Now, I’m about to begin writing about a topic I don’t (yet) practice myself; but I plan to start.

We are bombarded daily with stress and demands. This stress not only raises cortisol and decreases our ability to lose fat, but it increases our desire for soothing (carbohydrate) foods and snacks.

Of all the things we face in the office that sabotage people’s efforts to lose weight, stress, fatigue and pain are top of the list. I’ve always looked at ways to reduce stress and for myself, I’ve always used exercise. However, as you know, I’m a regular listener of Tim Ferris’ podcasts (who wrote ‘Tool of Titans’, the ‘Four Hour Body’, the ‘Four Hour Work Week’, and now has just released the ‘Tribe of Mentors’). I like it so much because he isn’t discussing his ways of learning, exercise, or productivity, but he interviews successful people from all walks of life to find out their daily routines and what they do to stay fit, stay lean, and stop procrastinating.

Almost 100% of the people he interviews use daily mediation as a tool to ground themselves in each of their busy lives. Universally, they find it lowers stress, decreases anxiety, improves focus, and generally helps them maintain a sense of calm in their personal life.

Disclaimer; I do not mediate. I always felt it wouldn’t work for me, or it would just become one more thing I ‘have to do’ in a day filled with other things ‘I have to do”. After listening to so many very busy people using this, I feel it is something that I need to learn.

Humbly, the best I can do is offer Tim’s favourite apps to learn how to begin the process. The first is called “Headspace” the second is called “Calm”. I suspect for all of us, to learn some basic tools we could use 10 minutes per day might, in the long term, be very effective to lower stress and help decrease food cravings, and bring more focus in our demanding lives.

In the winter, we have fewer hours of daylight, and coming home in the dark at 4.30 is not always the happiest thing in the world. We know how effective UV therapy lights can be for those who suffer seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but would light therapy also be effective in raising serotonin and decreasing cravings?

It might be worthwhile for some people to look at a UV light, to be used 30 minutes per day. It could be placed somewhere on your desk while you work. I know for SAD they would recommend morning time, but I wonder if early evening might help with cravings, so long as it didn’t disrupt sleep. This time of year is so difficult for most, with the long evenings and the desire to snack through till bedtime.

If you are up for a challenge (and I am!) then have a look at the idea of meditation. Also, if this time of year is difficult, then possibly a light therapy ‘box’ might be worth a try also.

Do your best, keep on trying, more importantly, keep on trying to find out what works for you, or possibly what is holding you back.

You can do it. Just never give up trying.

Dr. Doug