Coping with stress takes many different forms. For many people, eating provides temporary relief from the stresses of life. It is easy to slip into the habit of eating, not from hunger, but for the momentary pleasure and relief from stress that eating provides. This habit can lead to over-eating and weight gain, or make it extremely difficult to lose weight.

Did You Know?

Cortisol is a hormone released when you are under stress and can produce the following results:

  • Weaken the immune system
  • Raise blood sugar
  • Increase blood pressure and heart rate
  • Decrease bone formation
  • Increase chance of miscarriage
  • Decrease serotonin levels, making  you feel bad and tired

 Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Cognitive Symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
Emotional Symptoms
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
Physical Symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Low libido
  • Frequent colds
What Can You Do?
  1. Exercise – Try a zumba video in front of the TV. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain and produces a feeling of well-being.
  2. Get adequate sleep (neither too much or too little).
  3. Eat right – good nutrition is important.
  4. Try some relaxation techniques – deep breathing, yoga, meditation
  5. Develop hobbies or activities that are enjoyable, knitting, reading or beading.
  6. Take small breaks if possible – a short walk, video game, talk with a friend.

Paula Cahill, ANP-BC