From deadlines at work to bills at home, stress is everywhere. When we encounter a stressful event, the brain signals the body to release hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). These hormones increase our heart rate, elevate our blood pressure, and increase sugars in our bloodstream. These hormones are also some of the most potent appetite signals we have, interfering with our ability to know when we are full and causing sweet cravings. It would be impossible to completely wipe out stress, but identifying stressful situations and strategies to deal with them can help us handle stress in a healthier manner.

Here are five effective ways to find peace, stop the cravings, and reach a healthy weight.

  • Exercise! Working out is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress. The key is to find something you enjoy and keep it fun. Medi-Weightloss™ patients can log on to the Signature Patient Website , where they will find more than 500 exercises and numerous workout videos.
  • Stop the hamster wheel in your head. Most of the stress in our lives comes from continually playing it over and over in our mind. We work ourselves up so much that before we know it we’re halfway through a bag of chips! Stop thinking. For two minutes, close your eyes and focus on breathing. Inhale slowly counting to four and exhale slowly counting to four. Feel the tension soften, the body relax, and the stress release.
  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude. It’s hard to focus on what’s good in our lives when stressful situations arise, but maintaining a gratitude diary can help. Each day, write down some of the great things that have happened and what you are truly grateful for in life. When your stress level rises, read your diary. When you focus on what is really important, stressful situations don’t seem as important.
  • Take your vitamins. Stress can deplete us of certain vitamins, including vitamins B and C. Taking a multivitamin such as Vita Super can help your body manage the negative effects of stress.
  • Laugh. Laughter may be the best medicine when it comes to dealing with stress. Laughter relieves tension, improves our immune function, and lowers our cortisol levels. Go to a comedy club, watch a romantic comedy with a friend, or read some knock knock jokes to your kids. “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Stress! “Stress who?”