A few Fridays ago my guts were tied up in knots. It had been a busy week and I had company landing in for the weekend.

My stomach and chest felt painfully tight. It was similar to how you’d feel before going for a big job interview or before a public speaking gig.

I tried going for a short walk and doing some conscious breathing but nothing seemed to be working.


I know these feelings well (as do most people, I suspect) and it always happens when I drop the stress ball.

Since I felt pressed for time, I was really tempted to use booze as my de-stressor (not one of my prouder moments).

Brandy or bourbon both work well at loosening the knot for me, and they work fast!

Don’t get me wrong, I love wine and an occasional glass of brandy after a delicious meal when it’s part of a healthy, social context.

But turning to alcohol to relieve my stress is a slippery slope. Alcoholism doesn’t just run in my family, it gallops.


I decided to practice what I preach.

I excused myself, closed the living room door, stuck in my earbuds and sat down with a guided meditation.

It took a full 25 minutes to completely dissolve the knot, but it worked. And I don’t think my guests even noticed I was gone.

My takeaway: don’t let the stress build up to the point where my guts feels like they’re about to split.

I know that when I manage my stress incrementally, in small chunks throughout the day and week, it doesn’t get to the point where I’m desperate for relief.

For me this means:
regular short meditations,
pausing between tasks,
less multi-tasking,
walking, yoga or running,
hanging out in nature,
staying off social median (post and ghost),
getting to bed early,
mindful anything (eating mindfully, brushing my teeth mindfully, showering mindfully, walking mindfully…)
basically, anything that allows me to slow the hamster wheel and be a bit more present.

I never manage all of the things, but remembering to do some of them, helps.

It’s a work in progress.

Here’s the meditation that helped me unwind my guts on that particular Friday.

If you don’t like it, find one that works for you. Here is a great free resource

Where do you feel stress in your body?

If you’re serious about losing weight and your pattern is to turn to food when the tension gets high, learning to manage your stress is going to be foundational.

Share this with someone you love.