By Tiffiny Hall
It’s been a long hard day and it isn’t even over yet. You get home and reach for whatever is convenient, working on that deadline, getting the washing done and making sure the kids are getting a healthy meal.
Sometimes it just feels easier to eat some cookies before you tackle the next thing on your list. Ninja, you are not alone. I need to tell you stress is going to happen, but it’s manageable with the right techniques.
During moments of stress, a hormone is released that gets you ready to ‘fight or flight.’
At the same time as this adrenaline surge, your body also receives an injection of cortisol, demanding your body replaces that adrenaline, making you hungry.
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Few of us reach for a smart snack in that situation, craving sweet, salty, high fat foods as they stimulate the brain and trick us into releasing pleasure chemicals that reduce tension.
Being soothed by food can be addictive, so you start relating feeling anxious with consuming these foods, thinking it will solve it. (Spoiler alert: it won’t).
Chronic stress can cause aches, digestive issues, weight gain, fatigue and insomnia. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between a stressful traffic jam, a bicker with your partner or a fast approaching tornado.
Our stress responses can be triggered no matter if the danger is at a level 1 or 100.
But you can try these techniques to help you stress less:
Get some ZZZs
Turns out getting enough sleep is one of the most effective strategies to reduce stress.
Sleep deprivation is a major stress to the body, and not getting enough can increase cortisol, appetite and weight gain (through the raised levels of ghrelin, a hunger boosting hormone).
The good news is solid sleep can bring it all back into balance, and a regular pattern will keep it there. You’ll find as you sleep better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be better equipped to handle those stressful moments.
Slow and Steady wins the race
Turns out multi-tasking is actually contributing to our stress.
When we switch between tasks, it takes longer to re-focus our attention to what we’re doing. Turn off your notifications, put your phone away and just focus on one thing.
When you split your attention you have to work even harder just to keep your mind on the task at hand. By having a single focus, you will find you are able to concentrate better.
Make a ‘Not to Do List’ and be realistic and look at your commitments and move anything that is creating unwarranted stress onto your new NOT list.
Swap negative thoughts for a more positive and optimistic mindset, and you will encourage positive things to happen.
I like to move it move it
Another way to end stress eating? Find physical ways to relieve your stress.
Doing a TIFFXO workout and moving your body is an effective and instant stress reliever, fooling your body into thinking you’re escaping your source of stress.
If smashing out an extra Tiff Test challenge in the middle of the office isn’t possible, even simply taking a stroll on your lunch break will be beneficial.
Try sneaking in some squats at the photocopier, I won’t tell.
You’re still allowed to live
Remember my 80% Nice, 20% Naughty rule too, Ninja.
If you’re keener than mustard for one of Aunt Marjorie’s scones, it’s better to allow yourself the moment and reset and restart your day straight after that, rather than totally denying yourself which can often lead to binge eating later.
Prep a heap of TIFFXO snacks and freeze them in portion sizes so you know there is a healthier option when you’re wanting to indulge.
It’s important to take some time out of your day to take full, deep breaths, release and feel your body relax.
Introducing daily meditation into your routine allows you to tune into your body and research supports physical and emotional benefits like a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing) activates the parasympathetic nervous system and induces the relaxation response in your body which is a counter to the stress response.
Everyone’s release of stress is different! It’s a case of finding what best works for you and know that it’s mind over matter (mindfulness can be your best weapon!).
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