Cortisol is known as "the stress hormone" because it's released in the bloodstream when you feel stressed. Cortisol raises your insulin level which makes you store fat, especially around your midsection (the least healthy place to store it).
Cortisol also stimulates your appetite, especially for sweet and starchy foods, which makes you take in more calories.
This is how stress and bad moods can contribute to weight gain. The antidote is to lower your stress level, and the most enjoyable way to lower stress is to raise your mood.
The more often you're in a good mood, the lower your daily cortisol level will be, and that will help you lose weight and stay slim.
Below are three quick and easy ways to raise your mood (each link goes to an article). Use these tools often:
1. Behave your way into a better mood.
2. Ask yourself one easy question.
3. Become less certain about something.
Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot.