Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
To cope with stress (the body can’t tell the difference between sabre tooth tigers and atrocious bosses), the body’s fight or flight response causes a dump of adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine into the body. These are great hormones that make you stronger, more powerful, and quicker on your feet.
Perfect for fighting sabre tooth tigers.
Not so perfect for sitting on your butt, bitching about your boss, and eating a bag of potato chips.
So what happens when you don’t put those stress hormones to good use during stress?
Heart disease. Obesity. Migraines. Diabetes. Potentially even cancer.
You can’t eliminate stress from your life, unless you decide to go live in a day spa and get mani-pedis and massages every day. But you can learn to cope with stress in different ways.
5 Ways to Cope with Stress without Turning to Food
At the first sign of stress, take a deep, calming breath. You really can control the stress response to some degree with a mind-over-bad-boss approach.
- Instead of eating, put all of those energy hormones to good use by running up and down the stairs a few times.
- Eliminate the stresses that you can – don’t overbook yourself or overcommit. Set a good example of life balance for your kids, too. Limit their social and extracurricular activities and make sure everyone has time for down time.
- Exercise regularly – people who exercise are better able to cope with stress.
- Talk to someone.
- Clean the house.
- Seek alternatives like aromatherapy.
Stress Relieving Foods
If you are going to eat, make sure you choose healthy comfort foods that help relieve stress:
- A handful of walnuts or almonds
- Broccoli or dark green leafy veggies
- Dark chocolate (a SMALL amount)
- Drink milk, hot cocoa or tea
- Drink ice cold water
You can train yourself to react to stress in more positive ways than reaching for the bag of potato chips. By reducing stress, learning to cope with stress that you can’t eliminate, and choosing foods that make you healthier, you can turn stress into a positive tool for achieving your goals.