If you feel as though you’re stressed on a daily basis, try to at least rest assured in the fact you’re not alone. Well over half the US population admits to being overworked and stressed every day. Luckily, there are steps to take to reduce the stressors in your life with some quick and easy mental techniques.
1. Identify the Source of Stress
Often times, when you know the trigger of what is causing your imbalance in your mental health, it is easier to target which areas of your life you need to take control of. Your sources aren’t always too obvious so there are ways that you can track certain feelings and behaviors to distinguish what is causing your stress. Closely look at your habits, attitudes, and excuses for reasons you might be able to control in the long run. Once you figure out your sources of stress, it is easier to determine which activities would work best to calm your nerves and mental feelings.
2. Practice Yoga
Image via Flickr by Jean Henrique Wichinoski
Widely considered the best natural cure for stress, yoga is a mind-body stress reliever that uses stretching exercises in combination with breathing and relaxation to get you to a peaceful mental state. The best part is, yoga is possible from just about anywhere.
So, when you’re pulling your hair out at work or losing your cool taking care of the kids, strike a yoga pose, clear your mind, and relax. Yoga is an alternative medicine practice that uses your body to relax your mind and vice versa – a win-win in the stress battle.
3. Engage in Meditation
When it comes to inner peace, meditation is the go-to mental exercise for relieving stress by beating stressors at their source: your mind. By spending just a few minutes a day meditating, you’ll achieve a heightened state of relaxation. But practice makes perfect.
Meditation takes a little work at first to truly overcome your mental stressors and find inner comfort. The best mindset for meditation isn’t to avoid thinking about stressors, but rather focusing on something that brings you peace like a white sandy beach or quiet meadow.
4. Seek Spirituality
Highly spiritual and religious people are scientifically proven to have less stress and anxiety in their day-to-day lives. Continuous faith-based thought provides daily affirmation to those who worship on a spiritual and religious level.
A great way to achieve a less stressful life is by joining a community church. Pastor Ed Young from the Ed Young Fellowship Church offers insightful, progressive services and conferences meant to enlighten even the most stressed and overworked individual.
5. Make Healthy Choices
By simply choosing a healthier diet during stressful times, your body and mind will benefit from high-fiber, protein rich foods. So, instead of turning to comfort food like ice cream and fried foods, try eating fruits and vegetables to naturally reduce stress.
When you’re particularly stressed, avoiding high fat, high sugar foods could be the difference between naturally coping with stressors or letting them takeover your life. Also, cutting back on caffeine is a great way to improve your sleep patterns, thus improving your mental state and reducing your stress levels.
Exercising regularly will also play a key role in preventing stress. A good level of stress is at least 30 minutes of activity a day. The endorphins you release will make you feel calmer and allow you to let go of the stress and tension you build up throughout the day.
6. Repeat Your Mantra
Although mantras are in the same realm as meditation, they differ in the fact that they’re used as an instantaneous way to reduce stress. So, pick a mantra that’s right for you and repeat it to yourself when times are tough.
Repeating reassuring sayings like, “I’m fine, everything’s fine” will quickly lower your heart rate and calm your nerves. If you can’t come up with a line to repeat, simply humming a stress-reducing tune will put your mind back on the right track.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the easiest ways to relax your brain and relieve stress. Often times you would think too much stress can cause distorted sleep habits. Without enough sleep your body won’t be able to work or communicate properly.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the normal amount of sleep for an average adult is less than seven hours per night. The longer you do sleep, the longer your brain has time to rest leaving you more energetic and alert throughout the day.
8. Keep a Journal
Too much stress can cause you to feel like you need to bottle up your emotions. By doing that you are just increasing your tension levels. What you should look into doing is buying a small journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings will help you release whatever comes to mind. Even if you feel like you can’t talk about it with anyone, this tactic will at least help you let it out on paper.
Once you have calmed down from a stressful encounter or moment, you can look back and reflect on what caused you to have these stress factors.
9. Seek Counseling
After working through each of these activities, you might feel as if you are still mentally drained and exhausted. At this point it is wise to seek a counselor to talk to your problems about. Therapy might also be the best option if you worry excessively and encounter issues in performing your day to day tasks. Advice and therapy on a professional level is the most intense form of stress relief.
Most professional counselors are trained to figure out what is causing the stress in your life and help you find a way to relieve those triggers. Once you understand how to keep your emotional behaviors under control, you will grow out of the therapy and be able to achieve happiness on your own.
Whether it is yoga, therapy, or religion, reducing stress is an important goal in everyone’s life for their personal happiness as well as mental health.