How to Manage Stress and Improve Mental Health

How to Manage Stress and Improve Mental Health

Managing stress and improving mental health is an important part of your overall health. It can help you cope with everyday life, work and relationships.

Identify what causes stress in your life. Try to avoid sources of stress or limit them. If your coping strategies are not working, talk to a doctor.

1. Take a break

Taking a break from your regular routine and switching up your activities is an easy and effective way to relax. You can try things like meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi.

Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly also increase your resilience to stress. You can also learn to say no and delegate responsibilities to others. If you still feel overwhelmed, talk to your GP.

2. Go for a walk

Research shows that walking and other physical activity are great stress-busters. You don’t need a gym membership to get the benefits of exercise, just find a rhythmic activity you enjoy (think walking, cycling, swimming, dancing) and do it every day.

Having a network of supportive friends can also help reduce stress. Be sure to reach out and talk to your friends often.

3. Listen to music

Music helps to lift your mood and slow your breathing, making it a great stress-management tool. Plus, it can help you connect with others.

Researchers have found that listening to melodies with a beat of 60 beats per minute causes the mind to synchronize with the rhythm causing alpha brain waves, which are present when we’re in a state of conscious relaxation and calm.

4. Go for a massage

Massage is a great stress reliever and can be an important part of a mental health treatment plan. It can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Massages stimulate the production of endorphins, hormone neurotransmitters that reduce negative feelings and induce happiness. They also lower cortisol levels in the body and increase serotonin, which helps the individual to feel calmer and more relaxed.

5. Go for a yoga class

Practicing yoga can teach you to accept and detach from your negative thoughts. Yoga can also help you develop the skills to become present and soften in the face of strong, uncomfortable sensations, such as stiffness or tension.

Having a supportive network of friends can also improve your resiliency to stressors. If you can’t manage your stress on your own, consider speaking with a mental health provider.

6. Go for a tai chi class

Tai chi combines martial arts movements with deep breathing, and studies support its mood-boosting effects. A past meta-analysis found that tai chi may also help to maintain healthy cognition as you age.

It’s important to identify the situations or behaviors that stress you out, and then find ways to change them. If you can’t control your stress levels with these tips, talk to a mental health professional.

7. Go for a meditation class

Practicing mindfulness can help you calm down and feel better. You can find meditation groups online or at local yoga or tai chi studios.

Stress is a normal part of life and can even be positive, but too much of it takes a toll on the body. Learn to recognize the signs of stress and how to manage it so that it doesn’t make you sick.

8. Go for a massage

Adding massage therapy to your wellness routine can reduce anxiety, boost moods, and promote relaxation. It can also alleviate stress-related symptoms like muscle and joint pain, headaches, sleeplessness, and fatigue.

Massages have been shown to decrease the frequency of insomnia. This is because they relax the muscles and help you fall asleep faster, which leads to a more restful night’s sleep.

9. Go for a tai chi class

Tai chi, which involves slow dance-like movements and incorporates mental concentration, balance exercises and breathing, has shown mood-boosting benefits in several studies.[20]

Adding gentle movement to your life is important for preserving bone and maintaining strength, flexibility and balance, especially as you age. Toronto Rehab’s LEAP Service YouTube channel has a free series of videos to get you started.

10. Go for a yoga class

Stress isn’t just emotional; it can take a physical toll too. It can lead to body aches, high blood pressure, headaches, and more.

Yoga can be very beneficial for mental health, combining both body and mind. Studies show that yoga can reduce anxiety and improve mood.

It can also help you build and strengthen your social ties, especially in classes where people move and breathe in unison.

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