One of the most common forms of mental health and big social issues being faced in our modern world is “Stress”.
While awaiting a more comprehensive coverage of this subject, below are a few Ways to deal with Stress.
“Exercise has great mental health benefits, helping to reduce tension, boost your mood and improve your sleep.”
These five “self-help” exercises are proven ways to deal with stress, that come at no cost but with surprising benefits.
- Sweat it out
Celebrity trainer Bill Phillips was right on when he said: “Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug and exercise is the most potent, yet under-utilised antidepressant.” Research shows that exercise has great mental health benefits, helping to reduce tension, improve alertness and concentration, decrease levels of stress hormones, boost your mood and improve your sleep.
So when the stress-odometer starts rising, try heading out for a run or brisk walk to release some tension, or calm yourself with slower and more meditative exercise like tai chi, qui gong, or yoga. And to cope better with stress every day, factor exercise regularly into your week.
- Hit the pause button
When we’re stressed we can get caught up in the ways things have played out in the past or catastrophize about what the future holds. The best place to be is here, in the present, and the best way to refocus to the “here and now” is to practise mindfulness.
Take a moment to focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose, fill up your abdomen, hold it for a few seconds and breathe out through your mouth. As you repeat this pattern start relaxing your tensed muscles, your clenched jaw and hunched shoulders – become aware of where you’re holding your tension and let go.
You can also get creative with mindfulness – colouring in for example is another great way to de-stress.
- Break it down
Feeling overwhelmed? Forget the finish line – break down the task at hand into bite size pieces and focus only on completing each step, one at a time. Develop a small Action Plan of “little steps” towards attending to taking your mind off what is stressing you out or towards attending to that which is stressing you out.
- Flip your self-talk
When you’ve had a demanding day, it is easy to believe negative self-talk about your abilities. Interrupt the internal barrage and focus on your strengths instead. Make a list of all the things you are good at, and all the things you are grateful for. It helps put all your stresses back into perspective.
- Take it outside
Eco-therapy (also called nature therapy) encourages us to spend more time outdoors to relieve stress and ease anxiety. Finding just five minutes of green time each day can benefit your mood, and well as giving you the opportunity to practice mindfulness and top up your Vitamin D (with a bit of sunshine). Outside there are other people to experience, to join and to share your feelings (of stress).
Life is going to challenge you. Next time you need some help coping, step away from the fridge, the TV, gambling, drugs, etc. and try these positive and more effective ways to manage stress.
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