Our lives are a culmination of habits, good and bad. Good habits help us experience positive results; bad habits impede progress and diminish our quality of life. Reasons for persisting in undesirable behaviors vary from person to person, but the impact is similar: a combination of guilt, shame, self-loathing, embarrassment, and regret. We need to understand how and why we have developed bad habits before we can deal with them effectively. Many patterns stem from stress or boredom, although some research suggests genetics in certain cases. Consider replacing these bad habits with more productive patterns.
According to an American Psychological Association survey, one out of four Americans says their stress level is an 8 out of 10 or higher. Stress may suppress appetite temporarily as the nervous system releases adrenaline. As stress lingers, the adrenal glands release cortisol, which does the opposite – it triggers appetite. If cortisol levels remain elevated, a person feels hungry – often for fatty, sugary foods. Combat stress eating with meditation, a technique of training the mind to redirect thoughts and focus. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a meta-analysis suggesting that meditation effectively reduces stress levels, especially in people with high anxiety. There are a myriad of meditation styles that can relieve symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.
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