Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Not Sleeping? You need to read this.

September 10, 2014

insomnia

More and more studies are pointing out the importance of sleep and the harmful effects when we don’t get enough of it. Sleep insufficiency is widely linked to chronic health issues like heart disease, stroke and obesity, as well as vehicular accidents. Sleep problems are also a major cause of productivity loss among employees.

Sleep is essential to your health as food, air and water. Cell repair and healing takes place during sleep, that’s why we feel more energetic and refreshed as we wake up each morning. But this is not the case for many people, particularly those who have insomnia.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems. According to the NHS, about a third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia. This sleeping disorder tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age. Untreated insomnia can cause serious problems to a person and may significantly affect his or her quality of life.

Below are some surprising facts about insomnia that you need to know, especially if you think you have it.

Insomnia and depression are linked.

It’s often hard to tell which one comes first. That’s because insomnia can lead to depression and depression can cause insomnia. In a 2014 study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, insomnia was linked to depression, generalised anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in teenagers. The study authors note that “having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder.” Meanwhile, a 2013 Canadian study found that treating the two conditions simultaneously can improve symptoms of both.

Some people are predisposed to insomnia.

Bad news: sleep problems could also run in families. In a 2007 study published in the journal Sleep, researchers found that about 35% of those with insomnia had a family history of the said sleep disorder. Another study, which involved nearly 800 teens, found that those whose parents have insomnia have an increased risk for using prescribed sleeping pills, and having mental problems.

Sleeping pills won’t help you in the long term.

If you want to get rid of insomnia for good, medication isn’t the answer. Whilst sleeping pills can make you fall asleep easier, their effects can wear off if they’re used long-term. What’s better than popping pills is establishing healthy sleep habits. Keep your bedroom dark and cool, go to bed at the same time each night, don’t take too much caffeine, and don’t oversleep on weekends. Proper diet and regular exercise are also crucial. It’s also recommended that you see a GP regularly for check-up because some health conditions can cause sleep difficulties.

A ‘sleep ‘diary may help.

GPs recommend keeping a sleep diary so you gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns. This in turn helps you decide which method of treatment to use. The NHS recommend keeping track of the following: the time you go bed; how long it takes you to get to sleep; the number of times you wake up in the night; what time it is when you wake up episodes of daytime tiredness and naps; what time you eat meals, consume alcohol, take exercise and when you are stressed.

Women are more likely to have it.

Women are two times more likely to have insomnia than men, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Experts speculate that the reason may have to do with women’s hormones. Sleepless nights and daytime sleepiness have been linked with hormonal changes in a women’s life, including pregnancy, menopause, and the menstrual cycle. For instance, for women experiencing menopause, when hormone levels are erratic, sleep problems are a common complaint.

Chronic insomnia ups risk for alcohol abuse.

In 2012, researchers from Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, found that people who drink alcohol to help them get to sleep could wind up developing a drinking problem. An earlier study, published in 2001 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that participants with insomnia were about twice as likely to report using alcohol to sleep, compared with those without insomnia. Attempting to self-medicate insomnia with alcohol, however, will ultimately worsen insomnia, the study authors said.

Natural remedies are available.

Researchers from Louisiana State University found that drinking tart cherry juice before bed improved insomnia symptoms in older adults, and previous research has suggested that herbal remedies, like chamomile tea, may help as well. Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, and in my own professional experience hypnotherapy has also been extremely effective.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist
http://www.greymatterz.co.uk

 

Beat procrastination at work!

January 6, 2014

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Most of the time, it may feel like procrastinating leads to disappointment, anxiety and stress. But procrastination is not always evil. Sometimes, it’s our inner self’s one way of saying “hey, you need to take a break”, or that something isn’t right.

Among the benefits of procrastination include putting unpleasant tasks aside in favour of pleasurable ones, avoiding the possibility of failure-or success, and lowering your anxiety.

But like all other things, too much procrastination is unhealthy. One major consequence is that it can make you less productive. It may also hinder you from working hard to achieve your priorities and getting what you really want in life.

If you find yourself procrastinating more than actually taking action, then you could be in real danger. Try doing the following tips and tricks to overcome too much procrastination and turn your plans and thoughts into a productive action!

Set up reminders.

It’s really a good idea to buy a daily planner so you will be guided of the things you need to accomplish for the day, or for the entire week. When you know what your priorities are, you will be more motivated to limit procrastinating and work more.

