How to Beat Holiday Stress, Sadness, and Weight Gain

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Dr. Bradley Nelson, author of the bestselling book “The Emotion Code,” has lectured internationally on the natural healing of chronic illness; as a holistic chiropractic physician, he’s successfully treated patients from across the US and Canada for more than 20 years. Here are few of his practical steps for people to experience holidays with more joy, less sadness, and better physical and emotional health:

Choose Foods to Fight Depression, Anxiety, and Weight Gain: “Eat foods that are as close to nature as possible,” Dr. Nelson advises. “Fill up first on things that are good for you. Eat vegetables, have a good salad, so by the time the gravy and candied yams are there you can eat smaller amounts.”

What Not to Eat: Avoid foods with long lists of ingredients. “This applies in general not to just the holidays. Any food that has a label that has to explain to you what is in it is probably not something you want,” he explains.

Talk More, Eat Slower: When you go out to eat with friends, come prepared with stories to tell so you’re talking more, and as a result, eating more slowly.

Drink Up! (Water, not Alcohol): Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding excess eating and helps cleanse impurities from your body for better physical, emotional, and mental health.

Listen to Your Body (and Say “No” When Necessary):  Don’t volunteer to take on additional tasks if it interferes with your health, your family, or your stress level – it won’t be worth it.

List Your Blessings: “People suffering from depression tend to be focusing on the negative things in their lives rather than counting their blessings. One of the most important things you can do is to make a list every day of the things in your life that are actually good.”

Take a Breather: If you find people you are with are making you feel stressed out, go outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air.

Move to Beat Depression and Stress: Exercise as simple as getting outside and walking is the natural, drug-free way to combat depression. Moving your body throughout the day burns away stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that can otherwise linger in your system for up to 24 hours, damaging your immune system and organs. “The secret reason exercise is so good for you is exercise burns those hormones out of the blood and prolongs your existence on the planet,” he says.

Discover and Release Emotional Baggage: People can free themselves of a major underlying cause of anxiety, depression, panic attacks, phobias, and other forms of mental illness by learning to release trapped emotions, Dr. Nelson says. Instructions are available for free at

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