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Dealing with Stress - Chris Garrett Fitness | Dream-2-Reality | Team D2R

Dealing with Stress

Stress… we all deal with it from time to time.  Some have more stressful lives than others due to their profession or what is going on in their lives at the moment.  High stress can lead to high levels of cortisol which can affect our weight loss goals.  For those of you that don’t know what cortisol is, I pulled this information from

Cortisol is a critical hormone with many actions in the body. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is important for the maintenance of blood pressure as well as the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite.

Cortisol has been termed the “stress hormone” because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, and the normal pattern of cortisol secretion (with levels highest in the early morning and lowest at night) can be altered. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. This fat deposition has been referred to as “toxic fat” since abdominal fat deposition is strongly correlated with the development of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.

Exercise is the best method for lowering cortisol levels that have risen in response to stress and has the added benefit of burning calories to stimulate weight loss.

Here are some tips to help reduce stress in your life!

  1. Think Positive: Take a moment to think about all you have been given and how blessed you are!
  2. Be aware of your choices; you always have a choice. This is true for emotions and work. Sometimes you need to let your emotions out but still stay in control.
  3. Start every day with devotions and/or personal development reading.
  4. Set goals for what needs to be achieved in the day then write a “to do list”. When writing your “to do list”:
    • Know your limits – Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day.
    • Prioritize your tasks and work to finish them starting with the highest priority (urgent/important).  God, family, and exercise are the top 3 in my prioritization.
    • Do your most unpleasant or most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination feeds stress!  This is why I like to do my workout in the morning!
    • Focus on one task at a time.
    • Emphasize quality in your work, rather than sheer quantity.
    • Schedule your day and your stress as this can reduce the number of stressors you must juggle at any one time. Stagger deadlines for large projects.
    • Add some “breathing” space that will allow you time for “recharging” and creative thinking. You will also be better prepared when an unanticipated task arrives.
    • Remember to delegate.
    • Review your goals at the end of the day, this will help you sleep better.
    • Know your limits and do not push yourself too hard or beat yourself up when you do not achieve your goals. Tomorrow is another day, start writing tomorrows to-do-list before you lie down so that it is off your chest.
  5. Be organized . Much stress arises from feeling overwhelmed. Being organized and getting your priorities straight can help you break responsibilities down into manageable pieces and focus on the things that really matter.
  6. Stop worrying about what you cannot change. Learning to accept things as they are is an important coping mechanism, but not as easy as it sounds.
  7. Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be. It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to other’s decisions. Decide what you want and go for it!
  8. Treat your body right – You will have more self-confidence and energy, and be less likely to experience the physical side effects of stress:
    • Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks only. Your choice of food is very important when dealing with stress; stay away from sugary snacks!
    • Drink water it is the best beverage and stay off alcohol which always adds to stress one way or another. Caffeine is also known to raise stress levels, so again it is best to drink water.
    • Get fit. Exercise every day. This releases endorphins that can lower stress levels.
    • Some vitamins help you with stress so be sure you are getting a nice array of vitamins in your diet.
    • Get enough sleep, and, if possible, get into regular sleeping habits.
  9. Listen to music . Stress can inspire intense emotional reaction. Utilize it. Vent the spleen to a favourite piece of music and experience a happy release. Also, positive and relaxing music can be helpful.
  10. Use positive self-talk – One of the first things you can do in facing stressful situations is to reinforce your resolve through positive statements such as, “I can handle this, one step at a time,” or “Since I’ve been successful with this before, there’s no reason why I can’t do it again”.
  11. Rehearse (visualize) – When you know that you are going to face a stressful situation, rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourself overcoming it successfully. Create a mental “videotape” that you can play over and over in your mind.
  12. Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus.
  13. Develop a sense of humor – One of the barriers to stress reduction is the temptation to take things too seriously. It’s okay to back off from your intensity and see the humour in life’s situations. Laugh a little or better yet, laugh a lot! See the humor in stress.
  14. Talk to friends. This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress.
  15. Learn to say no; you cannot do everything you are asked.
  16. Accept and appreciate the turmoil around you, without it there couldn’t be anything you could call a good thing. Understand, that to feel frustration and anxiety only indicates your own humanity, and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of.
  17. Communicate your emotions this can improve the situation by informing others you need help; thus establishing a need for change in communication and situation.
  18. Learn to meditate and let the stress go.
  19. Take a bath this will give you private time and relax the body.
  20. Chewing. A lot of people want to eat, eat, and eat when they are stressed.  For some people chewing gum is a great way to overcome that.  I don’t like to chew gum because of the artificial sweeteners that are in it, so another option is to eat calorie free foods like celery or butterless and unsalted popcorn.
  21. Breathe.  Just take some time to take some deep breathes and clear your mind.
  22. If you need to drop everything and chill for a few minutes… take half an hour and go for a short walk on your own… just think positive and when you get back you will have left the stress outside and you should be able to get down to what ever you was stressing you in the first place!
  23. Lie down on a bed with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Try to let your mind go blank, or just think about the positive things… what you have accomplished and how you have been blessed.