Stress can creep up on you at any moment. Whether you’re having a busy day at work or are stuck in rush-hour traffic, stress is sometimes unavoidable. Although a little stress is OK, too much of it can lead to health issues such as weight gain and obesity. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Obesity found a link between high-stress levels and a greater body weight.
The study looked at over 2,500 men and women over the age of 50. Stress was measured by a person’s cortisol levels, a stress hormone found in a 2-centimeter hair clipping (two month’s worth of hair growth), according to a New York Times article about the study.
Researchers found that the higher the cortisol levels, the greater the body weight. Researchers noted that they were unable to determine whether the high cortisol levels are a cause or a consequence of obesity. However, other studies have shown that high stress prompts people to turn to high-calorie “comfort foods.” Ever heard of the term “stress eating?” Well, there’s a lot of truth to that.
Women’s Care Florida wants you to know there are alternate, healthier ways to cope with stress, and that turning to food isn’t always the answer. Instead, follow some of these helpful, stress-relieving tips:
All you need is a few minutes a day to relax the mind and meditate. Find a quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. Try not to let any unwanted thoughts cloud your mind.
Listen to Music
Studies show that listening to music can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Either find music that will soothe your soul or crank up the beat and dance your worries away.
You don’t just have to hit the gym to relieve stress. Walking, riding a bike, taking a yoga class, etc. are all great ways to get your blood pumping and your body moving. Exercise helps to release chemicals that make your body and mind feel good. Even a quick walk around the block will get the blood pumping and help take your mind off of what’s wrong.
Being mindful is a difficult thing to do, but it can help. It means to essentially “slow down time” and to appreciate the little things in life. Notice the sun shining down on your skin, or feel the cold water as you splash into a pool. Not only will this help reduce stress, but may give you a greater appreciation for your life.
If you’re grappling with stress-related weight gain and want assistance, check out one of Women’s Care Florida’s weight loss programs or schedule an appointment with one of our highly-skilled experts today.
To learn more about the study, click here.