Stress and Weight Loss
Is It What You Think?
By Stephanie Lee
Often, when we consider Stress Management, our first thought is to completely eliminate stress in our lives. However, the truth of the matter is we need a certain degree of stress to achieve many goals. Yes, I know it’s hard to imagine that stress can be a good thing. Don’t you just wish it didn’t exist at all? Well, following are a few examples of where stress can be a benefit to us.
Working out or exercising stresses our body which helps us grow physically by getting stronger and more flexible muscles.
Gravity stresses our bones which helps us dodge osteoporosis, among other diseases, and learning something new can stress our mind, which most often helps us have a better life.
Knowing there is going to be a certain amount of stress in our lives, the key is to learn to manage it. To do that, we must first understand what this thing called stress is.
There are three Main Categories of Stress: Negative, Positive, and Perceived Stress. When we think of stress, the Negative variety is what usually comes to mind. Most of us believe Negative Stress is to be avoided at all costs and we might feel overwhelmed when it does show up in our lives, but we all experience it at some point.
Types of Negative Stress we might experience include serious physical injury, mental or physical abuse, loss of a loved one, or many other unforeseen problems that can change the course of our lives. Of course, we can conquer these situations, but we may need help or guidance.
We hear and read stories of inspirational and successful people who have had significant Negative Stressors and overcame them. Oprah Winfrey being born into poverty in rural Mississippi, Demi Moore being raised by her alcoholic mother and stepfather, and Walt Disney being told no one would like Mickey Mouse are just a few examples.
All of these people survived their hardships and went on to become outstanding individuals demonstrating that Negative Stressors don’t always have to have long-lasting defeatist results. We can choose how we respond to life situations.
For those of us who choose to respond to Negative Stress by using food to calm or soothe our anxious thoughts or feelings, my point here is that we can make other choices instead. It takes some effort to change, but we have options for how we perceive Negative Stress.
There are numerous Positive Stressors that contribute to our well-being. Physically, we can experience stronger hearts, muscles, and bones after we exercise safely and effectively. Traveling to new places and learning new things both contribute to our growth as individuals by expanding our worldview and the world in which we live.
Positive stress comes with some discomfort, just like Negative Stress. The difference between the two is the result. The discomfort of Positive Stress brings about some benefit or growth for the person(s) involved. Although, Negative Stress can ultimately have the same effect depending on how we view the situation.
Of the three Categories of Stress, Perceived Stress is the most important. What we believe is what we perceive.
We can turn almost every event, every day, or every moment into a Positive or Negative. Absolutely, there are truly negative things that happen to us that can’t be perceived in any other way, but even then, we have control over how we respond to those events or situations. Our response is largely due to our perception of the events or situations.
Take a moment to consider the things you may consider stressors in your life.
Those living in Southern California know all about traffic delays. But when you see the brake lights, slowing traffic, and miles of cars ahead, do you feel anxious, frustrated, or upset? What if, instead, you were able to see being stuck in traffic as an opportunity to enjoy your favorite song, listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast, or just relish the solitude?
Remember when you last argued with someone close to you? You might have felt annoyed with that person or maybe felt misunderstood, which might have frustrated you. But what if you could see this as an opportunity to learn something new about this person, practice patience and love for this person, or even learn something new about yourself?
We have a choice. We can see stress, in its many forms, as a gift and not meant to harm us. Whether Positive or Negative, it can bring about growth, and we can avoid using food to mask our feelings related to our stressors.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Stephanie Lee, Weight Loss Behavior Coach, please visit her site or contact her via email or phone.