Did you know that losing weight is consistently ranked as one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions? Along with other weight-related goals of drinking less alcohol, eating better foods and exercising more, the financial and emotional toll left in the wake of the holidays ironically makes January one of the most challenging months to achieve goals like weight loss. Stress is a powerful thing, and making resolutions for the next chapter in your life can be easily blocked or derailed by the stress you feel in the first month of the new year. Coping with that stress is essential to achieving your goals. In the meantime, keep track of your upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. You can never get started too early, perhaps it will ease your stress a bit!
Know Your Stressors
Stress lowers your ability to make wise decisions that consider short-term gratification against longer-term consequences. Learning how to manage your stress to make good decisions in stressful situations is essential. Nearly half of Americans claim to be stress eaters. Eating an excess of calories, fat, sugar, or salt is a means of comfort for many stressed-out people seeking a relief from stress. To avoid this, you need to train yourself to relax your mind. A relaxed mind makes better decisions. Get to the point of relaxation with one, some, or all of these methods:
- Deep Breathing – Stimulate your brain stem, trigger mood-modulating brain chemicals– a few seconds is enough to alter your brain’s chemical balance enough to create a sense of peace! Simple awareness of your breathing pattern is a great start.
- Massages (Even Self-Massage)
- Meditation – Decrease anxiety, short-circuit your stress response, change blood flow to your brain, and improve your mental functions by means of a positive mantra (three-to five-word phrase) you repeat to yourself. The repetition of a positive affirmation clears your mind of negativity and mental clutter. Practicing 20 minutes a day engaged in guided imagery (going to your “happy place” mentally) and/or walking meditations to help modulate your mood.
These strategies are proven as medicine by researchers, thanks to MRIs, EKGs, and brain mapping. The important thing is to slow your heart rate, change your brain waves, and get a handle on your fluctuating hormone levels. You can de-stress in just thirty seconds by slowing your breathing and realizing that every thought, word, and action causes a related chemical reaction in your brain. Eventually, you can train your mind to relax in as little as six seconds. Once you discover a de-stressing strategy that you like, practice it regularly, and eventually, you can use these methods like a dimming switch–using it to dial down your anxiety levels as you feel yourself getting tense.
Speedy Stress Stoppers: For When There’s No Time to De-Stress
- Gratefulness – Make a list of your blessings. It’s physiologically impossible to be grateful and stressed at the same time, and it boosts your alertness and enthusiasm.
- Friends – Eye contact and conversation with someone you care for is the brain equivalent of getting a massage; your body produces oxytocin literally on the spot.
- Laughing – even forced laughter lowers cortisol and blood pressure instantly!
- Spicy Food – Eating spicy food releases endorphins!
Visit Your Dallas Bariatric Surgeon for a Weight Loss Plan.
Dallas Bariatric Surgeon Sheetal Patel, MD is Director and Founder of 360 Bariatrics. Dr. Patel is Fellowship trained and Board Certified by the American Board of Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Patel uses the Da Vinci Robotic System to perform robotic weight loss procedures, foregut surgery (hiatal/para-esophageal hernias) and uses single site robotic technology for the removal of the gallbladder. 360 Bariatrics enables patients to lead healthy, happy and productive lives without experiencing unhealthy weight gain in the future. Named Top10MD in 2016 an honor only 1-in-3 doctors succeed within the United States. Call Dr. Patel’s office today and schedule an appointment at (972) 596-5225.