Tips to Manage Stress This Stress Awareness Month
We have previously discussed the idea of HOW you deal with stress as a cause of heart disease. In that previous blog post, we mentioned that stress is a normal part of modern-day life and can’t be avoided. Therefore, focusing on understanding what stresses us out and how to mitigate the effects of stress, is the best way to keep our hearts healthy.
So, what are the top five ways to manage stress? Before we get into that question, it is important to understand when you are stressed and what may trigger it. Keeping a journal for a week or two and following your moods, may help you find triggers and prevent stress altogether. You may find that the stress comes from work or home obligations or even from deep rooted emotional concerns that you may need to address. No matter what its cause, it’s important to accept that it exists and understand why it exists.
Now that you know a little bit more about why you get stressed out, it may be easier to follow these tips to managing your stress.
Exercise is great for stress relief. It releases endorphins which make us happy and reduce pain throughout the body. Consider it an all-natural painkiller. Exercise also improves our fitness and muscle tone which in turn can make a big difference in our cardiovascular health and overall health. Stress is often part of a downward spiral causing physical and emotional difficulties. Then, the physical and emotional difficulties make us stressed stress. Exercise can break this cycle.
Mindfulness and Meditation
You might think that mindfulness – being aware and present – and meditation are laughable, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, mindfulness and meditation are key parts of mental health. Being mindful or present helps mitigate stressful thoughts that can easily get out of control and set you up for a stressful day. Whether it’s a difficult boss, an urgent work project or truly anything else, being mindful of your situation can help if your mind wanders to the worst-case scenario. Meditation is helpful in grounding us and achieving mindfulness. Dealing with our concerns, whether rational or irrational, can be achieved with some meditation and self-care.
Find Your Hobby
Finding something that you really enjoy, but don’t have the stress of making money on, is a great way to melt away the stress. When we are concerned about work, home life or finances it can often be difficult to focus on other things. However, if you have a true passion, make a hobby out of it and pursue it. This allows you to create joy for others or give yourself satisfaction that you may miss out on otherwise.
Cooking, Diet and Sleep
When you’re stressed, it is particularly difficult to get the appropriate amount of sleep, but even losing an hour or two each night can have profound consequences on your stress levels and on just about every other bodily function. We should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every day, but most of us don’t. The result is over tiredness and an inability to focus and be productive. This leads to, you guessed it, stress.
Seek Professional Help
There is often a stigma associated with mental health treatment. Many people believe that going to a therapist means they are admitting they have a problem or are crazy. This is not true. We have all experienced events and stressors in our lives that slowly chip away at our mental health. Having a problem just means we are normal. However, sometimes, the family and friends around us cannot adequately help us deal with those concerns. Speaking to a mental health professional about your stress or even working with a life coach can be very helpful in understanding where you are and, ultimately, where you need to be.
So, for this month of stress awareness, we hope that you take your stress concerns into your own hands and push forward toward a happier, healthier you.