The evidence is clear that stress makes us sick and for many, stress packs on the weight too. This is something I talk about a lot at Happy Food, and we work towards reducing stress. But…there are also ways to team up with stress. Here’s our approach: reduce unnecessary stress, re-frame the script, and let the rest energize you.
First, we reduce self-inflicted stress. Some examples from my office includes saying “no” more and know your limits, creating better boundaries, improving communication, balance work and life, improve time management, don’t try to please everyone, etc. Some of your goals may be easy and others may take time. Acknowledge that we all have different strengths and weaknesses so refrain from comparisons.
Second, hard-wire your brain neurons to be more resilient. Understand how to re-frame situations so your perspective allows your cortex brain to find solutions versus letting stress hijack your brain and reacting in a counter-productive manner. Be gentle on yourself. This takes practice and time.
Lastly but not necessarily done in sequential order, let the stress energize you. It turns out that those who don’t believe stress is harmful may experience the pounding heart of a stressful moment, but their arteries don’t constrict like those who do believe that stress is harmful. What if stress energizes our body for action? Think about all the times you did something amazing. It involved stress and took courage. Let’s create that biology of action and courage with each stressful situation. In addition, oxytocin is the antidote to stress cortisol. We release more of these bonding hormones with increased human contact. Having connections and specifically caring for others makes us more resilient. So what am I saying? Once we balance our lives and flip those sabotaging scripts, we let stress energize us by providing courage and strong human bonds. Stress isn’t all bad.
Trust yourself to handle the challenges of life and don’t face them alone. Seeking meaning is better than avoiding discomfort. As a great saying goes, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (Neale Donald Walsch). Let’s work towards thriving and not just surviving. Without wasted energy on diets, body judgment, and calorie counting, we can all thrive and let stress deliver courage and resilience. Don’t let anyone take that away from you! You are more than a diet. And once we address the right stuff, weight loss is easy and taking care of yourself is the norm. Learn nutrition and the root cause of your stress at the same time.
If you need help understanding nutrition and all the mixed messages out there, give us a call. We will address your stress level, eating habits, exercise, cravings, emotional eating, and overall health and happiness. Start with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655. See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone. Check out Yelp for other people’s opinion of Happy Food.
~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA