There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One link is the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain, and making dieting more difficult. Not only can it make you crave more fatty, savory or sugary foods, it can also cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you are stressed, but not really hungry?
Relaxation is part of a balanced life style. It is therefore important to identify the cause of your stress and to choose efficient stress management strategies. It is recommended to practice a relaxation techniques such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or meditation. Below you find some information about the relaxation techniques.
Autogenic training is a pleasant relaxation technique which can be learned easily. You apply it for a few minutes a day at your leisure, irrespective how busy your schedule is. Mental exercises are performed to reach a level of consciousness where you are alert, but inactive. Using a series of six standard formulae progressively involving the limbs, heart, circulatory system, the breathing, and nervous systems, you will learn to respond physically to the repeated formulae. Your mind will calm and your autonomic nervous system will become relaxed, promoting a deep level of rest. Being in this state of passive concentration, you can use positive affirmations about areas of your life you like to affect.
Among all relaxation techniques, progressive muscle relaxation is one of the easiest to learn. It is particularly enjoyed because of its immediate palpable effects. Progressive muscle relaxation training involves tensing and relaxing sixteen different muscle groups of the body. The idea is to tense each muscle group for about 7 – 10 seconds, and then abruptly let go of it. This is followed by a period of relaxation in which you concentrate on how the muscle group feels when in a relaxed state. Once you have acquired the skills of progressive muscle relaxation, it is an effective tool for on the spot physical and emotional relaxation at your busy home or the workplace.
The concept of guided imagery is that the power of imagination far exceeds that of one’s will. Imagery is the interface between body and mind. Thus, using mental images involving all senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, feel), the body responds as though the images were real. You can achieve a deeply relaxed state by imagining all details of a comfortable place, such as a beach. You can learn to create your special inner place as a retreat to find rest and tranquility – a place you can always return to at your own choosing, a place that is always with you, that empowers and relaxes you.
With meditation, you learn to shut out the world and to still body and mind. You focus on the present moment and stop worrying about anything else. Meditation teaches you how to be in control of mind and emotions. As you progress in your meditation skills, you will find that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, accessing an inner calm, no matter what is going on around you. You will experience an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment.
It is the way we deal with stress that is important as this will make all the difference in the quality of our lives.