Stress has a long list of undesirable effects and weight gain is one of the most noticeable. How does it work and what are the most effective ways to fight it? All will be explained in this blog post.
First of all — why and how does stress cause weight gain? The most important element at play here is cortisol — the stress hormone. This puts our bodies into fight-for-life mode, quickly? boosting our metabolism to mobilise its physical abilities. This causes a craving for all kinds of unhealthy foods — fatty, salty and sugary. If the stress is caused by purely psychological reasons and not physical threat, these calories are not used, and later show up on our waistlines. Chronic stress is even worse — it slows down the metabolism, alters blood sugar levels and stimulates our body to save up the fat, which can cause long-term serious heart issues.
As bad as the effects of stress are, avoiding it is probably not a solution with the modern lifestyle. So, let’s try some more down-to-earth tips, that are also proven by scientific studies?.
Mild exercise is one of the very best antidotes to stress. Don’t overdo the exercise, because intense training causes cortisol levels to rise again, while moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, a run around the neighbourhood or a swim in the pool not only help burn excess calories, but also produce oxytocin, “the happiness hormone” which plays a key role in reducing cortisol levels.
Substantial research has demonstrated the positive effects that meditation and other mindfulness practices have on stress levels. It has both immediate effects — calming down, clearing of the mind — as well as long-term benefits as it makes us more resistant to stress-inducing situations in the future. Don’t worry about following any specific techniques — just sit comfortably, focus on your breath and observe your mind without holding onto any concerns, rather letting them go. Don’t hesitate to take a mindfulness-pause during a busy workday — it may be just 10 minutes, but it can become a real game-changer to your quality of life.
A full night’s sleep (i.e. at least 8-hours) is an absolute must if you are dealing with a stressful environment or period. Being stressed-out and not recovering from it during sleep creates a downward spiral that nobody wants to follow. While exercising and meditating may considerably improve your sleep, in cases of severe and prolonged stress you may want to try some natural remedies. After all, getting a sleep-aid is much better than getting no sleep.
These tips may look almost too simple to be effective, but once you try them, you’ll find that they truly are. Start small and build up your own path towards DeepHealth! #DeepH