STRESS. We all have it, but what is it costing us? Whether it’s caused by happy or sad events, stress has been blamed for many ailments, including heart disease, stroke, ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure, migraines, rashes, depression, obesity, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, and insomnia.

If you are an emotional eater, you know too well that stress is the biggest culprit for a binge. Whether it comes in the form of anxiety, fear or sheer overwhelm, when you get stressed, like Pavlov’s dog, you reach for food.

In order to change this lifelong reaction to stress, here are 5 quick, natural stress busters you can use today and anytime. The great news is that they don’t require an appointment with, or prescription from any doctor or psychologist. They are at your disposal, at any time, and most importantly, THEY WORK! Give yourself the gift you deserve of practicing at least one a day.

1. Have a good cry
Tears may help relieve stress by ridding the body of potentially harmful chemicals produced in times of stress. It also always makes you feel better! It relieves stress and tension and helps you purge bottled up feelings and pain. It’s a healthy thing to do, so don’t apologize for crying.

2. Learn to pray
Don’t just recite words you know by heart. Construct your own prayers. Talk to God like you would a caring friend. Express your fears, concerns, and troubles. And ask for help with all of it. Ask for guidance, wisdom, strength, clarity and peacefulness. You will feel better.

3. Talk it out
Say what you mean, mean what you say…and don’t say it mean! The biggest cause of stress in any relationship is lack of communication and misunderstanding. Don’t keep things bottled inside until you blow up. Learn to talk about your concerns, without blaming, and seek a common, workable solution.

4. Have some fun
Do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time but haven’t felt like you had the time. Set time aside NOW. If not now, when? You deserve to have fun, and recreation allows you to transfer your stressed state into other areas away from yourself. Make a point to have recreation especially after a time of intense pressure and stress. It’s a health thing…so try it!

5. Take a walk
It’s easy, it’s good for your body, it’s something you can do at any time of the day, and it’s free! Not only that, but it clears your mind of stress and worry, and reconnects you with the outdoors. Be sure to smile and say hello to passersby—that will boost your spirits even more.

When you are relaxed, you are much less compelled to turn to food to settle you down. Try one of these stress-busters before turning to mindless overeating. As a reminder, write each one on a sticky note and post it where you’ll see it; on a mirror, your car dashboard, ON THE REFRIGERATOR! Practice at least one a day and see if you don’t “de-stress and eat less”!

Author's Bio: 

Having lost 50 lbs. through identifying and addressing the underlying causes of her emotional eating, Tricia Greaves founded Heal Your Hunger an online resource which offers hope and healing for emotional eaters worldwide. Tricia is also the director of The Greaves Foundation for those with nowhere else to turn for help with eating disorders, obesity and addictions. Tricia is the author of many articles on emotional eating, eating disorders, healthy weight loss and addictions. She is also the contributing author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and the popular Thank God I book series in which she writes a chapter called, “Thank God I Was Fat.” To learn more and to register for your free “HYH JumpStart Kit,” visit