stressed woman hitting the snooze button

You did it again . . .

You hit the snooze button one too many times!

Now you’re running late, and on top of that, there’s no coffee in the house. Do you have enough time to grab a coffee at the drive-thru? You’re feeling anxious – you have an early meeting and you can’t be late – but you also know how much you need that coffee. You decide to grab the coffee and now you’re in line at the drive-thru, watching the minutes tick away… your heart starts to race and the muscles in your neck tense. Ugh, you think – if I just got up when the alarm went off.

Can you relate?

This is STRESS, the daily stress that you may experience in some form every day. It’s unavoidable.

The part of your brain that protects you is wired to send out the hormones to signal you to take flight, fight, or freeze. Your brain can’t determine the difference between waiting in the coffee line when you are late and confronting a burglar breaking into your house.

The fact is we need stress to trigger responses in our brain to help us react to physical and mental experiences in our day, but if stress is chronic and is too much all the time, your signals never get shut off. Your stress level can become so high that your overall health is affected.

Signs of chronic stress include:

    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Headaches
    • Insomnia
    • Pain
    • Lower Immunity
    • Heart disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
woman stressed sitting at desk

Do some of these look familiar? You may not know it, but stress, especially chronic stress, is a significant contributor to belly fat and low energy!

Here’s how it works:

When you are in flight or fight mode, your adrenal glands send out adrenaline and cortisol hormones. Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster and increases the blood flow to your brain & muscles. Meanwhile, cortisol is giving you a quick burst of energy to be able to run away. It does that by shutting off your digestive system.

Now here’s the bigger problem!

While your digestive system is shutting down, two more hormones are sent to the brain. Ghrelin makes us hungry, and leptin tells us we are full. Can you see where this is going?
After your stressful day, you eat a full dinner – but you are still eating because you feel hungry – and you’re not getting the signal that you are full. It’s the perfect storm of overeating!

If you are eating processed food, then the extra food you eat will end up being stored as belly fat. If you are not absorbing the nutrients from your food because your digestion is off, you will feel tired, as you do when you are hungry.

WOW! So how can you deal with the everyday STRESS?

Here are 9 ways to deal with stress:

1.  Breathe ~ Try taking 5 deep breaths, or practice 5, 5, 7 breathing. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, and exhale for a count of 7. This simple exercise of circular breathing calms your nervous system down quickly.

2.  Meditate ~ Practicing meditation or mindfulness will also shift your nervous system to calm mode in as little as 5-10 min.

3.  Drink Water ~ Dehydration happens when we don’t drink enough water every day. It is recommended to drink ½ your body weight in ounces each day.

4.  Exercise ~ If you are not someone who hits the gym or has a daily routine, even 5-15 minutes /day can make a difference. Try a quick walk at lunch or after dinner, or try a 7-minute HITT workout app on your phone to get you moving.

5.  Sleep ~ Make sure you get 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. If you are having trouble getting to sleep, try powering down your devices an hour before bed.

6.  Reduce Caffeine ~ Cut back on coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even chocolate after 12 pm.

7.  Journal ~ Writing down things you are grateful for each day is a game-changer. It’s hard to feel stressed when you are feeling grateful.

8.  Think happy ~ Recall a happy memory or time in your life. It should be one that makes you smile just thinking about it. Your brain cannot be stressed and happy at the same time.

9.  Music ~ This one is fun! Turn up the volume on your favorite song, or try a different type of music altogether.

If you are struggling with too much stress in your days and
would like some help finding peace and becoming friends with your food – let’s talk!
Together we will uncover your obstacles and discover new habits you can start today.

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