take eight sessions over a two-month period to begin shifting her weight. I explained that she had to eat more food, including more fat and protein, and she needed to learn to relax and receive pleasure from food.
Toni looked at me as though I was insane and insisted that if she ate anything more than she was eating now she would most certainly gain weight. Without my asking, she wrote a check for all eight sessions and walked out of the office more agitated than when she walked in. At the end of two weeks Toni weighed six pounds more and threatened to sue me. Her worst nightmare had come true. Her lawyer was sending me intimidating letters.
But I never forgot her and remained mystified about her case. Fast forward to seven years later. I would have instantly referred her to someone else but a number of her close friends who had come to see me all shared their wonderful success stories, so Sheila was eager to work with me.
It seemed as though the universe was entertaining itself by having a good laugh at my expense. I gave Shelia the same advice I had given Toni: In two weeks Sheila gained four pounds.
I felt like a criminal and was ready to surrender myself to the authorities. She was so inspired and positive about how her friends had benefited from working with me that she felt certain I could figure this out.
An exercise physiologist friend explained to me that intense exercise can closely mimic the stress response. Yes, aerobic exercise is great for us and has a long list on wonderful metabolic benefits. But in the wrong context exercise can wear us down, elevate cortisol and insulin levels, generate inflammatory chemicals, and lock us into a survival metabolism in which we vigorously store fat and arrest the building of muscle. According to conventional wisdom, weight is a function of calories in and calories out.
So the more you exercise the more weight you will supposedly lose. But in reality, the exercise story is never so black-and-white. Kenneth Cooper, MD, the granddaddy of the fitness movement in America and a previous proponent of intense workouts, had done a complete about-face concerning vigorous aerobic exercise.
His research findings at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, Texas, were so astounding that I think anyone who does high-intensity workouts should take note.
Basically, Cooper discovered that low- to moderate-intensity exercise for only thirty minutes three or four times per week was the best prescription for health, weight maintenance, and fitness. On our next visit I asked Sheila why she ran marathons. She said she needed to do something for fitness and she liked running. I asked her if she really wanted to run so much or if there were other forms of fitness she would prefer.
She was uncomfortable with my questioning and was taken aback when I suggested she secretly disliked running. But the place we eventually arrived at in our conversation was a very honest one: Sheila was running out of punishment for having a body, and for having a body with fat. She ran because she hated weight. To my thinking, the intensely fearful thoughts that motivated her were causing a physiologic stress-response.
Running was not going to take her where she wanted to go and her weight was the proof. Sheila understood this and agreed to completely drop all aspects of her marathon training. In place of running I asked her to choose something she would love to do. She decided to take a dance class, a yoga class, and do some occasional walking. The moral of this story is not that exercise is bad. But we need to look at the motivating forces that drive us to exercise.
Healthy habits driven by fear are not so healthy after all. Deep self-limiting thoughts can do nothing but suppress metabolism, even in the face of intense, calorie-burning workouts. Exercise and move from a place of inspiration, freedom, and joy — and your body will love you right back by rewarding you with a hotter calorie burning metabolism.
Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss. Previous post - Next post. Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet.
Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation and make your room smell wonderful! Squeeze a stress ball. Using a stress ball can help alleviate tension by promoting muscle relaxation and providing a general sense of release.
Venting all those thoughts and emotions onto paper can make your feelings and problems seem less intimidating. Writing can be both insightful and therapeutic so get those words down on paper! Feeling all worked up? Green tea is a source of the chemical L-Theanine which can help relieve anger.
Call an old friend. Feeling out of control? Speaking to an old friend can be really grounding. Social connectedness can reduce stress levels and no doubt the nostalgia will get you smiling and laughing too!
Snuggle up with a pet. Cuddling your pet can help reduce anxiety through the release of oxytocin in your brain, ease feelings of social rejection and make you feel cared for which can help boost your self esteem.
The cutest therapy going! Did you know that certain smells can change our mood? Floral scents can lift your mental state and make you feel less anxious…so go stick your nose in your neighbours rhododendron bush! Stretching has been linked to relaxation and stress relief as well as a greater sense of wellbeing. Mess can really start to clutter up your mind so clean your room and reorganize your desk. Tidy room, tidy mind sorry, we said it.