Wake up early.

If you do, you are more likely to finish your tasks early, especially if you work from home. And even if you are a regular office employee who has a fixed 9-to-6 schedule, you can still benefit from being an early riser. How? By getting up earlier than usual, you can actually give yourself time to reflect, make your to-do list, and probably formulate better solutions for your work issues.

Get up and move.

Being inactive can make you feel drowsy, unmotivated and uninspired. On the other hand, being physically active can spark your creativity, make you energetic and happier! So when you find yourself straying from your task to surfing the internet, browsing your FB news feed, or watching video clips, consider doing some stretching first. Just 10 minutes of physical activity can power your body up and activate your creative mind.

Find a healthy outlet.

Doing same things everyday can really be stressful at times, no matter how much you love your craft. And when you are stressed, you are more likely to procrastinate. To avoid this, find a healthy outlet. It can be something that you enjoy doing – cooking, sketching, reading, taking photos, etc. Give yourself at least 30 minutes everyday to do things you are passionate about. Call it “my time”.

Time yourself.

This is a very good way prevent procrastination. Set a specific timeframe for each task you need to do – say, 45 minutes, and then you can rest a bit. This helps you avoid burnout, especially when you’re working on complex projects.

Be mindful.

Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of what you feel. When working, try hard not to let your mind wander from the present moment. This way, you can exert all your brainpower to your work and you can ensure a good outcome at the shortest possible time.

Give time for quietness.

Most of us spend lots of time plugged in to the digital world. But it can be overwhelming and stressful too. Set aside at least 15 minutes for mindfulness and quietness. Just free your mind. Think of nobody, think of nothing. Just focus on your breath. You will be surprised of how relieving this simple mental practise is!

Give yourself a break.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. As mentioned, procrastination is a warning sign than you need to rest or slow down. It’s okay to give in to procrastination once in a while. No matter how tight your schedule is, give yourself some time to rest. You deserve it anyway.

Work less.

One common reason why we procrastinate is that we bombard ourselves with so many tasks that even before we start, we are already feeling tired and overwhelmed. Learn how to prioritise your tasks. Identify which are urgent and at the same time important (not just urgent or not just important).  When you distribute your workload properly, you won’t feel too stressed. Also, learn to delegate some of your tasks. You are not a superhuman. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lessen your load.

Just do it.

When all else fails, just carry on with your work. Don’t get caught to making excuses. Just do what you’ve got to do. That task, no matter how difficult or overwhelming, will have an end.

Whenever procrastination is affecting your productivity, pick one or two of these strategies that are most suitable to your situation. They may just be what you need to stay focused and on track.

 

As always, I welcome your comments. And if you find this article useful – do let me know.

regards

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

@RichGreymatterz

Part of the Core Health Centre

Find out how to create optimism!

December 23, 2013

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Everyone experiences challenges and difficulties in life which result to anger, frustration, disappointments, and the like. Sometimes we can’t avoid negative experiences. But despite hardships, happy individuals seem to get through them easily and bounce back to their happy and healthy life. Whilst it is not possible to avoid pessimism completely, here’s why we should all strive hard to inject optimism in our everyday life.

The Hidden Wonders of Optimism

Optimism has long been linked to low stress levels, whereas pessimism is known to boost the levels of stress hormones in the bloodstream, resulting to poorer immunity and increased risk of health problems. But in what other ways does optimism promote good health?

Mounting evidence suggests that keeping a positive view of life could help people recover faster from surgery and effectively cope with serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and AIDS.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published a study showing law students who were optimistic at the beginning of the school year had better functioning immune cells than their worried peers by the middle of the first semester.

Optimism also appears to play a crucial role in helping people cope with the challenges and frustrations, even failures that they experience in life.

The surprising thing is, these difficulties are also necessary for one to cultivate positivity. According to research, kids who are protected from failure and adversity are less likely to develop optimism. It’s because when these children make mistakes and learn from them, they develop the resilience needed to overcome the challenges that likely lie ahead.

How to Become More Optimistic

Being optimistic doesn’t mean we should all interpret each and every calamity as a blessing. It simply means that when calamity does strike, we don’t easily give in; rather, we try to learn from it.

And don’t worry if you find it hard to see the glass half full.  There are several ways to cultivate the ‘positive thinker’ in you.

