Stress and Weight Gain

Knowing how to deal with stress and weight gain is important.

Too much tension can lead to many health problems.

Here you can learn how to deal with it. Doing so will improve the quality of your life.

It's never too late. It's made easier with our free psychological tools. We show you the causes of tension as well as the cures.

The goal is not to eliminate tension completely, because the only way to eliminate it would be to die.

The secret is to manage it by arranging our lives so that its consequences are beneficial rather than detrimental.


On this page we look at some effective tension relief techniques, including:

  • physical fitness exercises
  • psychological exercises
  • breathing techniques
  • meditation practice
  • positive psychology
  • visualization
  • self-talk
  • building self-esteem
  • "morning pages” technique

These can work well for relief from tension, anxiety, depression, comfort eating, and other related problems.

So, let's first look at the causes of tension and then some of the cures.

Causes of tension

We are creatures of the Pleistocene [a prehistorical era] who have developed Anthropocene [our own historical era] habits. However, lifestyle pressures ans strains have changed from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene. In other words, we have bodies well designed by Mother Nature for the Stone Age and we are stuck in the 21st century.

One of the key differences seems to be that, although we might not be as constantly exposed to physical dangers, we might be exposed to more constant nonphysical causes of tension than our ancestors.

Whether physical or nonphysical, stress, or stress and weight gain, occurs when forces oppose each other.

Obstacles to relaxation (stimulants) are around us twenty-four hours a day. For example, we are affected by sound. If, like many people, you live in a city or even a suburb, you are bombarded with the sounds of traffic, including sirens, and frequently music and often construction and maintenance noise.

Radio, television, and the world wide web are available every minute of every day; if we are not using them, our neighbor seems to be. Playing children often create irregular, disturbing noises. All stimulants raise blood pressure.

There are many other stimulants as well. Many people are addicted to the news, which is filled with stories that are deliberately chosen because they titillate, excite or disturb.

We frequently stimulate ourselves with caffeine and its relatives as well as street drugs like cocaine and amphetamines.

Who would want to go to a movie, a play, or a zoo that wouldn't stimulate us?

Who would want to listen to a preacher, a comic, a teacher, or a salesperson who wouldn't stimulate us?

Since few are immune to it, a frequently unnoticed trigger is time consciousness. The more we pay attention to watches and clocks instead of to whatever we are doing, the more tense we are.

There are huge productivity advantages to be gained from timing performances. But they come at a cost and we've only been bearing that cost in recent centuries. (If this topic interests you, read David Landes's Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World [rev ed].)

The same goes for the other major triggers that cause worry such as separation from loved ones, aging, poverty, and ill health.

sidebar quotation from Hans Selye: "Death is inevitable, but it is quite possible not to worry about it all the time."

Our thinking itself generates much of our anxiety, guilt, and unhappiness.

Our failure to control our minds causes tension-related illnesses of all kinds. The idea that mind and body are separate is a delusion.

All this elevates our levels of the hormone cortisol, which increases abdominal fat storage.

Hence the relevance of the topic of relief techniques to both health and weight loss.

Remedies for stress and weight gain

If there is too much tension in your life and you want more relaxation, we have several suggestions. Here they are:

Fitness exercise is a good way to deal with tension.

Two or three brief sessions of intense fitness (cardio) exercise each week will stimulate a lot of benefits if you are not now doing it.

Even regular mild fitness exercise like brisk walking has important psychological as well as physiological benefits. For a plan of action, see our Fitness Walking page.

When introduced to it properly (in other words, slowly), fitness exercise has been proven to restore a sense of well-being and to reduce the level of stress-related hormones. Remember: we evolved exercising.

Meditation is another way to deal with tension.

Mastering meditation is a real cure for what ails us. It's not just for stress and weight gain. Its goal is freedom from compulsive thinking.

It requires daily practice to yield major results. However, our recommendation is that everyone can benefit from meditation. Even just 15 or 20 minutes twice daily can work wonders.

Please don't confuse it with religion. It is a spiritual or breathing practice. It is neither religious nor anti-religious; it's nonreligious.

