Manage Stress to Fight Sugar Addiction

One of the most reliable paths to sugar addiction and obesity is high stress, because stress changes your appetite, stimulates overeating, and increases insulin resistance.

Surveys show that a majority of women often eat for emotional reasons rather than hunger. Stressful emotions dampen the reward response in the brain, which causes cravings that drive overeating (and, for some people, the abuse of other substances, too).

Stress affects the same signals as famine does: It turns on the brain’s pathways that make people crave calorie-dense food (high fat and high sugar). The hunger and reward drives are some of the strongest in the human body, and they’re very difficult to combat without the right tools.

Learning to turn the monkey mind into mindfulness is a lifelong practice, but here are a few simple stress management tips that can get you started:

  • Breathe. Stopping to take a few deep belly breaths gives you a moment to gather your thoughts and become rational.

  • Empower yourself. Remember that you’re the one driving the bus. If you don’t like where it’s going, drive somewhere else! Self-help author Wayne Dyer says, “Remember that you choose your attitude and your personality every second of every day.”

  • Find meaning in what you do. If your job is causing you stress, remember what you liked about your job when you started it. Consider what you may need to do differently to be satisfied in your position again. Think about the necessity of your work, the purpose of your job, your personal goals, and the benefits that your work provides to others.

  • Identify the true source of your stress. Stress comes from fear, so when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, take a moment to determine what you’re afraid of. After you give yourself a reality check, you can determine whether your fears are well-founded. If they are, you can start taking appropriate action instead of just worrying.

  • Schedule something that you like to do that’s just for yourself. Take a walk, get a massage, read for fun, or take a nap. Be sure to put the activity on your schedule or you’ll never get to it!

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