Weighty Matters

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Stress Relief Substitutions

on December 18, 2012

I had a fairly stressful day today.  All work-related, all manageable, but still stressful.  Right after I left for the day I posted to Facebook that I was really looking forward to relieving the stress with Zumba class.  This was such an important substitution, to choose exercise as a way to relieve stress as opposed to diving headlong into a vat of ice cream.

Overeating never really got rid of stress or eased emotional pain.  Food never truly consoled me in sorrow, or cheered me up when I was blue.  It never calmed me when I was anxious or helped me cope with any problem.  Somewhere along the line I developed the belief that food had the power to do all of these things.  It became my crutch, my support, my balm, my emotional bandage, my drug of choice.  You name it.

While there are probably some foods that stimulate the release of certain brain chemicals that make us feel better, that doesn’t make the overeating of them a positive choice.  Same thing with cigarettes, illegal drugs and alcohol.  Abusive use of any substance isn’t good for me.

Unfortunately, shit still happens.  There are times and circumstances that create stress or pain or drama.  Unless you live your life totally numb, you’re going to experience uncomfortable emotions sometimes.  So, I’ve had to develop other ways to deal.

Zumba class really helped tonight.   The exercise, the music, the fun of it all drove the stress out of my mind and my body for the hour.  The endorphins created honestly eased the tension I was carrying around in my brain.  I was able to come home, eat a nice dinner, and focus on the project I needed to finish and turn in tonight.

Obviously, I can’t always go to Zumba when something comes up that throws me off my even keel, but I can always do something other than compulsively eat.  I can play with the dogs, or practice my Tai Chi at home.  I can get up from my desk at work and take a little walk outside to see the dolphins.  There are endless choices open to me that don’t include cramming some food into my mouth.

Different choices, lots of options — really good substitutions and solutions.  It’s all good.



2 responses to “Stress Relief Substitutions

  1. lunarmom says:

    The dolphins. Outside your door.

    Now THAT would relieve anyone’s stress. I’m with Skye, wow. What an amazing blessing that is.

  2. Skye says:

    Wow. Just wow. I love that you can get up from your desk and go outside to see the dolphins. What a way to relieve stress. Your second to last paragraph says everything.

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