One way is to recognise that your grief and pain, no matter how real and deep they are, are only part of the bigger picture. And that picture also has positive aspects – success, happiness, pleasure, etc. Many people who have developed serious illnesses are still able to find goodness in the painful experiences they have gone through.

For instance, some people who have suffered from life-threatening or incapacitating disease are able to value each day, appreciate the moment, spend more time doing things they are passionate about, inspire others, and get their priorities straight.

Another great strategy to develop optimism is to practice gratefulness. By recognising your strengths, as well as the positive experiences you had, no matter how small they are, you can teach yourself to become optimistic. Let go of the assumption that the world is against you, or you are born ‘loser’.

This assumption has no logical or scientific basis anyway.  Furthermore, understand that the past does not equal the future. You may have gone through difficult experiences in the past. But that doesn’t mean that the same events will happen now.

You can also practise positive affirmations. For example, write down at least three statements about what you want to change in your perspectives (e.g. “Anything is possible”, “I can live my life the way I choose to”, “Never say die!”). Put them in places where you can see them every day, such as your computer monitor (you can probably make a desktop background containing these affirmations), on your bathroom mirror, on your door, etc.

You may not be able to change the circumstances in your life today, but you can change your attitude towards them. If you need help, talk to a health professional to know what methods can help you. Hypnotherapy has been shown to rapidly help people develop a more positive outlook in life.

As always I welcome your thoughts and comments.

regards

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Part of the Core Health Centre

Follow me @RichGreymatterz or
www.facebook.com/greymatterzhypnotherapy

12 steps to a great, stress-free Christmas

December 11, 2013

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Christmas is, according to whichever survey you read, always somewhere in the top 20 most stressful events of life – it’s often ranked as highly as sixth. 

Most of the other events are infrequent for most of us (deaths, marriage, divorce, house moves etc), but Christmas comes around with great regularity!

According to one survey, 86% of people say they find buying presents hard work and 65% find Christmas shopping stressful. 

The same survey said that 60% of people felt stressed when finding that a gift they bought for someone proved to be a disappointment. 

However much fun it is, there is no doubt that Christmas is stressful – even for the kids!

So, here are 12 tips for making your Christmas less stressful:

1)      Don’t Take Too  Much On
You are not superwoman (or man) – so if you’ve already agreed to host a party and go to a further 2, do you need to accept extra invitations? 

Think of the stress and not just the potential fun.  In this busy period, there has to be some rest as well as fun. 

Build in plenty of down-time and time to flop.  If you are reading this and thinking, “No chance!” then that merely emphasises just how much you do need to build it in. so insist upon it – everyone will benefit if you have more energy at the key moments.

2)      Plan Ahead with Presents

Buying presents over a few months takes away the stress of having to find them all at once and also spreads the financial burden. 
It’s can be atmospheric to shop when the lights are in the shops and it can be fun, to buy a last special present on Christmas Eve – but you don’t have to do all of your present buying in December.

It’s also not wise to wait too long for something that’s likely to sell out. 

This year, tablets and iPads are expected to be in short supply nearer the day. 

It can be extremely stressful to find that an important present is out of stock everywhere.

3)      Buy Some Things Online

Shop checkout queues can be a really stressful, and some people even suffer trolley rage. 

It is possible to order some food and drink for delivery to your house if you get in quickly enough. 

The few pounds you have to pay for this is worth it for the loss of stress!  Do it early or you’ll worry about whether it will arrive in time or not.

4)      Remember that You Can’t Make Everything Perfect

You are not responsible for everyone’s happiness. 

It might be your job to cook the dinner and pick the presents, but if Aunt Flo is in an awful mood, or Grandma insists on watching 3 hours of continuous soaps and upsets everyone else, it’s not your fault. 

Although, you can help to set the atmosphere, essentially people will make up their own minds whether they’re going to be in the festive spirit or not.  Which brings us nicely onto…

5)      Be Responsible with Alcohol/Going to Parties

Alcohol is either a friend or an enemy at Christmas depending how you treat it. 

Christmas is so stressful that many people (including myself) like to have a small drink just as it’s about to swing into action.

This can be relaxing and can help you to feel jolly – helping to create a festive atmosphere. 

Of course, this does mean just a tipple, as a drunken host or hostess is not a good idea!

If you’re cooking, why not get someone else to be responsible for drinks? 

They should make sure everyone has what they want but doesn’t overdo it.

