Calming Your Kinda Crazy

by Christine Lusita | | Lifestyle

Stress Relief without Milkshakes: Yes, It’s Possible!

Situation: Your bipolar boss sweeps into the office, accusing you of being the schmuck- iest assistant since George Costanza. Oh please, not again, you think as she unloads both barrels onto whatever’s left of your self-esteem. FML!

Response: Five minutes and six demands later, she slithers out like the serpent she is; you make tracks to the vending machine.

Situation: Driving home from 11 innings of kid pitch, waaay past your kids’ bedtime, you hit a red light that is longer than menopause. Perfect time for your little one to bite the older one on his throwing arm, and then it’s full-on WWE in the back seat. You fanat- icize hitting the pedal to Mach speed and drop-rolling yourself out of the moving car, butlucky you . . . saved by the green!

Response: At home, quiet and alone at last, you hunt down your kids’ five-month-old Halloween candy, chase Swedish Fish with a shot of Cuervo, and set the alarm for 5:30 a.m. to finish a report. You’re living the dream!

Situation: Grab hold of that soaked worm! Your mother-in-law calls to tell you she and her two sisters, Mary and Mildred, will be arriving for the weekend, and oh dear, didn’t your hubby tell you? Mary’s hip is at it again, so don’t forget she’ll need to sleep in your bed, but that’s okay, right, dear, because even though it’s obvious you’ve put on some weight, you can still fit into the twin bed with the baby (who is 10!).

Response: You blast Rage Against the Machine and drive to McDonalds in lieu of break- ing down completely and buying a pack of smokes.

I don’t know about you, but my blood pressure shot up just reading that. Stress!! And just in case you missed it, I’d like to point out a connection here—actually, more of a weld- ed-steel bond—between Stress and Really Bad Choices. In my many years of coaching, I’ve come to believe that the inability to manage stress is the No. 1 cause of all diet failure. No . . . correction: it’s the cause of all failure. No one has ever had a bingefest because they were having a great day. Our emotions are so complex and difficult to contain in

any given moment that we look for outward coping mechanisms—food, alcohol, online poker, marathon Zappos sessions—to help swallow them down.

Of course, stress is a given. You’re going to have lousy days at work, spousal arguments, soccer practices, traffic delays. What’s not a given is your response. Do you really need Kahlua milkshakes to cope with a rotten day? No! The intent of this chapter is to help you learn to talk yourself off the ledge and drop the Doritos. They’re not here to help!

I know, I know: At a tough moment, a deep breath will never be as satisfying as a Thin Mint. But whatever your stress, whatever your personality, there is an effective strategy to help you keep calm and nutrition on. You’ll learn to observe your emotions, not act them out or drown them in onion dip. You’ll begin to turn your impulsive and irrationalreactions into mindful and practical responses that help you keep your path to achiev- ing your best self. Basically, you’ll learn to lighten up when stress gets really heavy.

This is an excerpt from The Right Fit Formula.