This is a guest post by: Ryan Rivera who often found that stress was causing him severe physical pain. Now he helps others with stress and anxiety help at www.calmclinic.com.
Stress is a mental health issue that is harder to understand than most had initially believed. It’s not as simple as “feeling stressed.” We now know that stress releases hormones, like cortisol, that can damage DNA, squeeze organs, cause memory loss, create back pain, and promote disease. We know that stress can create muscle tension, and that prolonged stress can lead to further mental health issues like anxiety and depression. We know that small amounts of stress are normal, but in many people stress is becoming an out of control problem, and unfortunately these same people are adapting to that stress without realizing how it affects them.
It’s clear that reducing stress is an important part of healthier living. But reducing stress also takes lifestyle changes and a commitment to improving your health and wellness. Below are five effective, easy to implement strategies for reducing your short and long term stress.
Reduce Your Daily Stress
Easily the most important thing to do is start exercising. Exercise burns away stress hormones and releases chemicals inside your brain that are known specifically to improve and regulate your mood. Exercise also tires out your muscles. Many studies have shown that the way you feel physically affects the way you feel mentally, which is why when you tire your muscles, your mind tends to experience less stressful thoughts.
- Deal With Your Pains/Health
Because of this mind and body connection, it’s important you deal with your physical stress as well. Those with aches and pains should consider eating healthier and seeing a chiropractor, because aches and pains causes persistent stress, which in turn can cause mental stress. It’s possible that your body is stressed in ways you may not even realize, and often this can affect your mental health.
- Remain Active
In addition to exercising, you should also do your best to counter one of the more common effects of stress: fatigue. When you’re stressed it’s not uncommon to want to go home after work and do nothing – sit on the couch, watch TV, and mope. But research has shown that social support (spending time with friends and family), being physically active, and “having fun,” are important coping mechanisms for stress. Scheduling activities as often as possible so that you never mope with your stress is an important part of coping.
- Relaxation Techniques
There are also several relaxation exercises that are effective for relieving anxiety. Visualization is a fairly effective one for those that consider themselves imaginative. It’s a technique where you close your eyes and try to stimulate all five of your senses in a location or area that is relaxing to you. The key is to remember every sense – including smell, and even touch. This is what makes visualization more effective than simply pretending to be somewhere else.
Journaling is something that many are told to do in their youth, but few continue when they become adults. Journaling isn’t just a way of letting out thoughts. Journaling actually is advantageous for a variety of reasons. One of the key reasons to journal is to take a thought that’s been on your mind (positive or negative) out of your head and put it on paper. The human brain often focuses on things when it’s worried about forgetting them, so putting it on paper tells your brain it’s okay to stop obsessing. It’s a great tool for getting more sleep when a persistent thought is keeping you awake, and sleep is also an important part of coping with stress.
Improving Your Life By Improving Stress
Stress has a profound effect on your life. That’s why the more you can control your stress, the better your life will be. The above tips are effective, easy ways to reduce your stress, and can help you control the way that stress affects your health and wellness.