Meditation is for everyone. It works from the inside out. It supports the person on all levels. It produces precious peace of mind: serenity, tranquility, peacefulness. See the Meditation section of our website. You will find the direct links on the site map/index, which is listed at the bottom of the menu/navigation buttons to the left of this page.

sidebar quotation from Andrew Weil, M.D.: "meditation is for anyone willing to commit to a discipline that makes training the body look like child's play."

When the Buddha said that, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought," he was giving us the best possible news.

Teaching yourself how to deal with tension by controlling your mind will permanently improve all that you are, not just your consciousness but also your character and conduct as well! What is required is mastering some effective spiritual practice or other such as meditation.

We provide lots of free help right on this site. Before mentioning where to find it, permit us to recommend a free, 7 email sequence on tension reduction entitled "The Truth about The Best Ways to Reduce Stress" (or stress and weight gain).

If it interests you, please take the opportunity to sign up in the form just below this paragraph. [Don't worry: if you don't enjoy it, you may cancel it at any time. Furthermore, we'll never give away, rent, or sell your contact information, so we'll be the only ones who will use it.

You may opt off the list at any time. We hate spam ourselves!] If it doesn't interest you, just skip the form to find out other relevant pages from this site.

Yogic breathing is also how to deal with tension.

Whether you meditate yet or not, we also provide you with a simple yogic breathing technique to use whenever your thoughts upset you.

If you do this for about 5 minutes twice daily, in just a few days you'll notice the difference. If you develop the habit of doing it whenever you are troubled, you'll find that it really, really helps!

If that interests you, see the Breathing Exercise page on our website. You will find the direct link to that page on our site map/index.

Positive psychology is also how to deal with tension.

We also provide guidance for getting each day off to the best possible start.

Instead of freedom from thoughts, the following are ways simply to replace bad thoughts with good ones.

If this interests you, please check the Psychology Section of our website. You will find the direct link to that section on our site map/index.

Visualization is another way to deal with tension.

If that interests you, see the Visualization page on our website. You will find the direct link to that page on our site map/index.


Self-talk is another way to deal with stress and weight gain.

"Morning Pages"

The "morning pages" technique is an excellent way to flush ineffective thoughts.

If that might interest you, see the Behavioral Weight Loss Tips page of our website. You will find the direct link to that page listed on our site map index.

Furthermore, there are other relief techniques available to you that are worth investigating if you are still struggling:

Biofeedback and Hypnotherapy.

They work well for some people.

The key to improving the way that you deal with life is to take more control of your life by assuming greater responsibility for your "internal" and "external" environments.

Lasting freedom is the reward for disciplining yourself to do that.

It is difficult. However, not only is it possible but also it is intrinsically rewarding (since the more control we have the happier we are).

There is a way to live well and, furthermore, you can do it. Please verify that for yourself.

Web pages to help you further

To further your understanding about stress and weight gain, in the psychology section of our website we have the following pages:

  • 1. Psychology for Weight Loss (main page)
  • 2. Emotional Eating: How to Cure It
  • 3. Meditation for Weight Loss and Tranquility
  • 4. Meditation Techniques
  • 5. Releasing a Psychological Trap
  • 6. How to Build Self-Esteem
  • 7. Overcoming Obstacles to Weight Loss
  • 8. Breathing Exercises
  • 9. Visualization for Weight Loss
  • 10. Behavioral Weight Loss
  • 11. Commitment and Weight Loss
  • 12. Goal Setting for Weight Loss
  • 13. Learning for Weight Loss
  • 14. Positive Attitude and Achievement
  • 15. Stress and Weight Gain (this page)

You will find the direct links to those pages on our site map/index.

Meanwhile, here are two of those pages to get you started:

Sleep Better


Recommended books for stress and weight gain

If you gained useful information from the stress and weight gain page and would like further reading about how to deal with tension, here are four initial book suggestions

  • Tolle's The Power of NOW
  • Tolle's A New Earth
  • Bradford's How to Survive College Emotionally
  • Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson's Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Dr. Mark's Minute - Stress and Weight Gain

Link to the YouTube video above, for those who might want to save it for their YouTube video list

› Stress

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