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Make Your Waist Smaller with This 30-Second Habit

Medically reviewed in August 2019

Few things plant the waist-widening TV remote more firmly in our hands than the need to destress. But here's a healthier way to let go of it all: Just breathe deeply.

It takes only about 30 seconds to do it right, and a quick and easy stress reduction strategy like this is critical to your waistline -- especially given a recent study on job stress and weight gain. In the study, workers who were super stressed tended to have bigger bellies than their peers who were more at ease.

Pound-Packing Stress Relief?
It's not that stress in and of itself causes waistlines to expand; it's how people deal with the stress that makes them fat. Researchers suspect the difference in weight was more likely due to the unhealthy coping mechanisms the stressed-out folks used -- like vegging in front of the TV, skipping that afternoon walk, and dipping into a pint of double fudge ice cream for cold comfort when they got home.

Chill Out to Slim Down
Still, stress itself may do some damage as well. In fact, other research has found that chronic stress can increase the production of cortisol -- an anxiety hormone that facilitates the storage of belly fat and may boost cravings for high-calorie snacks. The good news? You can put stress to bed with just 30 seconds of deep breathing.

And if deep breathing isn't your thing, there are other techniques to give stress the pink slip.

For job burnout, try this age-old remedy.

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