Our bodies are very clever pieces of finely tuned equipment, which if not maintained correctly start to misfire and run a bit slower than usual. The hormone called Cortisol helps to replenish your body after a stressful situation. Nowadays we have an unfortunate tendency to ‘stew’ over situations without ever expending the calories we would have used in the past. So for a caveman the stress would have been a sabre-toothed tiger and we would have run like Forrest Gump, a modern-day stress is more likely to be a comment, an email and rather than running we sit stewing over the it more and more.
The body doesn’t understand that you aren’t going to run, so it sends a hormonal signal to your brain to replenish nutrition stores by making you want to eat. The body stores these supplies in a place where it knows it can store in larger quantity. It stores it as ‘Visceral fat’ which tends to be around your waist.
Now here’s the annoying thing. If a further stressful situation occurs, the muscles send out a signal for fuel, asking for sugar. Hence the reason you start to crave carbohydrates when stressed. To transport sugar from our blood to our muscles requires the hormone, insulin. High levels of sugar and insulin in the blood can send a message to the brain to store fat. The body wants to be prepared for running away from the next ‘sabre-toothed tiger’ that comes along, which also goes by the name of the ‘boss’, ‘the gossips’, ‘the rude message’, the list could go on.
So how can we deal with these stresses?
Exercise can burn off excess calories. It can also produce various biochemicals that can counter the negative effects that stress hormones have, helping in turn to control levels of insulin and sugar.
Relaxation can produce chemicals within the brain that can counter the effect of stress. If you feel you can’t relax easily, try hypnotherapy, mindfulness, yoga, or meditation.
A balanced diet includes never skipping meals. This helps balance blood sugar levels, inhibiting insulin production and reducing cortisol levels. I have daily conversations with people who do not eat enough food. Here’s a tip. That’s a stress to the body. It thinks the world food supply is ending and thinks it should tell your body to store more.
Finally sleep. Poor sleep leads cortisol levels to rise. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep.
So to sum it up:
· Find a way that suits you to release the stress.
· Eat a balanced healthy diet to stop the hormones taking control in a negative way.
· Allow your body to recover and regenerate through sleep.
If you need some more help, look at my page on Hypnotherapy for Self-Belief.
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Becky lives in West Sussex, UK and is a Therapist using hypnosis, Psy-TaP, Kinetic Shift and Mindscaping. Please feel free to explore the website to learn more about her.