Proactive stress management is vital for staying mentally and physically healthy. High-stress levels can cause elevated blood pressure, poor sleep quality, excessive eating, relationship problems, and a higher susceptibility to other mental health problems, such as depression.
Although stress can play an important role in your life, too much of it can cause many problems. Addressing high-stress levels, especially if they are ongoing, can help reduce the unwanted symptoms of stress. Here are 9 easy ways you can do this yourself!
Regular exercise reduces stress levels and is clinically proven to help keep your blood pressure within normal range. Whether you prefer a high-intensity spinning or low-impact swimming, staying active is a great way to bring down your stress levels and create a more positive mindset.
Exercise can also help you to lose weight, gain extra sleep, and build strength, all of which will enhance your sense of well-being and naturally minimize stress.
Talk about it
Stress can make everything feel bigger and more intense than it really is, which can then impact our responses and social interactions. In fact, when left alone with our thoughts, it is very easy to make matters worse for ourselves, elevating our own stress levels in no time at all.
Talking about the stress with a loved one, friend, or health professional can help you rationalize your experiences. This, in turn, can reduce your stress levels.
Dealing with stress does not need to be tedious. Creative stress-busting activities can be greatly effective as well as great fun! You might decide to paint, draw, write, design, or even get creative behind the kitchen stove! Stress can also be a motivator for creating interesting art. So who knows, perhaps you will become the next Vincent van Gogh!
Creative activities can also encourage social interaction with others. Your local community center might hold life drawing classes or pottery lessons, allowing you to meet others over a mutual interest. Socializing in this way can be highly rewarding and help to reduce stress levels.
Mindfulness can be highly effective when dealing with stress, because it allows your mind to focus on the present, rather than worrying about the future or past.
Mindfulness meditation, as well as guided meditation, has shown to reduce stress levels, but if this feels too formal, you can simply sit quietly for 20 minutes, and focus on your breathing. Another form of mindfulness is yoga, which can also help you to improve your physical strength and endurance.
We punish ourselves too easily. How often do you tell yourself off for burning the dinner or not meeting a deadline? Try to reward yourself for the achievements in life, however small to help reduce your stress levels.
Do something kind for yourself each day, like taking a bubble bath or meeting a friend for coffee. Small steps can make a world of difference to your mental and physical well-being.
Stress can be made worse by noise and chaotic environments. That is why it is crucial you allow your mind to settle with some scheduled alone time. Whether you sit and read a book in bed for half an hour or go for a walk to your local market, it can be refreshing to be alone with your thoughts.
This is especially important if you are a parent, because often parents do not get time away from their children until bedtime. And even then, the nights can be regularly disturbed by stressful situations like a baby crying or a sick child. Having half an hour during the day to be alone and unwind is vital for good stress management.
Time with friends
Conversely, large quantities of isolation could increase your stress levels because you’re not letting off enough steam. Friends can help us to reflect on the drama in our lives and manage some of the associated feelings, which is why spending time with others can help to reduce stress levels. Plus, the medicinal effects of laughter cannot be understated. Why not take your closest friends to karaoke or bingo for the night? You may be surprised at how relaxed you feel by the end of it.
Get some sleep
Sleep plays a significant role in stress management. Too little sleep can increase stress levels, which in turn can cause even more insomnia. This vicious cycle can be broken, so long as you make a conscious effort to practice good sleeping habits.
Try going to bed at the same time each night, avoid caffeine after midday, and turn off any electronic distractions an hour before bedtime to help settle your mind. Also, having a clean and tidy bedroom can help create a sanctuary for your stressed-out mind.
Ask for help
If your stress levels remain high after trying to implement better self-care practices, it might be time to ask for some help. There is no shame in reaching out to someone else when you are feeling stressed.
A healthcare professional with expertise in behavioral therapies can help you to manage your stress levels and feel physically and mentally more relaxed.
For more information
Do not let stress control your life. For more information, contact KentuckyCare at 866-810-7602 to speak with a healthcare professional.