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Posted Aug 11 2008 9:04pm

I found this interesting post about stress. I enjoyed it and will be incorporating some into my daily life.

Laura Lewis says-

Here's the deal: Being stressed out all the time may make you gain weight simply for the reason that your cortisol levels are higher than normal. "Messaging" to your brain says, wait a minute, survival is in order, let's store more calories as fat. Hmmm, also blood sugar levels get a bit whacky too. The roller coaster ride your blood sugar is on can cause higher levels of insulin to float around in your body too, in an attempt to level it out. Your brain tells your body via your liver to store more calories as fat, "just because". See, keeping your stress level down will level out your biochemistry, making things work a bit more "normally, so you'll burn more fat calories as fuel. At least in theory.

Here are a few tips on how you can take a "chill pill" which may, in turn, tell your body to ramp it up in the fat burning arena:Ten tips to reduce your stress:

1. Get enough sleep. Are you sleeping at least seven hours every night? Statistically, people who sleep seven or more hours every night are thinner than those who don't get that much shut eye. Do you ever stay up past midnight and then get a "rush" that most night owls get? Your body thinks it is stressed, kicks out cortisol, gives you that "second wind" and what usually happens? Messaging in your body more calories as fat. And you eat more too due to increased appetite. So sleep!

2. Give yourself laugh breaks. Turn on a funny movie or audio. Call a good friend who you know will make you laugh no matter what. I have one of those types of friends and I am telling you it is "good medicine". I always feel so much better after a good belly laugh. You will too.

3. Take stretch breaks throughout the day and consciously breathe. Take a stretch break 3 to 5 times per day, even if it is just five minutes. Stretching helps you to relax and may relieve knotted muscles, which may become worse over time if not attended to causing you more stress!

4. Spend time with a pet you love. Curl up with your cat. Snuggle your dog. And just be present with your pet. Here's a great article describing a study done almost ten years ago that showed how those with pets were able to keep their blood pressure down in the normal range when presented with stressful events. Fido or Fluffy can help you to be healthier by keeping your stress hormones in check. All with unconditional love.

5. Live one day at a time, to be in the moment. Stop obsessing about the future. Life is right now. So try to really get into the "here and now" and enjoy yourself. Look around. Look up at the sky while outside. Breathe in and out consciously. Doing so will calm you down.

6. Don't be unrealistic with your daily schedule. If you find you have double booked your 1 pm time slot, you may want to cancel one of the appointments and move it to another day. After all, you are not super human are you? You'll breathe a big sigh of relief.

7. Be "Nice" to yourself. Treat yourself as if you would a good friend. Serve yourself a cool drink of water and a snack after a long day at work and then just sit and read a book or watch your favorite program. And wind down from the stressers of the day

8. Workout regularly. When you exercise it allows your body to be able to handle stress much more readily. Be sure you participate in cardio for at least 20 minutes five days per week. Workout with weights too. Get involved in regular sports. And change up your routine on occasion. For example, do yoga or go on a day hike. Mix it up.

9. Meditate. Don't be intimidated by this. Just take fifteen minutes per day, play relaxing music, close your eyes and empty your mind. If you have a hard time getting started buy a CD or take a class. Meditating has been found to lower blood pressure, which in turn will lower your stress hormones.

10. Drive slower. Is it really relaxing to speed everywhere? Going ninety to nothing? You'll be less stressed, if you left on time for your destination, and you'll save money by saving gas! Oh and did you know, when you drive faster than sixty mph, you're actually burning a lot more fuel than if you drove between 50 and 60 mph? Very interesting. Since you are stressed about money as well as stressed in general I believe driving more slowly will make you a happier, more relaxed and more than likely, a leaner guy!

Healthfully Yours,

Laura Lewis, Life Fit Expert

I really liked the driving one actually. I never take my time to get to work. I totally stress myself out weaving in and out of traffic. I will definitely be working on that. Stretching during the day is also something I'm going to start incorporating. The others are pretty straight forward. It's always nice to have a reminder to pet the cats more. I love them!
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