Stress can have serious effects on a person's life, eroding their sense of calm, impacting their mental health, and even leading to physical ailments like cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal issues. That’s why it’s essential to be proactive in managing your stress levels. Below are four tips to help in this process.
4 Ways to Reduce Stress
1. Talk About It
Sometimes, just talking about what's distressing you is enough to overcome stress. Set aside time to talk to someone you trust, whether that’s a family member, friend, or colleague. Stress is an issue everyone has dealt with at one time or another, so your confidante will likely be able to relate and offer support.
Laughter counteracts the stress response by lowering heart rate and blood pressure, stimulating circulation, and easing muscle tension. Watch a funny movie, TV show, or online video, call a friend who always makes you laugh, or play with a pet to cheer yourself up.
Mindfulness meditation alleviates stress through the process of detaching from one's thoughts and watching them come and go. This approach defuses much of the intensity and discomfort that accompany stressful events and helps restore equilibrium.
A number of smartphone apps and online videos can guide you through mindfulness meditations. Most involve sitting quietly, focusing on the in and out of your breathing, and letting thoughts arise and fade away. You’ll mentally acknowledge your worries as an observer, not a participant.
4. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
For effective stress management, looking after your physical health is just as important as looking after your mental health. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. Do some type of cardiovascular exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids—like salmon, tuna, flax seeds, and walnuts—which have been shown to reduce stress.
If stress has led to depression, addiction, or other mental health issues, seek professional support at Daymark Recovery Services in Lexington. Serving all of North Carolina since 2004, they offer a variety of counseling and treatment solutions designed for the unique needs of the client, with a focus on wellness and empowerment. Call (336) 242-2450 to schedule an appointment, or visit them online for more information on their range of services.