If I asked you to simply stand up, both feet on the floor and just stand there, would you consider that stressful? Okay, not exactly. But what if I asked you to stand for five hours? Or better yet, for a full day with no pee breaks and no sleep, or for a full month? What if, while you were standing there for the next full month, I asked you to stand on one foot and then balance an egg on a spoon? Stress is like that. One thing on its own is not necessarily stressful, but stress can slowly build up over time. The daily to-do list gets longer, and at the same time you're trying to earn a decent living. You discover more commitments and more expectations for you to succeed.
Do you notice that when you experience higher stress levels, you also have a tendency to make poor food choices?
Do you notice that when you experience higher stress levels, you also have a tendency to make poor food choices? If you do, you're not alone. Stress makes it more challenging to bolster up willpower and resist giving in to poor food choices. In other words, stress makes it harder to say no and easier to say yes in the face of unhealthy foods. That's because stress activates the part of the brain that has impulsivity written all over it, and effectively shuts the lights out in the part of the brain that saves you from yourself with willpower and self-control. When you feel stressed, thoughts of 'I want to be the healthiest I can be' go flying out the window, and instead you mindlessly reach for habitual patterns you'd rather leave behind but that you're still carrying around, like a dead weight around your ankle.
When stress gets out of control, self-care plummets.
Managing stress is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself in today's fast-paced lifestyle. When stress gets out of control, self-care plummets, mostly because you think that you don't have time. But if you're familiar with these stress induced experiences you may realise that you can't afford not to take the time to care for yourself and manage stress more effectively. You can use the practice of mindfulness as an integrated approach to effectively managing stress and thereby take a holistic approach to health and wellness. A holistic approach is not just about what you do or don't eat, it's also about how you manage stress, in addition to how well you sleep at night, how much playtime you get in your lief and how much sunshine you get (the list goes on) that determines the totality of your health and how you feel. Mindful eating is one of the mindfulness practices that you can use in your daily life to help you in managing stress. Sitting down to a meal, focusing your senses and pausing to take a few deep breaths may sound simple - and it is - but it also has the power to help you manage and cope with the everyday stressors of your life, which can benefit you in innumerable ways.