Since tensions can be high, it’s not a good idea to get so sozzled that you tell your sister exactly what you really think of her and her children! 

That will greatly increase your stress for a long time to come!  This is less likely if you stick to an amount of alcohol you know you can handle well.

Parties are a great time to let your hair down, but it’s a good idea to drink soft drinks interspersed with the booze during the night and some water before bed. 

Overdoing it will often ruin what was otherwise a great night, so one way of dealing with that is to say, “I am going to drink only 4 pints tonight” (or whatever you know you can handle and not suffer the consequences).

If you plan it that way, then you will find you can stick to a sensible limit more easily.

6)      Coping with The In-Laws

Or, as a friend of mine calls them, “the Outlaws.”  If you have wonderful ones then this is no problem at all – move on to the next item.

If yours are hard work, then, you may just have to steal yourself and accept that it’s going to be a strain. 

Knowing what has made it easier in the past can help, as can the notion that you can take 10 minutes out from time to time – agree this with your partner beforehand and work together as a team.

7)      Observe Simplicity

Sometimes, less is more.  Although there are certain things you cannot avoid putting extra effort into at Christmas there may be others that are so stressful that they are not worth the payback.

Is it necessary to prepare every meal as a gourmet feast or to put up so many decorations that your house can be seen from space? 

Even the kids will appreciate doing something more low key for some of the holiday.  If they don’t chill out at some point, there will be tantrums.

8)      Give What You Feel is Reasonable for You

One way we can feel we have done something really useful as opposed to simply having over-indulged is to give something to a charity at this time of year – whether it is with money or with time. 

Don’t get stressed about giving. Just give what you feel is reasonable for you. 

Helping others to enjoy their Christmas can greatly help us to enjoy our own and make us feel connected to the wider world. 

9)      Be Prepared with Christmas Cards

I have got into the habit of starting mine in the last week of November. 

I don’t send them out at that point, but I do have them stamped up and ready to go. 

I find if I do 5 or 6 cards a night for a couple of weeks, it makes life a whole lot easier.  You can do this in front of the tv, so it’s really not much effort this way.

It’s also useful to have a Christmas card list (which you can amend every year). 

Christmas can be a good time to accept that some people go out of your life as well as come into it. I keep a note of who I send to and who sends to me every year. 

Except for very special reasons, if someone doesn’t send me a card three years in a row, I don’t send them one next time. 

Why feel obliged to people who aren’t bothered?  It may be sad, but it’s a part of everyone’s life, and can be stress reducing to realise that you don’t have to hold on to people you met five years ago on holiday or you lived next door to twenty years ago.

10)   Give Time for Relaxation and Time-Out

It is important to have something planned that is stress free around Christmas. 

Many people book a massage or spa session either just before or just after (or both if you have the time and money). 

Perhaps a round of golf or playing some other sport can also do this –if it’s not too cold! 

And of course, there is the Boxing Day football schedule.

Counsellors often have very busy January’s when new clients want to unload the stresses they underwent over the Christmas period.  It can be good to unburden this to an empathic ear.

11)   Go For a Walk

It can be a relief to go for a walk on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.  It can be a blessed relief from TV, relatives, broken toys and over-indulged stomachs!

Getting out in nature, especially if there is festive weather can really help to lower stress levels.

12)   Having a Spiritual Moment or Keeping the Faith

If you are a religious person it can be the highlight of Christmas to go a Carol Service.

If you’re not it can be lovely just to stop and listen to the Salvation Army play some carols – don’t walk past, however busy you are!

Try to enjoy this non-material aspect of the Festive Season and perhaps stop to throw some money in the box whilst enjoying a bit of the more spiritual side of Christmas.

It can be a relief to take ten minutes out from the manic pace of shopping and lower your pulse rate. 

Christmas is a happy occasion of celebration. Thinking peaceful thoughts towards others helps put the stressful parts into some perspective and keeps our emotions balanced.

If you do find Christmas stressful then remember keep this list handy and it might ease the burden just a little.

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Core Health Centre

Turn a failure into a success.

October 7, 2013

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“You might never fail on the scale I did. But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” – JK Rowling

Penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own, JK Rowling wrote her first novel using an old manual typewriter and finished it in year 1995. The manuscript was submitted to 12 publishing companies and was rejected. Fortunately, Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury agreed to publish it but advised Rowling to get a day job because ‘there’s no money in children’s book’. In 1997, Rowling received an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council so she could continue writing. That novel was entitled “Harry Potter” which has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and has gained international recognition and multiple awards. The last four Harry Potter books have set records as the fastest-selling books in history.

