Studies show that stress and weight go hand in hand. This is because the increase of our stress hormones (cortisol) leads to a cascade of responses and promotes the storage of fat in our abdominal area, known as visceral fat. When cortisol levels are elevated for an extended period of time, it sends a signal to our body that we need the energy to deal with the “problem,” therefore our body starts to preserve energy and not burn it off as easily.
Stress may also cause our body to crave more fats and sugar so no wonder most people’s comfort food tends to be a combination of fat and sugar, such as mac and cheese, cookies, and ice cream. While we cannot avoid stress, we can certainly find ways to manage our stress. One of the solutions is to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives to help us reduce those overwhelming feelings and re-charge our minds and body.
Not sure how to easily fit mindfulness into your life and get started with reaping the benefits? Let’s talk about 4 easy ways to use mindfulness for stress-busting:
Focus on your breathing
Concentrating on your breath is a great way to be in the present and push negative thoughts aside. When you’re stressed, it can be really easy to get stuck on thoughts about the past or future but focusing on the present helps you to break away from this. It shifts your body from a fight-or-flight response to a relaxation response.
Try mindful walking
Getting out in nature is another great move for emotional well-being – even more so when you combine it with mindfulness. Mindful walking involves really immersing yourself in the sights and sounds that nature has to offer as you walk.
Adult coloring books have become super popular and they are effectively another form of mindfulness. If you’re being really careful and precise, there’s no room for negative thoughts!
Journaling can be a great way to make sense of your thoughts and get yourself in a calmer place. Gratitude journals can be effective for boosting your mood and encouraging more positive thoughts or you may prefer to write about your stressors to work through them in your mind. Whatever you choose journaling regularly has been shown to have the biggest benefits.
Mindfulness is a daily practice. I encourage you to choose one of the above tips and your body and mind will thank you for it. Remember you are worth it!