Stress can cause a variety of mental issues. Working too hard, pushing yourself too far, spreading yourself too thin, taking on too much or living in a state of unhappiness or anxiety for long periods of time. All of these situations, and more, can cause much life stress. It is called the life “Balancing Act”. We try to juggle so much on our life plate, that eventually something has to give mentally, or physically.
Mental stress makes life difficult and the more difficult things are, the more stress in our lives. Some of us can have so much stress in our lives from so many different situations going on that we reach a stress plateau. This is when your maximum stress limit has been reached and we just learn to live and cope with it on a daily basis. We reach that stress-tolerance level and our state of mind becomes overloaded.
While a little bit of stress is normal and can actually help you function more effectively during times of pressure, ongoing stress can be very harmful to you mentally and physically. Symptoms such as headaches, sleep loss, high blood pressure levels and relationship troubles can all be caused by stress. Experts are warning of the ill-effects the current “epidemic of stress” is having on public health.
Here are also some examples of mental stress that occurs at this point:
inability to concentrate
Stress is in our lives for a reason. If feeling anxious, try to figure out what has caused it. Any type of change in life has the potential of causing stress. Now, that can be good or bad change, depending on how we view it. The any shift of something becoming “different” or changing can throw us off. While stress is definitely a part of life, we can do many things to minimize it.
Stress Management for the mind is specifically targeted to help still, calm and quiet the overactive mind. Here are a few ways to seek a more balanced side of life:
Exercise – prompts feel-good hormones (endorphins), which can instantly de-stress your mind. De-tenses your muscles making you feel better and in a better frame of mind. And it doesn’t need to be a full-out workout – a short walk, 10 minute stretch or 20 jumping jacks can help.
Organize – stress can kick in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks needing to be completed and the deadlines they are due. Writing a to-do list or time management strategy can greatly help you focus on seeing each task through with more ease and less stress. By prioritizing those tasks to be done sooner, you can best focus on each one, get it completed and onto the next.
Breathe – stress and anxiety can affect how you breathe, which definitely has flow-on effects on how your body and mind feels. Taking a few deep breaths can help slow your breathing and heart rate, relax your muscles and calm your mind.
Take Time Out – stress can affect our emotions and how we behave, thus, impact our mental and physical health. It can make us irritable, agitated, upset or short-tempered. When you notice stress is affecting how you feel or behave, try stepping away and spend a few minutes just focusing on something positive. Read, listen to music, laugh or clear your head through a short meditation. And remember, a time-out doesn’t have to occur only when feeling stressed. Try incorporating it on a regular basis, even if only for a few minutes daily, as a part of your de-stress exercise. Allow that break daily to do something enjoyable while looking after your mental health.
Mindfulness – decreases and manages stress and promotes mental well-being. Practicing positive affirmations, meditating and focusing on happy thoughts are all great stress reducers. And, they are also great prevention tools in times when you’re feeling well.
Activities for relieving stress and anxiety:
light a candle – has a very visual calming effect – the addition of a scent enhances the senses
drink green tea – lowers stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels
journalize – writing helps get the stress off your mind and onto paper
chew gum – causes brain waves to shift to a more relaxed state, focusing on the chewing
positive socializing – gives a sense of belonging and self-worth
laugh – improves your mood and also heightens immune system
learn to say No – reduce stress levels by not taking on more than you can comfortably accomplish
Avoid Procrastination – become more organized and reduce unwanted last-minute deadlines
Join Yoga – relaxes the mind and body by focusing on life balance
Have a Pet – gives you purpose, keep you active and provide positive companionship
LIsten to music – renews energy, inspiration, induces mental relaxation and clears the mind
Change in life is inevitable. Once we begin to accept and welcome it, it can be a very positive step to controlling your life stress. We might not be able to control everything around us, but we can control our behavior and also take positive steps to adding de-stress tools into our life. By remaining optimistic and open-minded, we are better able to let go of the anxiety and life changes that come at us. Before reacting to situations that come about, begin to write them down and actually figure out what it is about that given situation that is causing you duress. Try self-talk and resolve the issue or deal with the problem directly and then get through it. Sometimes small stress can become huge life stress if not addressed at an early stage.
Rather than the constant “fight and flight” stress response, get to know the “tend and befriend” response. It involves being with other positive people and it releases Oxytocin, a natural stress reliever in the brain. Being in a positive environment can uplift, inspire and motivate you to feel great and change your stressful thoughts to happy ones. A positive change of pace is as good as a mini-vacation. Enjoy, and keep on keeping on. Try some of the suggestions above and see what might work best for your own life and personal situation. Your mind is a powerful friend, especially in the right positive atmosphere for it to live in.
Less the Stress brought to you by Christy Kim a Reflexologist and Massage Therapist. Having worked in the health field since 1999, Christy has greatly enjoyed helping several clients, family and friends with her many health treatments.