Psychology defines stress as being under heavy pressure. Said pressure can be very different for each person, and different people may have a different perspective on these pressures. Whether it has a typical or a unique source or trigger, it is essential to remember that stress is stress. It can directly impact your mental health, so it is vital to learn how to manage it.
There are several means on how you can manage your stress. One of the best ways to manage stress is to avoid it in the first place. Stay away from the things that bring you stress—be it people, things, places, situations, or anything else. But sometimes, keeping yourself away from these stress activators can be unavoidable. Certain circumstances may make us unable to evade stress and put us under pressure. Here are five ways on how you can manage stress for better mental health.
Indulging in physical activities can help manage your stress. One of the best physical activity that helps in stress management is exercise. Living a lifestyle with an active exercise routine can immensely help not only your physical well-being but also your mental well-being. According to Michael Otto, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Boston University, “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong.Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.”
There is a lot of exercises you can try—be it indoor or outdoor. Find the perfect workout routine for you to get your blood running and help manage your stress. Do not forget that eating healthy goes hand in hand with maintaining a workout routine. Just like exercising, eating healthy also has beneficial effects on your mental health.
Start A New Hobby
Challenge your brain by trying out something you have never done before. Hobbies are an effective way to relax and unwind your mind. Stimulating your mind with hobbies can help in improving brain functions and lead to overall better mental health. There are also a variety of hobbies you can choose from—gardening, writing, reading, painting, and more. You can also try out hobbies that will increase your social interaction such as volunteering, joining a club, and getting into your local choir, among others. Search for the hobby that is a perfect fit for your interests. “If you’ve ever lost yourself in a sport, art project, or other challenging, absorbing activity, you’ve experienced flow. Time flies, self-consciousness disappears, and you are fully immersed in the activity at hand. Hobbies, especially those that stretch our skills, foster this desirable and increasingly elusive state,” explains Jaime L.Kurtz, Ph.D.
Be With Nature
Sometimes all the noise and pollution can be the cause of your stress. One great way to de-stress from your stressful environment is by going away from it and being with nature.
As explained by Mardie Townsend, PhD, an honorary professor at the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Australia,“there is mounting evidence that contact with nature has significant positive impacts on mental health. “It is associated with reduced levels of stress — which also has huge ramifications for physical health, reduced levels of depression and anxiety, increased resilience, increased engagement with learning for children and adolescents otherwise disengaged from the education system, improved self-esteem and increased capacity to engage socially.”
You can visit an eco-park and go cycling or take a long walk. Relax and unwind by taking time off the stressful environment you are in. The peace you can find from nature can be a great help in reducing your stress. Exposure to outdoor landscapes can reduce negative feelings, such as anger and fear. It can also lead you to better physical well-being.
Have A Relaxation Routine
If you don’t have the time to be with nature or are unable to, another great way to manage stress is to have your relaxation routine. It can be in the form of yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation, among others. These activities can significantly help in reducing your stress and put you in a relaxed state. Being under stress can cause your body to tense. Having a relaxation routine you can do anytime and anywhere is an effective way to relieve your body of stress immediately.
Stay In Touch
Having meaningful connections with people is vital for a healthy state of mind. We are social beings, after all. Being with people who affect your life positively is very beneficial. Keeping in touch with your family and friends can help de-stress you after a long day. Keep in mind that these people are your support group, and they will be there for you in difficult times.
You can also try socializing with new people. You don’t have to aim for developing a deep friendship immediately. You can try simple socializing such as smiling at other people, having a short conversation with the person next to you, or having friendly banter with the cashier.
Have A Me Time Or No Kids Hour
Being a parent can be stressful. Taking care of your kids 24/7 can take a toll on your mental health. That is why you need to have me time or time alone with your partner without the kids. You deserve a break and your partner probably misses you more than you ever know. Take time off for a date night or just chilling on the couch without the kids.
These are just six out of countless ways you can practice to manage your stress. When putting these tips into action, keep in mind consistency is critical. Having better mental health does not magically happen overnight. Healthy well-being takes time to develop.