Food is NOT a Coping Strategy, Part II

Nature can provide wonderful, positive stress relief, spend some time there. Photo by Elle 2014

Nature can provide wonderful, positive stress relief, spend some time there. Photo by Elle 2014








In the first article we discussed spotting the signs of and learning to identify your emotions associated with eating as a means of coping with stress. In the second part of this article we’ll learn positive ways to deal with stress. Here we will discuss several differnt methods for dealing with stress. As situations differ so too should your ways of stress management. Some of the suggested stress reducing ideas can be implemented any where or time, others may require you make time for them. It is helpful to chose the ways you’ll deal with stress ahead of time and plan regular stress relief time each week, this approach will keep your stress in check so that when extra stress rears its ugly head you are better equipped to handle it.

Exercise.  One of the most effective ways of dealing with stress is exercise. Many people won’t try exercise as a stress relieving method because they don’t think they enjoy exercise. But before you write physical activity off consider this: the benefits of exercise go far beyond stress relief. Regular, moderate physical activity lowers blood pressure, helps to improve your cardiovascular function, builds muscle, acts as a natural antidepressant, and improves your sleep. And you don’ t have to join a gym, buy exercise videos, or other costly things to reap the benefits. Got kids? Play with them. Family biking, skating, walking a nature trail, canoeing, or any other physical activity your family enjoys counts and you build your family’s memories of having fun together. Have a pet? Go for a stroll, it’s good for both of you to get some frsh air and enjoy the serenity nature offers. Solo right now? Great! The world is your pearl! Join a biking club, sign up for a race and get a training buddy, learn to rock climb, join a water aroebic group, take a walking tour of your town, since it’s just you, you can go it alone, join a group that does something you’re interested in, or find a buddy who can hold you accountable.

Exercise also does something for us that scientists are only now beginning to understand. If we view and use physical activity as play the benefits become even more profound. Exercise as play stirs the imagination as well as  the creative centers in the brain, allowing us to unlock our creative selves. This benefit has the potential to lead us into undiscovered areas of our lives we may have never discovered without playtime, allowing us to lead richer, fuller lives. Still skeptical? Try it for six weeks, keeping track of what you do and how you feel both before and after, you may be surprised at what you discover.

Meditation.  Meditation has a place in your stress relief arsenal as well. There are numerous methods of meditation, some are guided while others require the practioner find her own way. For beginners a guided meditation is best. There are numerous books, CDs, and videos available for purchase or for free online or at your local library. Finding one that suits you may take a bit of effort so enjoy the process and be adventurous. When I first used guided meditation the one I found most helpful was in a book that belonged to a friend and wasn’t available in audio format. I made a recording of it so that I could listen without having to focus on reading. Be creative if what you want isn’t how you need it.

Quick Relief

  • Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, take 15 or more minutes
  • Play with your pet
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Read a good book
  • Take a walk in a natural setting
  • Garden
  • Visit with a good friend

Any activity that makes you happy is usually a good stress relieving activity as long as the results, both in relation to the stress at hand as well as you and your relationships, are positive.

Still feeling stressed?  If you can’t seem to manage your stress on your own, seek help! It is the wise man who knows that he doesn’t  know how to do everything and asks for help with those things that elude him. Seeing a consular or other mental health professional is not a sign that you can’t manage your own life, just that your intelligent enough to know that you’ve reach a situation that you need help getting resolved. And the quicker you take care of the issue, the more easily it is fixed.


Bon appetit,







Copyright 2015