Multiple studies have revealed that there is an undeniable nexus that exists between stress and poor physical or mental health.
Many physicians and mental health professionals will agree that some stress is unavoidable and is a natural part of life for many people. However, chronic stress is another story altogether.
Types of Stress
Low-level stress fuels adrenaline and lets you react quickly in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, stress levels that remain too high, also referred to as chronic stress, could trigger the following:
- Heart attacks
- Heart palpitation
- High blood glucose levels
- Rapid breathing
- Stomach aches
- A weakened immune system
Indeed, too much stress in your life can have a profound impact on both your physical and mental state. That said, managing stress can go a long way toward promoting homeostasis. Additionally, it will help you become both physically and mentally healthier.
Focusing on Your Mental Health
Not surprisingly, the events in our lives and, to an extent, societal problems can quickly take a toll on our mental health. They could send your stress levels spiraling out of control, which, in turn, impacts your physical health. Fortunately, there are things that we can all do to take care of our mental health and maintain our sanity.
According to a study published by the University of Michigan’s University Health Service, some of these things include the following:
Taking Care of Your Body
For those who are unaware, taking care of your body is an excellent way to go about keeping stress and even some mental health problems at bay.
A study published by Mental Health America noted that regular exercise, for example, can help boost self-esteem and self-confidence. More than that, it can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. And while it probably goes without saying, leading a physically active lifestyle can also lower the risk of developing various health problems, such as joint and cardiovascular disease.
Additional ways to take care of your mental and physical health include:
- Consuming a well-balanced diet
- Not smoking
- Staying hydrated
It is also worth noting that getting a good night’s rest can go a long way towards safeguarding or even improving your mental health. The National Institutes of Health, the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research in the United States, has published many studies regarding this. One study showed that lack of sleep was a contributing factor when it came to the high rate of depression among college students across America.
Finding Ways to Quiet Your Mind
Ruminating thoughts can sometimes usher in a wave of unpleasant feelings. These typically consist of depression, anxiety, stress, and, in some cases, feelings of impending doom.
That said, relaxation exercises can help quiet an overactive mind and also promote a sense of calm. Some of these exercises include practicing mindfulness, meditating, and even praying. While we are on the topic, several studies show that meditating, for example, can enhance the effects of psychotherapy for some individuals.
Surrounding Yourself With Positive People
We have all, at one time or another, heard the term “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Well, it works the other way around as well. Studies show that individuals that have a strong, supportive family are less likely to feel stressed, depressed, or anxious. The same was also found to be true among those who surrounded themselves with positive friends.
Learning to Laugh More
Similar to smiling, laughing is good for the mind, body, and soul. A recent study noted that those who laughed more often were not only less stressed but also spent more time feeling happy. More importantly, they had a stronger immune system and were also less likely to struggle with chronic pain.
Variety is not only the spice of life but also a great way to fend off feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. While set routines can help with efficiency, they can stifle creativity and usher in boredom. Both of these can take a toll on your mental health and overall outlook on life. To that point, if you enjoy running, consider going for a walk or perhaps a bike ride instead, for example.
While the tips above can help lower stress, and as a result, improve your mental state, they are not a replacement for pharmacotherapies or traditional counseling with a licensed therapist.
If you’re struggling with chronic anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideations, you’re encouraged to seek the care and advice of a licensed mental health professional. However, if you’re feeling just slightly stressed, mildly depressed, or struggling with low-level anxiety, consider trying some of the suggestions detailed in this article today.