Take a walk in nature. Not only will walking trigger the release of endorphins which can reduce stress hormones, but being out in nature can boost serotonin levels which can also contribute to an improved sense of wellbeing. Concentrate on letting your mind and body experience the task with serene awareness e. Your mind is a powerful tool.
Whether you use it to visualize success, visit a happy place, or embark on an imaginary journey, the technique can help alleviate anxiety and sadness so go get creative in your head! Whilst stress can interfere with sleeping, sleeping can also relieve stress. Cook your fave dish. Nourishing yourself with a good meal can help boost your sense of self-worth.
Write a card for someone you care about. Random acts of kindness like this have beneficial effects for both you and the person at the receiving end. You can feel good about making someone else feel great and performing these acts has been linked to helping socially anxious people feel more positive.
Candlelight is known for its calming effects and even better scented candles have aromatherapeutic properties which can improve wellbeing. Watching the flame of a candle can also be a great starting point for meditation. So sit back and enjoy the glow! The afternoon power nap can effectively reduce stress, improve your mood and increase alertness, so we give you full permission to climb back into bed! Take a couple of minutes out of your day to mindfully countdown from ten and back up again.
Continue this process until you feel calm enough to resume your day. Wake up and smell the coffee. Finally, a saying that makes literal sense! Smelling coffee actually reduces stress hormones, so we suggest you have a good whiff of a decaf variety over breakfast. Enjoy being in a water. Paddle down to your local swimming pool and let the water do its magic.
Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that can help improve our mental health and swimming is a peaceful way of achieving this. Moving in water has relaxing effects on the body as it allows oxygen to flow to your muscles which consequently regulates your breathing.
Learn from the great art of acupuncture and give those temples a gentle knead with your index and middle fingertips. Massaging your temples helps relax the other muscles in your body as well as soothing your headache symptoms bonus! Enjoy the company birds can bring and track all the different species you can view from your doorstep. Whilst some social situations can be stressful, a sleepover with your best mate can be a great way to chill out.
Hum the tune of your fave song. Humming can dramatically slow down your heart rate and ground you. It also has a relaxing effect on your face, neck and shoulder muscles. Not only does fresh air promote wellbeing and relax you, but getting more oxygen to the brain improves concentration and gives you the energy boost you need without the same sugar comedown of a chocolate bar damn.
Whilst any exercise works wonders, team sports may be better for your mental health than exercising alone as they promote a sense of connection and can reduce social anxiety. Be nice to yourself. Take some time to practice self-love, whether that means starting the day repeating positive affirmations about yourself or nourishing your body with the nutrition you need.
Remember ditching negative self-talk really will relieve a lot of stress. Taking a dip in a hot bath will relax your muscles, enabling you to unwind both physically and mentally which can help prepare you for a good night sleep too. A good soak can also be a great way to reduce daily anxiety…unleash the rubber ducks! Waking up earlier also provides you with some valuable time to relax with yourself and prepare for the day ahead…so wake up sleepy heads! Outdoor activities like this promote our mental and physical wellbeing.
Going on a picnic with your friends or family can help reduce the stress we associate with school, work and home whilst providing a bonding experience that can alleviate feelings of social isolation. Not only does filling your room with flowers look pretty and purify the air, but being around plants can help people feel more relaxed and actually reduce your likelihood of developing stress related depression.
To learn more check out this Readers Digest article that discusses all the ways friends can help you beat stress. Journaling is considered to be an effective stress management technique to many. One of the most popular methods of this stress management techniques is to write a daily journal where you explore the feelings and thoughts of your everyday life.
This form of self-exploration works best when done consistently, so you need to make this daily journaling a habit. However, even sporadic journaling helps you to process emotions and can have a cathartic effect. We all need the occasional day with zero stress. Take a day and just get away. Go on a hike in the mountains. Sunbathe at the beach. Go on a long bike ride. Go to the movies. Occasionally it is important to disconnect from your normal routine and just get away.
ABC News discusses how time off can reduce stress and increase productivity. I have never been a huge fan of meditation. But Mindful Mediatio n has been proven in some fairly serious studies see this Harvard Health article to have a positive effect on stress and anxiety.
It works not only by relaxing the muscles and the body but also by working pressure points that effect the nervous system. This will help to deepen breathing capacity, which in turn brings your body to a more calm state of being. All of our senses are hardwired into your brain. Many of them interact in ways that you might not think they would. Read more about relieving stress and anxiety. There are lots of good books that will go far deeper than the previous synopsis mentions of anxiety and stress relieving techniques here.
