Managing our stress is a vital component to lasting health, long life, happiness, and fat loss. Recent studies have shown that approximately 40 percent of all North Americans suffer from stress-related adverse health effects. In addition, up to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related complaints or disorders. Stress has been linked to every leading cause of death, including cancer, heart disease, accidental death, cirrhosis, and suicide. Stress is also a major contributor to workplace absenteeism and decreased productivity. Studies have found that the most common health risk and major contributor of weight gain for obese people is stress. This is because obese people secrete more cortisol than people of an optimal weight, and cortisol activates fat-storage enzymes, which perpetuate their obesity.

However, stress is normal and each one of us experiences varying degrees of stress every day. Stress comes in many different forms. Some stressors, such as running late because of traffic, are relatively minor, while major, life-transforming events such as death, divorce, or the failure of a business can have a very significant effect upon our bodies and our minds. Trying to avoid stress completely is not realistic, nor is it advantageous. 

In fact, stress is an important part of everyday life. It is not possible to achieve positive adaptations and growth in any area of your life (physically or emotionally) without some form of stress to prompt them.

Exercise, for example, is a form of stress on the body. When done correctly and in the right amounts, it produces very beneficial outcomes. However, when done incorrectly or for prolonged periods of time, injury can result. What you want to avoid is excessive and continuous stress.

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