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Another Good Reason to Relax

Another Good Reason to Relax

Stress can be a real killer. When we relax, we give our bodies a chance to heal and repair itself. But the tension, hectic pace, and emptiness of modern life serve to aggravate, if not downright cause, many diseases and health conditions.

One thing you may not know is that stress can also lead to weight gain. Find out more about the connection between stress and excess weight, and why stress is so bad for us, here.

When we are stressed, our adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol into the bloodstream. This tells the body that it is on red alert for survival. Self-healing is interrupted, glycogen stores in the liver and muscles mobilize to raise blood sugar levels, and digestion is suppressed.

Unfortunately, this stress reaction can result from a variety of causes: extreme heat or cold, noise or chemical pollution, fear and worry, eating too much sugar, a nasty look from a salesperson, a traffic jam, the images on the evening news. The body does not differentiate. And the effects are cumulative.

Many doctors now believe that the chronic over-production of cortisol can lead to weight gain (especially around the abdomen), as well as accelerated aging and depressed immune function.

This is all the more reason to take time out for a soothing bath, or a meditation break, or a spritz of relaxing essential oil. (A good facial or a foot massage can also work wonders.) Anything that helps us to de-stress will allow our whole selves to feel more at ease and safe.

Read more: Health, Fitness, Holistic Beauty, Mental Wellness, , ,

By Cait Johnson, author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

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Celebrating the Great Mother

A handbook of earth-honoring activities for parents and now


+ add your own
6:09AM PST on Nov 29, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:06AM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

Thanks for the article.

5:34AM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

I have no time.

5:34AM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

I have no time.

9:26PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Bodywork is a grand way to decrease stress ,relax and let go of all that ails you.
Giving bodywork is also very relaxing.

10:23PM PDT on Oct 7, 2010

ho .. ho .. ho 20 points more

3:47PM PDT on Oct 7, 2010


3:47PM PDT on Oct 7, 2010


6:32AM PDT on Aug 19, 2010

Thanks for the article.

6:56PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

This makes me want to go to the spa, haha. thanks!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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