01/26/2016 12:12 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 05:12 EST

Shed Dangerous Body Fat By De-Stressing

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Pretty smiling young female relaxing in living room

The holiday season may already be a fast-fading memory. But for some of us, our jiggly waistlines are an unfortunate reminder of how much we over-indulged on yummy Christmas foods.

However, there's a simple and fairly effortless remedy: You can shed body fat and keep it off by making a habit of de-stressing more often.

In fact, learning to chill out more often is as important for your midsection as it is for your mind. This isn't just about looking good in swimming trunks. Believe it or not, it's also about staying disease-free. Just realize that there's a strong correlation between stress and an accumulation of dangerous 'visceral' abdominal fat, according to studies.

This unseen type of flab accumulates deep inside your abdomen, even enveloping your internal organs. And it can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, according to medical studies. But if you manage your stress load better and stay trim, you won't be burdened by this especially dangerous type of body fat.

Anything that helps you forget about your daily worries can make a positive difference.

Furthermore, meditation can be a powerful tool for learning to relax more deeply. It has been scientifically proven to promote blood flow to the parts of the brain that regulate feelings of well-being. So too does it lower blood pressure.

Meditation can also normalize an accelerated heart rate -- a condition that can be caused by high cortisol levels. All told, as little as ten minutes of meditation in the morning or at night (or both) will make a positive difference in each of these different ways.

However, there are many other ways to unburden your mind and achieve similar health benefits to meditation. Anything that helps you forget about your daily worries can make a positive difference.

For instance, try listening to some relaxing music with your eyes closed while seated in a comfortable armchair. Or play with your pet -- for a few minutes, not just a few seconds. (If you don't have one, consider adopting a rescue cat or dog.)

Go for a brisk walk, preferably in the company of a pet dog. Watch a funny TV show or movie -- something that's guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Have a massage. Do some yoga. Enjoy a drink with good friends. Take a nap. Soak in a hot bath.

Whatever it takes, give your mind permission to take a break from negative thoughts -- at least for a short while.

If all else fails, ask yourself the following question: Will what's stressing me today still bother me in ten years time? In other words, will I look back and still be upset by today's events? If not, then it's probably not that big of a problem in the grand scheme of things.

Keep this in mind the next time you let yourself get worked up over something trivial, like a parking ticket or an annoying remark that someone made.

In closing, try to remember to not allow unimportant daily stresses to stand between you and a flat belly, as well as a relaxed, positive attitude, and an abundance of good health.

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100 Ways To De-Stress