If you want to learn more -read more. My top self-help books has a short section showcasing some of the best. See them all HERE. With these 16 ways to deal with stress, you are now armed with strategies to live a calmer, more-fulfilled life.
You can't control many of the things that cause stress. What you can do is take a proactive approach and control the way you handle this problem. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Dealing with stress is part of our modern, hectic, fast-paced lifestyle. Go for a walk or get more exercise. According to this Mayo Clinic report , walking or any regular exercise works can reduce your stress in a number of ways: It lowers the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
It can raise your confidence and ability to handle problems. It gives you a feeling of control over your own body and mind. It can be a form of calming meditation in motion. Refined food increases insulin levels, releasing stress hormones. If you are feeling stressed, try this breathing technique: Keep your anxiety focused on real, immediate issues, and tune out imagined ones or those over which you have zero control, and you'll automatically reduce stress overload.
Focus on your senses a few minutes a day. For a few minutes a day, practice being mindful—focusing only on what's going on in the present —whether it's during your workout or taking a break from your work. Try taking a short walk and instead of thinking about what's worrying you, pay attention to your senses—what you see, feel, hear, smell.
This can make a huge difference in your emotional and physical well-being when done daily. Talk about—or write out—what's worrying you. Writing or talking about the things that prey on you—in a diary, with friends, in a support group or even a home computer file—helps you feel less alone and helpless. One study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association , looked at people who had either rheumatoid arthritis or asthma— conditions known to be stress-sensitive.
One group chronicled in a perfunctory manner the things they did each day. The other group was asked to write daily about what it was like, including fears and pain, to have their disease. People who wrote at length about their feelings had far fewer episodes of their illness.
Be faithful to your workout routines, no matter how stressed or busy you are. Working out is one of the most effective stress relievers. Researchers recently found that after spending 30 minutes on a treadmill, their subjects scored 25 percent lower on tests that measure anxiety and showed favorable changes in brain activity. If you only have time to do one thing for yourself, make it sticking to your workout routines. If you can't hit the gym or trails, even a brisk minute walk at lunch or getting up several times a day to stretch and walk around will help relieve stress.
Take time to be touched. Experts haven't figured out why having your body pressed and prodded works wonders, but they know that it does. Studies suggest massage can speed up weight gain in premature babies, improve lung function in asthmatics and boost immunity in men with HIV.
If you can't indulge in regular full-body massages, treat yourself to the occasional pedicure, manicure or facial—all nurturing, hands-on treats that offer some of the mind-body benefits of massage. Speak a stress-free language. People who handle stress well tend to employ what stress experts call an "optimistic explanatory style. So instead of using statements that catastrophize an incident, like "I'm a complete failure," they might say to themselves, "I need to work on my backhand. Rather than saying, "I really blew that presentation," it's, "That was a tough group to engage.
You can expect to quench your thirst with a drink of water. You cannot expect to get the job you just interviewed for. You can hope to get it. Don't be so serious. There's nothing like anxiety to annihilate your sense of humor. It would follow, then, that it's impossible to feel stressed when you're hunched over in a fit of giggles. Studies have shown, in fact, that laughter not only relieves tension, but actually improves immune function.
Swap jokes with your friends. Rent a funny movie. Stop taking things so seriously! Once a day, get away. When you're having a hell of a day—good or bad—checking out for minutes is revitalizing. Find a place where you can be alone and definitely ditch the cell phone —the attic, the bathroom, a quiet cafe, a big oak tree—and wipe the slate clean for a few minutes.
Do whatever it is that relaxes you: Meditate, read a novel, sing or sip tea. It's crucial to take just a few minutes everyday to de-stress. It's not how much time you allot, but being consistent that's important. Identify at least one good thing that happened today.
People will often say, “Don't stress" or “You need to reduce your stress". But that can be easier said than done. If you are dedicated to building a stress reducing. But high levels of stress can have a serious impact on your mental and physical It relieves physical tension, reduces stress and increases. We all have stress which provides us with a need to relax. Here are reasons why fun activities provide some of the best stress relief. Having regular fun in your life can help you feel less overwhelmed by the stressors you.