How to Relieve Stress Naturally
Why Stress Management Is Important
Your misplaced wallet. A dead car battery. Stress is a thug we encounter almost hourly. The question is, do you have what it takes to stand up to the bully? If you're like most people surveyed last year by the American Psychological Association, you may be losing the good fight: Sixty percent said stressful situations left them irritable, 53 percent felt fatigued, and 52 percent were unable to sleep at night.
Stress takes a toll on more than just your mood. All that tension puts a whammy on your waistline, thanks to the stress-related hormone cortisol, which rises during anxiety-inducing events and makes you crave fatty, sugar-packed foods. Those excess calories are more likely to be stored in the gut as visceral fat, the type that's been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal cancers. Visceral fat also increases the production of cortisol, perpetuating the cycle (as if you need any further assistance).
Moreover, "chronic stress releases cytokines and C-reactive protein in your body -- dangerous molecules that cause inflammation and put you at greater risk for developing arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and other chronic diseases," says Evangeline Lausier, MD, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.
You're probably thinking, So, what do I do now? First of all, don't wig out. Arm yourself with these natural approaches to de-stressing your mind, body, and spirit.
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