Overcoming Stress the Healthy Way


Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

Causes of stress

There are three different types of causes of stress we will discuss. They are work stress, life stress, and stress from the inside rather than out:

Work Stress:

  • Being unhappy in your job
  • Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
  • Working long hours
  • Having poor management
  • Working under dangerous conditions
  • Having a loved one working under dangerous conditions
  • Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of being fired
  • Having to give presentations
  • Facing harassment at work

Life Stress:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Increase of financial obligations
  • Getting married
  • Moving to a new home
  • Chronic illness or injury
  • Emotional problems
  • Traumatic event

Stress from inside rather than out:

  • Fear and uncertainty
  • Attitudes and perceptions of how you view things
  • Unrealistic expectations

Stress and Weight Gain

Carolyn Gregoire, a writer at the Huffington Post, recently wrote an article discussing the link between stress and weight gain in overweight men. The article titled, “Being Overweight, Obese Linked to Release of Stress Hormone Cortisol after Eating” studied 19 men with a healthy BMI and 17 men who were considered overweight. There research showed that the overweight men exhibited significantly higher cortisol level than the healthy individuals. The article also states, “This research indicates that when we are carrying excess fat stores, we may be exposing our bodies to increased levels of stress hormone cortisol every time we have a meal. If overweight and obese individuals have an increase in cortisol every time they ingest food, they may be at a greater risk for developing stress-related diseases”. The summary of this article is that overweight or obese individuals are at a higher risk for stress related diseases because their bodies produce excess cortisol every time they have a meal. The best cure for this is to get your body back down to a healthy BMI to decrease your chance of stress related diseases.


Foods that can help with stress

  • Avocados
    • Contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure
  • Hot Tea
    • Can calm nerves which will decrease stress level
  • Chewing on something crunchy like carrots can help relieve stress
  • Leafy Greens
    • Contain folate which produces dopamine which helps you stay calm
  • Turkey Breast
    • Has tryptophan which you associate with that thanksgiving food coma but tryptophan has a calming effect
  • Oatmeal
    • According to research found at MIT, carbohydrates help the brain male serotonin, which is the same substance, regulated by antidepressants, which will help you stay calm.
  • Yogurt
    • Study at UCLA showed that yogurt reduced brain activity in the area that handled emotion, including stress. Yogurt has probiotics, which you can never go wrong with adding more to your diet.
  • Salmon
    • The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that can help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol
  • Blueberries
    • The antioxidants in berries improve your body’s response to stress
  • Milk
    • UCL Institute of Child Health found that vitamin D, which is in fortified milk, can help lower the risk of panic and depression.
  • Magnesium Containing Foods (flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, yogurt, nuts and fish)
    • Loading up on magnesium may help regulate your emotions. Magnesium has also been shown to alleviate depression, fatigue and irritability.

Activities that can help with stress

  • Article from ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) state, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins”.
  • Go for a jog
  • Do yoga (RomWod)
  • Listen to music
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Cuddling with puppies
  • Deep breathing
  • Dancing

Kolby Hanson

Crossfit Winder Coach

Forge-RX/ Crossfit Winder Nutritionist