Why do I eat more when I’m stressed?

Whether you tend to eat more or less when stressed apparently all depends on how the brain perceives the stress you are dealing with. In general, when you are faced with an acute stress e.g. if you’re being chased by a dog the fight or flight response kicks in. It’s perceived you are in danger so your brain responds by releasing hormones that reduce appetite. However if the stress is more persistent the brain releases hormones that increase appetite and may lead to what is commonly referred to as comfort eating.


Regardless of what stress response kicks in, the key is to find ways to manage stress before it really impacts your health in a negative way. Now I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to switch my mind off when I’m trying to relax. I’ve tried so many relaxation techniques including meditation, deep breathing etc. and  one technique that I’ve found works really well for me is Trauma Release Exercise. TRE is essentially exercise that helps the body release deep muscular stress tension and trauma. If you want to know more about it then I’d suggest taking a look at this website. http://treaustralia.com.au/ The beauty of it is that once you know what to do you can easily incorporate it into your daily life. Having said that, while I’m not great at meditation I am working on improving my skills as I think there are great benefits to be gained from regular practice. Some other very simple stress management techniques  I use include deep breathing, listening to music and focussing in the moment when stressed on my senses .e.g. If I’m out walking, I might focus on how the air feels on my face or if I’m eating I might focus and the texture and taste of each bite.  I guess when it comes down to it, it’s about finding what techniques and activities work best for you. Like most things when it comes to health it’s trial and error.


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