April is Stress Awareness Month

Feeling stressed? If you seek solutions for yourself or others you’re not alone. A Google search for “stress busters” turned up 3.5 million results.

Photo br Lorelle Del Matto

According to Therese J Borchard (1), “Stress is like dark chocolate. A little of it won’t kill you. In fact, small blocks here and there can be good for you, or at least give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. But chronic and severe stress can damage your body and mind, blocking the fluid communication to and from most organs–especially in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and in the limbic system, the brain’s emotional center.”  Her favorite “10 Stress Busters,” including “Give Away Your Cape,” and “Think Globally” just might be worth a 3-minute read.

For the past 10 years, the American Psychological Association (APA) has commissioned an annual survey, Stress in America ™. This year the survey looked at coping with change and the effects of technology and social media on stress (2).

In 2013, the APA survey considered stress and eating, sleep and exercise. (3)  Thirty-eight percent of adults reported over-eating or eating unhealthy food due to stress and 30% said they’d skipped a meal in the past month due to stress.

Stress and Eating Behaviors (4) discusses how uncontrollable stress can change eating patterns, increase the desire for and consumption of hyperpalatable foods and result in hormonal and other neurobiological adaptions that may lead to obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Can you squeeze in few more minutes?  “43 Simple Habits That’ll Improve Your Life (Even if You Just Pick One) by Patrik Edblad (5) includes familiar stress-busters such as breathing, exercise and mindfulness along with fun, potentially useful ideas such as “Put Yourself in “Monk Mode” and “Strike A Pose.”

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

One of my favorite stress-relievers is to head to the kitchen to stir up some bread dough, simmer a soup, fragrant curry or Italian tomato sauce on the stove. I might even make a homemade pizza – or three!  Food for stress-relief, and the process of making it, can nourish the mind and body.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

1. 10 Stress Busters, Therese J Borchard, Psych Central

2. Stress in America™ 2017 Survey

3. 2013 Stress in America™ (Eating, Exercise, Sleep)

4. Stress and Eating Behaviors

5. 43 Simple Habits That’ll Improve Your Life (Even if You Just Pick One) by Patrik Edblad.

© Lorelle Del Matto 2017


lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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