Let’s face it, everyone knows we need to manage our stress.  If you are like me, there are times when you just need to chill and calm the ____ down.

I recently got some text messages today that send my blood boiling through the roof and I just wanted to punch the wall!  Ever feel like that?

When things get crazy at work, at home, screaming kids perhaps…(*grin*), here’s a few proven tips and tricks to calm your nerves.

The cool thing is…When you do calm your nerves down – you give a good KNOCK OUT punch to public enemy #1: cortisol.

What the heck is cortisol?  OK let’s get geeky here for a minute because I didn’t know what the heck cortisol was myself until I looked it up!  And what a bad boy it indeed is.

According to Psychology Today:

“The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on.”

It gets worse for you and me my friend.

According to WebMD cortisol can cause weight gain. YICHs right.

WebMD says: “This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.”

Did I read that right?  Yes dammit I did…that blood sugar drop causes us to crave the junk food a.k.a. “Comfort foods” over that salad or apple.

There’s THE reason why it’s so dang hard to lose weight.

Holy moly so we need to reduce our stress to get that cortisol down.

Or else the alternative is crap.

Remember those text messages I mentioned earlier that sent my blood boiling?  Well who knew – those text messages can cause my muffin top too!

The bottom line? “More stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for junk food = more belly fat,” says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist.

Good news! Here are 5 SIMPLE tips to get that bad boy cortisol down and reduce our stress.

Better Sleep & Well-being with Affirmations:

Affirmations have a powerful effect on tapping into our subconscious minds and steering our thoughts to positive confident state of mind.

It’s kinda like how we drive a car right, if we steer with our hands to the right, the car turns right.

Same as our mind, if we repeat positive affirmations it’s like we are steering our mind to think positive thoughts, steering us into a ‘good vibes energy state of mind’ which gives a KNOCK OUT punch to stress.

When you do affirmations, something magical happens in your brain.  Affirmations help form new neural pathways, interrupting old thought patterns and reprogramming to new ideas that are healthier for you.

Here’s some affirmations you can use or make your own up – the key is to keep them positive and short n sweet.

I am a beautiful ray of light

I am calm and at peace

I forgive all

I am at peace

I am grateful for all the love in my life

Every day I’m feeling stronger and stronger

Meditation

If you are looking to escape from the whirlwind of ringing cell phones, traffic snarls and screaming kids, meditation can provide a peaceful getaway from the craziness of everyday life.

Backed by science, meditation will get you into RELAX mode and release endorphins and serotonin into your body.  Meditation gives a huge knock out punch to your stress, anxiety or depression!

Music

When you put in some fun dance music, it’s easy to go from a “rut” to a “strut” in seconds when you play some fun music.

Even 5 minutes…go get your music on:

1. Go to youtube or your music downloads
2. Play 1 song you LOVE dancing to
3. Stand up – dance like you’re on holiday and see your stress melt away!

Exercise

Even a short brisk walk can give you an “instant calming effect“.  There are so many benefits of exercise this wee little blog post could not do justice to that but I wanted to include it for you because I always find if I do a nice walk or workout, I find i ALWAYS sleep better and start making better choices on my food too.

Sleep & Bathtime!

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama

It’s scientifically proven that when you get more sleep, your body’s hormonal rhythm gets back into natural flow.

The big question is how do I get better sleep right!

If you can sneak away for a quiet 20 minute bath soothed by candlelight, a nice glass of wine, and soft music…you’re muscles and brain will go from ‘tight’ to ‘oh I feel damn good and relaxed’ mode.  If you don’t have time for a nice warm bath then take a hot shower that will get you into ‘relax’ mode.

Mind still racing when your beautiful head hits the pillow and you just can’t fall asleep?

It’s easier to ‘control’ your breathing than your mind…and funny enough, your mind will become calm as a result of doing this breathing exercise that best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil is championing and even Dr. Oz loves it too!

The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise To Put You To Sleep In Just 60 Seconds

Scientifically it will relax you by:

  1. Increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood stream,
  2. Slowing your heart rate, and
  3. Releasing more carbon dioxide from the lungs.

According to DrWeil.com, here’s how you do it:

  1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth
  2. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a silent count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  5. Exhale through your mouth to a count of 8, making a whoosh sound
  6. Repeat for a total of 4 breath cycles

According to Dr. Weil:

“The truth behind Weil’s 4-7-8 exercise is it takes practicing this twice a day over two months to perfect the technique until you can truly fall asleep in a minute. Once you’ve mastered it, it will become more and more effective and even help you deal with anxiety and stress in your life. Soon, going to bed will be as simple as taking a deep breath.”

So give that a whirl, I know it’s helped me and I do feel a sense of CALM when I do this.

The other thing I often do, and even if I wake up wide away at say 3 a.m., is listen to a relaxing a meditation audio, even with your earbuds in case you don’t want to wake anyone else up :).

Life can get stressful but use these tips to help stress and decompress your life.

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