As human beings, stress is a natural part of our lives. We feel the negative emotional effects when going through challenging moments, and they can have lasting results on our physical wellness. Stress can put wrinkles on our face, and skin conditions might lead us to consider facial creams or Botox. Tampa nutritionists, however, know that stress can be difficult for our mental health as well.
People who deal with chronic stress might face severe consequences to their mental health. Many psychological factors come into play when dealing with pressure in our lives. Knowing the proper ways to cope with stress can be hugely beneficial. Here are three of the best stress management techniques that can improve your mental health.
1. Make Use of Meditation
Perhaps you’ve tried meditation before. Or maybe you’ve not heard of the vast benefits of stress management. Meditation can be immensely helpful and has been used for thousands of years to benefit both the body and mind. Meditation doesn’t cost you anything. It has effective ways of slowing down your breathing and increasing your self-awareness. You can also practice meditation anywhere you’re comfortable focusing your attention inward and clearing your head of any external thoughts.
While meditating, make sure that you’re relaxing and focusing your attention on your breathing. There are many meditation breathing techniques, but almost all of them revolve around attentive breathing with each inhale and exhale. Meditation has numerous benefits, including:
- Focusing your minds on the present moment
- Gaining a different perspective on stressful situations
- Increasing your patience
- Improving your memory
- Helping to manage your anxiety
There’s a reason why meditation is still practiced after thousands of years. Try it out, and you may find a new way of lowering your stress levels.
2. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is another beneficial stress-relieving option. Like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation uses different mind-body techniques. It can also be a great way to ease the tension in your muscles. Progressive muscle relaxation was invented in the 1930s and is still widely used today. Like with meditation, progressive muscle relaxation focuses on your breathing. However, progressive muscle relaxation’s key steps are how it has you relax and tense up different muscle groups.
You’ll want to sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. Leave the rest of your body relaxed as you tense up each muscle group for 15 seconds. You’ll then want to release the tension for 30 seconds slowly. Go down each muscle group one by one:
- Neck and shoulders
This relaxation and tensing of muscle groups occur one at a time, and for a specific reason. A 2008 review of progressive muscle relaxation by BMC Psychiatry found that it can have beneficial effects on anxiety.
3. Take an Outdoor Walk
It may sound simple, but a walk outdoors can be an effective stress reliever. This form of low-impact exercise not only aids our cardiovascular health but also puts us in contact with nature.
Studies have shown that being around green spaces and the outdoors has a vastly beneficial effect on our minds and bodies. These calmer, quieter areas help our brains relax as we take healthy walks. A University of Edinburgh study in 2012 found that the amount of time spent in places like parks and forests could help people cope better with anxiety, job losses, and PTSD. Taking a walk outside can help boost the endorphin levels in your body. These can help to reduce stress levels, as well as improve your mood. Try regular, 20-30 minute walks a few times a week, and you may be surprised at the benefits these have on your stress levels.
Stress is never easy to deal with. We each go through different challenges throughout our lives that affect our mental health. However, learning effective ways to cope with stress can help us become even stronger. With these three stress management techniques, you can face your stress and improve your mental health.
About the Author:
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.