Win the Battle Against Stress
The Habits of Health encompass all aspects of optimal wellbeing, not just nutrition and motion. In fact, the very beginning of the journey starts with your mind. We teach you about how habits are formed and how your Stone Age programming influences the choices you make. From there, we talk about how important it is to have a support system—like a health coach—to assist you in your journey.
We know from medical research and from our thousands of experiences in the field with clients that if we don’t address the role that habits play, most people will eventually regain the weight they lost, slipping back into their old patterns. We also know that without behavior support, such as that provided by a health coach, most health plans fail.
Your Habits of a Healthy Mind are at the core of every choice you make. If you can strengthen your mental and emotional wellbeing, the rest of your healthy lifestyle will benefit as a result.
One of the major challenges we face in our modern lives is stress. When we leave stress unchecked, our decision-making suffers, and we miss out on a wide range of other rewards as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when we are able to manage stress in a healthy way, we can potentially:
- Make healthier eating choices
- Better manage our emotional responses
- Improve our social interactions
- Exercise more often
The opportunity to increase our longevity by managing our stress is also very real. A recent study conducted on a sample of 212 people suggests that the intense stress associated with financial hardship can raise heart attack risk “13-fold.”
You stand to gain a lot if you better manage your stress, but how do you do that? Here are some ideas:
- When you feel stressed, substitute your unhealthy coping mechanism with a healthy one. Instead of grabbing a bowl of candy when your boss yells at you, go for a walk or take two minutes to meditate on your breathing.
- Address the causes of your stress. A healthier response to stress is worthwhile, but what can you do resolve the source itself? This might mean something as small as having a frank conversation with someone or as big as changing your career path (if it means a healthier, more fulfilled you).
- Seek professional guidance and support. In some cases, stress can be debilitating. If you feel overwhelmed by your stress and like you do not have control, talking to a therapist or a counselor could help you address, resolve, and better cope with stress. Not everyone needs to take this path, but there is no shame in talking to a medical professional if you do.
- Exercise more and eat healthy foods. Yes, your stress response can negatively affect your other Habits of Health, but it’s a two-way street. If you regularly practice Habits of Healthy Motion and Habits of Healthy Eating, your body will be better equipped to handle and relieve stress.
If these suggestions sound general, that’s because they are. For you to manage your stress, you need to reflect on the factors and influences in your life and identify not only what causes you stress but also how you react to it. From there, begin to build new Habits of Health to address these opportunities.