At some point or another, we can all feel stressed out. It’s not a great feeling, but did you know it can also contribute to other health problems? It’s true! Our mental health, including the amount of stress we experience, can contribute to physical health problems like high blood pressure (hypertension), headaches and migraines, skin problems, and many others.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can relieve your stress and minimize the harmful health effects it can cause. We’ve detailed five of the easiest ways to do this below:
Identify the triggers that cause you stress. Try thinking about some of the things that stress you out. Can they be avoided? While you can’t prevent all stress, like that which comes with the business of daily life, it can be helpful to identify the triggers that cause you stress and determine if they can be minimized or avoided altogether.
Exercise. This is a great way to help reduce stress and increase the release of endorphins, a chemical in your brain responsible for happiness. And you don’t have to go to a gym regularly or take-up a new sport to reap the health benefits of exercise. Going on a walk, practicing yoga, or doing some push-ups can go a long way. If exercise isn’t your thing, you can also try making small changes that will help you move around a bit more, such as parking further away from entrances in the parking lot or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Minimize your phone and screen time. Research has shown that too much time spent on our cellphones and other digital devices can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. Try setting limits on the amount of time you spend on your phone or watching tv. You’ll likely find that you will sleep better, have more quality in-person interactions, and feel less prone to comparing yourself to others you see online, all of which can help you feel less stressed.
Reduce your caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco intake. While it may seem like these products make you feel less stress, the reality is they often contribute to heightened stress because they each can contribute to negative physiological effects on the body. These substances also tend to be highly addictive, which in turn can contribute to additional stress and lead to other negative health issues.
Try meditation or mindfulness practices. There are numerous mindfulness and meditation exercises you can practice to relieve stress, and many only require a few minutes each day. One example is practicing a deep breathing exercise, such as breathing in (e.g., to a count of five), hold, and then breathe out for up to twice as long (e.g., to a count of eight or ten). Another popular option is the body scan, a thoughtful practice where participants can mindfully “scan” their body for any feelings of pain, tension, or anything else that is out of the ordinary, while also allowing their mind to wander freely.
If you or someone you know needs support for physical, mental, or social well-being, Wayspring may be able to help! Use our 5-question member eligibility tool to find if you’re eligible to enroll today!