Let’s just be honest – to some extent, we have ALL been told stress is bad.
Consider the following:
We know we hate feeling stressed.
We know we feel stress is an unavoidable part of life.
And we all probably have at least a few “go-to” ways for reducing said stress, yes?
A glass of wine?
A few good laughs?
A little um…Nookie?
Listening to music?
A second glass of wine?
A tickle fest?
A wrestling match?
A lot of um… Nookie?
[Rinse, and Repeat?]
Your list may look different, I’m not sure how I auto-imported by journal for that…awkward….
Alright, where was I?
Yes okay, stress.
Feeling stressed? It’s no fun*
Unless you are a fat cell. Then you are in heaven.
Allow me to explain.
When you are in a state of mental or physical stress your body is producing more of the hormone Cortisol. This hormone is directly related to fat storage. And by directly related, I mean it initiates and sustains the storage of fat. Simply put, the longer you stay in a state of stress, the longer your levels of cortisol stay elevated, the more fat you will store [cue ‘happy fat cell dance’…not] and the harder it is going to be for you to reach your fitness goals. No Bueno.
Did you know that there are pressure points all over your body that, when pressed, can actually reduce stress/tension?
The science behind this is called Reflexology and primarily involves the feet, neck, and hands. For instance, if you have a headache, there are pressure points on the tips of fingers and on the nape of the neck [where the skull meets the neck] that can be pressed and held to relieve tension. Backache? Simply find, press and hold the connective tissue between the thumb and forefinger for 30 seconds and feel relief.
Same concept applies to the labels you see in the picture below. Find a spot that correlates to your complaint, press firmly and hold for 30 seconds. You can do this as often as you have time to. The video is quite informative as well – and please note, you don’t have to pay for a professional [like in the video] to “push your buttons”. You can push your own. Or solicit a partner or friend!
Now, relax, reflex, and BREATH – you don’t want to store anymore unneeded fat.
*Some research supports some short-lived, non-chronic stress has evolutionary advantages and should be recognized as such. For instance, stress about meeting a project deadline can push you past complacency and encourage you to rise to a fuller potential than if there was no deadline and your project was just due “someday”. Similarly, if you have stress about a certain place where you experienced something negative, this stress can actually act as somewhat of a safeguard in future situations, as you will already know red flags, etc and be better equipped to handle a repeat negative situation. But, again, the stress referred to in this research is strictly talking about moderate situational stress; stress that DOES NOT impair activities of daily living and does not last indefinitely.