The relationship between physical health and mental health is evident. Taking care of your physical health can benefit your mental health and relieve stress – and the reverse is true as well. For this reason, building healthy habits for stress management is an achievable, feel-good way you can improve your overall health.
Reasons to reduce stress
Increased stress can take a serious toll on your body, causing a variety of negative outcomes, including anxiety and depression, headaches and body aches, sleep problems, stomach upset, weight gain, trouble concentrating and even life-threatening heart issues.
How you cope with stress is unique to your personality, whether you’re high-strung or know how to roll with the punches. If you are in the former camp, it’s a good idea to learn how to reduce stress with some simple stress management techniques.
Healthy habits for stress management
Care for your body. As we said, taking care of your physical health can help you feel less stressed. Replace foods that are high in saturated fats and sugars with more nutritious options, get moving for 20 – 30 minutes most days of the week, and establish a good sleep routine. If you smoke, make a point to quit. Cut back on excess alcohol and caffeine as well.
Be intentional about relaxation and enjoyment. This can be as simple as taking time to sit in a quiet place and not doing anything. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are also great strategies for dealing with stress. Getting a massage can also help with stress relief. Reading a good book, watching a funny movie, or listening to beautiful music can help relieve stress as well.
Find outlets for stress. Sitting down regularly to write in a journal or simply engage with hobbies you enjoy are effective ways to reduce stress, helping you shift your energy toward positive activities and away from any anxiety.
Connect with others. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, too much alone time can cause depression and feelings of isolation. Make time to connect with loved ones and put in the work to create healthy relationships with them – for them and for you.
Disconnect from harmful influences. From relationships with toxic people to media that uses fear mongering to build an audience, there are many ways our lives can be filled with harmful influences. Working to improve those relationships or distance ourselves from them, and opting for more positive entertainment and fact-based news can relieve stress and help you create a more positive outlook on life.
Do good for others. Whether you volunteer for a favorite charitable cause or make a point to complete small acts of kindness for loved ones or random strangers, doing good works can help lift your spirits and reduce stress.
Learn when to say no. If you take on too many tasks at work or at home, stress is bound to build up. Put yourself first from time to time, prioritize your tasks, and just say no when enough is enough.
Get professional help. A licensed therapist can help you learn stress management strategies and coping skills for long-term stress relief.
Taking care of you
Above all, go easy on yourself. Creating healthy habits takes work, so don’t feel like you have to tackle all of these strategies at once. Go slowly but steadily toward making progress, while forgiving yourself for setbacks, and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
At Laredo Emergency Room, we know what stress can do to a patient’s health. After all, we treat medical emergencies that can be caused by stress – such as heart attacks. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, we encourage you to adopt these healthy stress management habits to better enjoy your life and stay out of the emergency room.
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