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How Managing Stress Can Benefit Your Health

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Stress has become a pervasive issue in our fast-paced society with about 55% of Americans reporting feeling stressed during the day. Surprisingly, this is about 20% higher than the global average. [1] Living in a country known for its hustle and bustle, it’s understandable why stress has become so prevalent in our daily lives.

Not only does stress impact our mental wellbeing, but it also affects our physical health. Stress can play a role in disrupting your body’s hormonal levels and influencing various aspects of your health, including weight maintenance. When our bodies are in a state of stress, the levels of the hormone cortisol elevate. One way that increased cortisol can affect weight is by triggering food cravings and hunger urges which may lead people to overeat, especially salty, sweet, and high-fat foods. Cortisol can also encourage fat accumulation, specifically visceral fat in the abdominal region which may increase one’s risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.


As a result of stress, sleep patterns may also be disrupted which can further detriment health and contribute to weight gain.

Taking proactive steps to manage stress is vital for your physical and mental wellbeing. Some effective techniques to use the next time you feel stressed are:


1. Intentional breathing: Learn how to incorporate breathing into your daily routine. If you don’t know how to do this, give box breathing a try. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold once again for 4 seconds. Repeat this technique until your body feels relaxed.


2. Regular exercise: Engaging in exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress as endorphins are released resulting in a boosted mood and providing you with a sense of well-being. Whether you prefer running on a treadmill, taking a hike in the mountains, or simply dancing in your kitchen, physical activity can play a vital role in reducing your stress.



3. Yoga and meditation: Experience a sense of inner calm through yoga and meditation. These practices are meant to help you slow down, take deep breaths, and cultivate mindfulness.


4. Connecting with the community: Maintaining social connections may help you to build emotional support and ease your stress. Spend time with close friends and family, find a way to serve the local community, or create a group with like-minded people to share your favorite pastime hobbies with.



5. Making time to do what you love: Dedicate time each day to activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies. This will allow you to recharge and find balance amidst life’s demands.


6. Prioritizing sleep: Ensure you create a conducive sleep environment and follow a regular sleep schedule. Try setting aside 7-8 hours of sleep each night, make sure your sleep environment is dark and peaceful, limit screen time prior to going to bed, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and heavy meals before bedtime. A restful night of sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized, ready to take on the challenges of the next day.


The Writer Avery Otsuji is Nutritionist with Inspire Medical Group, a partner of Premiere Weight Loss + Wellness. She has a passion for helping individuals reach their health goals and believes in a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Avery specializes in a wide range of topics, including weight management, heart health, diabetes, digestive health, and meal planning. With her personalized, evidence-based approach, Avery is dedicated to helping clients find sustainable nutrition and lifestyle solutions that work best for them.

References:

1. “Daily Life.” The American Institute of Stress, 30 Mar. 2022, www.stress.org/daily-life#:~:text=Key%20Stress%20Statistics&text=The%20current%20stress%20level%20experienced,are%20stressed%20during%20the%20day.



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