Stress is not only a challenge to deal with mentally – it can also cause weight gain. Doctors say that chronic stress equals increased cortisol, which makes it difficult for the body to respond to insulin, which makes it difficult to burn fat. The habit of stress eating is also a very real thing.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to cope with stress and some even have additional health benefits.

1. Meditate

There’s reason why people have been practicing meditation for thousands of years – because it works. Even just a few minutes per day can help you regain composure, clear your thoughts and feel a sense of control. If you’re looking for a way to handle stress and you’ve never tried meditation, it might be time to give it a shot.

2. Ask for Help

While it’s more comfortable to talk to family and friends about what’s stressing us out, it can sometimes be more helpful to talk to a professional. If you find yourself struggling with chronic or prolonged stress, there is absolutely no shame in making a doctor’s appointment. This is also important because your doctor can check if an underlying health issue is at the root of your stress or refer you to a specialist.

3. Focus on Breathing

How lucky are we to live in San Diego, where we can take a sunny stroll year round and breathe in the salty ocean air? Make it a point to take a break midway through the day and just walk outside for 15 minutes. Aside from the Vitamin D you’ll soak up, you’ll also get the chance to take a break and focus on your breathing. Conscious breathing stimulates the cerebral cortex and has a relaxing and balancing effect on the emotions. A great way to learn proper breathing is to attend a yoga class, like our Yoga Vinyasa Flow.

4. Work it out

This one might be kind of obvious but we couldn’t leave it out! Exercise is one of the best ways to cope with stress. If you don’t know where to start or if your current exercise routine isn’t cutting it, try a Personal Training Group Class with Bootique Fitness. Boot camp style classes will reduce stress hormones, pump up your endorphins and are an excellent distraction from the daily grind.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try one of these tips to deal with stress in a healthy way. Just remember to be patient and find the strategy that works best for you. Good luck!