It's Not Stress that Kills You, It's How You Handle It

How to Beat Stress and Keep it Away

Most personal trainers, health and wellness coaches, and even physicians will tell you just how bad stress is. It’s pretty much on par with smoking, drinking, or eating an unhealthy diet in terms of its effects on your body.

But although the effects can be just as bad, stress is a little different for one important reason: How you handle it matters.

The truth is, we all encounter stress in our lives. It’s part of life, and it can’t be avoided altogether. Technically speaking, even exercise is considered a form of stress on the body. What we know today, and what psychologists and doctors understand about stress, is that how you respond to it matters more than the stress itself. This is because your response, and even your interpretation of the stress, ultimately determines the effect it will have.

Coping with Stress

The term that experts use to refer to your stress response is coping. We all cope with stress in different ways, some more effective than others.

If you can cope effectively with stress, big or small, you’re more likely to be successful in every facet of your life, including your weight loss and fitness goals. You know it as well as I do – if you’re stressed out, you’re a lot less likely to feel motivated to reach your goals.

What’s the Best Way to Cope with Stress?

Although it depends on a variety of factors, including the stress itself and the situation you’re in, there are a few ways of coping that psychologists have discovered are more effective than others.

Social Support:

Hands down, one of the best ways to handle stress is to get support from your friends and family. Research has been pretty clear on this one for years, as social support appears to buffer the effects of stress on your health.

It sounds simple enough, but many of us don’t do it enough. When you’re having a hard time, get advice from a friend, talk it out, or take a leap of faith and lean on someone for a little support. If it’s your fitness goals that really have you down, try getting a gym buddy or trainer to keep you going.

Exercise & Physical Activity:

That’s right – exercise is technically a form of stress on your body, but it’s also a great way of coping with all that psychological and mental stress you encounter in your day. Physical activity releases endorphins that can totally improve your mood, and exercising over time can actually help your body adapt more quickly to other forms of stress.

For some great stress-reducing workout routines, check out my Free Workout Routines for Women and Free Workout Routines for Men.

A Healthy Diet:

Everything you put in your body has an effect on your mind, and that means that it also has an effect on how you handle stress. A healthy, balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals can go a long way to keep you feeling stable and relaxed.

A lot of vitamins have a direct impact on your stress response. B-complex vitamins are some of the most important when it comes to stress. To ensure you’re getting enough, try taking a B-vitamin supplement like Twinlab Stress B-Complex daily. Omega-3 supplements like Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil are also helpful in handling stress.

Positive Reappraisal:

This last one may be the most important of all. Research has shown that in even the most stressful of situations, seeing the positive or finding a silver lining can totally change the outcome. This isn’t always easy, but it totally underscores the importance of positive thinking and staying optimistic.

Have any questions or feedback about how to beat stress? Please leave a comment below…