Stopping the stress in our lives can be a difficult venture. Most often it is due to circumstances completely out of our control–and yet we still stress over it! Stress comes in a variety of packages. Sometimes it’s expected, others…not so much. You just never know!
Nonetheless, behaviorists study stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression for signs of how these factors affect our lives and possibly how to stop them from bothering us. For the scope of this article, it is good to point out that eating behavior is greatly affected by “what we are feeling.” Stressors and their subsequent reactions will not necessarily be the same from person to person, but we do know that they can greatly affect what most of us eat, when we eat, and how we digest the foods that we normally have every day.
These same behaviorists will suggest dealing with these feelings/stress through behavioral changes:
- Get Moving. Force yourself out of the chair, or even out of bed. Keep doing complete body motions until you start to feel better, and less inhibited by the stressor. (Check out our post on “Stress & Exercise.”)
- Do Something You Like To Do. Set aside some time for painting, reading, arranging flowers, working in your workshop, or even folding laundry. If it is an activity you truly enjoy, you will be feeling better quickly.
- Start a Journal. Record how you are feeling, your thoughts, your ideas for the future, anything you want to put into writing. This will be a great help. Try to do this for at least three weeks.
- Modify Your Diet. It should be very simple and meals should be approximately every two to three hours. Stay away from sugary foods and drinks, as well as high-caffeine foods and drinks. (Check out our post “10 Facts About Stress & Diet.”)
- Drink Less. If not completely eliminate alcoholic beverages for this time period. It really doesn’t help.
Some good foods & supplements to try adding to your diet during this time: Fresh fish for a meal 2-3 times per week, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products. Take B complex vitamins: B6, B12, and Folic Acid. (Check out our post on “Alternatives to Stress Eating.”)
While the complete psychology of eating is beyond what we would ever try to cover in this blog, it is alright to identify the basic elements of what tends to conflict with our good eating habits and schedules. So, the next time you are experiencing stress, try the some or all of the tips above and let us know if they help!
Do you have any other healthy techniques that help you manage stress? Share them with us!
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By Rita Larsen, RD, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor