Due to the pressures of life—personal and professional—we all stress out (and stress eat) at some point in our lives, whether it’s an intentional response or not. In America, roughly 25% of adults report having a stress level of 8 out of 10. As a result, many of these adults resort to stress eating, amongst other things, to find comfort.
Initially, when we experience stress, our appetites are reduced due to an increased level of epinephrine (adrenaline). During this time our bodies are responding to a fight-or-flight scenario, and providing our mind and our muscles with extra energy to overcome the perceived obstacle. However, if the stress persists long enough, our bodies eventually release another hormone called cortisol. It is at this point that our appetites actually increase. After expelling an excess of energy, our bodies will eventually scream: “fill me up!” just like an empty gas tank meter would. At this point, our bodies cravings for “high-fat, sugary, comfort foods” skyrockets. According to one article published by Harvard (https://www.health.harvard.
Of course, overeating is not the only side effect of stress. Those who are stressed also find it difficult to sleep, exercise, and often crave the sedating effects of alcohol to soothe themselves. Unsurprisingly, as a result of these additional activities, weight gain actually becomes even more likely.
Fortunately, there are alternative activities you can participate in to try and relieve your stress when it becomes unmanageable. Three of the more commonly used are:
- Meditation: There have been countless studies that have proven the efficacy of meditation to improve both mind and body wellness. When we are stressed, our minds hone in on the specific, ultimately to detect areas of harm ahead of time. This can lead to painful and destructive rumination later on, so it should be no surprise to understand why doing the opposite—thinking of nothing—can be so therapeutic.
- Exercise: While we can’t prevent the release of cortisol, we can blunt some of its negative effects through exercise—especially after a stressful event. While many may find it hard to do so during these times, those who do follow through will find themselves feeling healthier and happier afterwards.
- Socializing: Oftentimes, after a stressful event, we tend to focus on it to try and prevent it from happening again. As a result, this can lead to painful and destructive behavior patterns that are very difficult to get away from. Therefore, seeking out recreational fun with friends and family is very important. Even if it seems like a drag, the benefits of getting out, seeing others, and having light discussions can work wonders for a troubled mind.
Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from high stress, anxiety and depression. In addition to ketamine infusions, we also offer reiki, acupuncture, massage and IV hydration therapy, and can even help you establish a vitamin regimen to best support your mind-body needs. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.