Raise your hand if you've felt stressed this week. Yep, looks like all of us. It's not always a bad thing—it can be. But if it's a constant presence in our lives, stress can zap mind, body, and spirit.It affects you physically, making a good night's sleep all too elusive and messing up the smooth functioning of the immune system. Emotionally, stress can leave you short-tempered, anxious, overwhelmed—or all three. It can block you mentally, too. You might find it hard to make decisions, or to sort through options when you're under pressure.
The stress–weight connection
And then there's how stress affects your journey. When you're under pressure, you're more likely to overeat. And it's probably not carrots and quinoa you're overdoing. We gravitate toward less-nutritious choices that are high in saturated fat and/or added sugar—and we're more likely to gain weight.
Turn to these moves whenever you want to dial down the pressure.
- Read or listen to some jokes. Laughter might not always be the best medicine—but it can be a darn fine way to bust stress among other benefits.
- Breathe into tranquility. It can lower your stress. Find a quiet place—perhaps in your car or in the bathroom—where no one can bother you. Some members find it helpful to hold a memento of a relaxing time, such as a seashell, a pebble, or a leaf. Simply close your eyes, relax your jaw, breathe, and recall the feelings of being in that serene time and place.
- Take a walk. Leave your to-do list and cell phone behind and stroll for 15 minutes or so. Focus on the here and now: the late-winter scenery, the sunshine, the breezes, nature sounds....
- Try a few relaxing yoga poses If you're not into yoga, take a bath, dance to a favourite song or try a few ease-out-the-kinks stretches.