What if Rowling gave up after the first, second, fourth or tenth rejection? She wouldn’t have gained billions, and we wouldn’t have read one of the best novels there are. Rowling failed so many times. But still she succeeded.

Things we can learn from failure

Looking at the bright side of failure is one way to bounce back after being knocked down. It can help restore our self-belief and counter self-criticisms that make failure much harder to bear. But the question is – is there really something good about failing?  If yes, what is it then? Surprisingly, failure teaches us many things about life and resilience.

It spurs humility.

Humility is vital for success. It is something that many people admire about truly successful individuals. Humility is a very attractive quality. It means staying confident and poised without being boastful and arrogant to others. Failure teaches us the art of humility because it allows us to appreciate every single victory or accomplishment as they come.

It opens more opportunities.

Many people are afraid to go out of their comfort zone because they are afraid of failure. So they choose to narrow their lives by sticking to what they had been doing. But taking risks is essential to achieving success. It takes courage to take risks – and we can all develop it through failures.

It makes us wiser.

They say older people are wiser. And that’s not simply because of their experiences, but also of the failures they have gone through in life. Failure helps you discover more about yourself, such as your strengths and weaknesses. It also helps you correct your mistakes. For instance, arriving late to work because you failed to catch the first bus teaches you to wake up early next time. Failing to pass the exam teaches you to study harder. Failing to get the job teaches you to work harder and improve your credentials. Failing to get your investment back teaches you better ways to improve your business.

It brings us courage.

The more we fail, the more courageous we become. The more resilient we become. Failure strengthens our resilience – a trait that is very important to succeed in life. Resilience is the ability to deal with and bounce back from any forms of adversity, may it be related to work, family, relationship, money, etc. Courage helps us survive life’s difficulties, increasing our chances of success.

If you’re going through the painful process of moving on from failure, knowing these things will make you feel better. In life, people are rewarded and praised for their victory. But the truth is – we can learn more from failure than success.

I’d love to hear your comments,

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Be successful – Here’s how!

October 7, 2013

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Set smaller goals and achieve them.

Sometimes, big goals can be overwhelming. And when you can’t reach them, you become much less confident. One trick to increase your confidence is to set small, achievable goals. It really feels good every time you are able to achieve something – that gives you a sense of accomplishment, something you will also experience when you achieve big goals. So try breaking down a big dream into smaller ones and focus on them one at a time. This doesn’t only make you more confident but also makes your journey to success less stressful.

Be kinder to yourself.

Pamper yourself by buying a new pair of shoes or a new dress, or getting a two-hour massage at the spa. When you feel good about yourself, you will feel better in all other things. Treat yourself like you would treat a very good friend.

Be thankful.

All humans are hardwired to improve something. Even the richest people on earth feel that something is still missing. That’s part of being human. We are in constant chase of so many things. Once we have achieved our present goals, we will sure create another one. And the list goes on.

But being too focused on your goals could have a negative impact on your confidence levels. As mentioned, having a sense of accomplishment increases our self-esteem. But how could you experience it if you lack appreciation for what you currently have?

Before going to bed, think about the things that made you happy today as well as the goals you have completed (e.g. finishing work on time, cleaning a room, completing a to-do list, etc) and write them down perhaps. Focusing on what you’ve already achieved strengthens your drive to reach your long-term goals and achieve success despite the challenges you are facing.

Reduce your worrying.

Too often, we put a lot of time and attention thinking about all the ‘what-ifs’ we have in life. What if they don’t like my product? What if I fail in the exam? What if I don’t get promoted? What if – fill in the blank. But here’s the thing. Every day, you only have a certain amount of energy to spend. Instead of wasting it on worrying, why not use it to advance your career, improve your performance, learn about new stuff, and then meet your goals?

Find an inspiration.

Look for someone who has become successful in the career path you are taking and determine the qualities he or she has that you still don’t have. Learn about their good practices, skills and traits that have made them successful. Also research about the failures they have gone through and how they were able to overcome them.

Disarm those critical voices inside you.

Tell your inner critical self to ‘shut up’. If you can’t, just let it speak in a very minimal tone. Imagine a volume control in your brain and reduce it to the lowest level until you couldn’t even understand what those negative internal voices are saying. You can also overthrow those critical voices by filling your mind with positive thoughts.

Optimism has a large role to play in increasing your confidence and achieving success.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

One common habit of individuals who have poor self-esteem is that they keep on comparing themselves with other people – which is not right because everyone of us is uniquely special. Often, comparisons are unfair because you don’t know as much as you think you do about these people. You may think its better, but in reality, it could be 100 times worse.

Lastly, be willing to take risks.

Remember, you miss 100% of the opportunities you never go for. Don’t be afraid to fail or commit mistakes. No person has ever made it to success without experiencing failure even once in their life. You have God-given talents and abilities. Use them to achieve success.

 

Let me know how you go.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist
http://www.greymatterz.co.uk

Why Stress = Weight gain.

September 6, 2013

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Every day, stress is there to make things complicated and difficult and embarrassing and exasperating. It makes us incapable of being productive.

Worse, it makes us engage in unhealthy lifestyle that could lead to weight gain. For instance, some people find comfort from calorie-dense, nutritionally empty foods when they are stressed.

Stress and Weight Gain

Stress signals your body to consume and store fats.

When we are under stress, our body’s ‘flight or fight’ system is activated. During this period, your body releases a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CHR and cortisol.

These are hormones that make you feel alert, ready for action, and able to withstand injury.  In a short term, adrenaline would make you feel less hungry because your blood flows away from your organs to your muscles and make them ready to face the ‘threat’.

But as your adrenaline levels wane, your cortisol levels remain high, signalling your body to replenish your food supply. So your tendency is to eat, eat and eat, with more preference on sugary foods.

Stress gives you ‘belly fat’.

In this modern world – where most people spend hours sitting and working on the computer, it has become a challenge to stay lean and fit. If you are chronically stressed with the demands of work and life, you become more likely to develop ‘visceral fat’ deep in your belly.

Unfortunately, your belly has plenty of supply of blood vessels and cortisol receptors, making the production of visceral fats so easy and quick. What’s more, belly fat is unhealthy and is linked to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

It is also difficult to eliminate. Unless you exercise more often and eat low-calorie foods, the fats accumulated in your belly are likely to grow and ‘bulge’ even more.

Stress fuels emotional eating.

Eating to feed your emotions, not your stomach, can jumpstart obesity. Anxiety and stress are so energy-draining that too often; we end up looking for something to eat. Unfortunately, stress makes us choose cookies and cakes over fruits, crisps and pizza over vegetables, and fizzy drinks and beer over water.

Another thing, when we are stressed, we tend to eat ‘mindlessly’, resulting to overeating. No need to further explain why this in turn causes weight gain.

Stress affects your sleep.

So what does sleep have to do with weight gain? For years, scientists have suspected that sleep and obesity are linked. Research has found that stressed people who stay up late at night are more likely to reach for plain carbohydrates like cookies, doughnuts and pastries.

“It’s not like they’re going for whole-wheat pasta,” according to Taub-Dix, the spokesperson of the American Diabetic Association.  Also, when you lack sleep, your willpower to resist food cravings also decreases, so you tend to eat more.

Quick and East Anti-Stress Strategies

Whether you’re undergoing a weight loss programme or considering one, here are some stress-busting techniques that you may find useful.

Eat or Drink more Vitamin C

A study by the University of Alabama found that vitamin C stopped the secretion of stress hormones. So have a look into food and drinks that are rich in vitamin C.

‘Pet’ your pet.

Give yourself time to take a break from your stressful work and pamper your pets. Researchers at State University of New York found that pets give more stress relief than our two-legged companions.

Shake it out.

When you’re highly stressed, pause for a moment and shake your arms, hands and the rest of your body. It relieves tension, boosts blood flow and clams your mind.

Bring your music player to work.

Research by Pennsylvania’s Wilkes University suggests that listening to music lowers your stress levels at work and at the same time, reduces your risk of common cold.

Smile.

Even if you don’t feel like doing it, just smile. Just the act makes you relaxed and in control.  

Exercise.

This doesn’t just help you lose weight but also boosts the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain that relieves stress and boosts your mood.

A study by the University of Missouri at Columbia found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace.

Can you suggest more ways to fight stress?

Feel free to post your comment below.

Wishing you a stress-free weekend.

Richard Scott
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist
greymatterz.co.uk

Part of the Core Health Centre