Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog | September 20, 2019 2:00 PM EDT
This issue features an article by Mollie Wilson
Today’s society is hectic, and the fast pace and high demands can often lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. Stress is not just a harmless feeling. When left untreated, stress can lead to increased risk of health problems, and anxiety can make it hard to concentrate on tasks.
The mental health professionals at Palmetto Counseling and Consulting advise that simple steps like eating regular meals, taking a warm bath, and getting enough rest can help you practice self-care and improve your mental health. Here are six more ways that you can naturally improve your wellness and relieve stress and anxiety.
Regular exercise has been proven to help relieve stress. Not only is exercise good for your physical fitness, it’s good for your mental health as well. When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Those endorphins help you feel happier and less stressed.
The physical act of exercising also takes your mind off of your problems and the things that makes you feel anxious, so you can focus on the exercise.
Some of the best types of exercise to release stress are walking, running, and yoga. Each of these practices are calming, and they can be done by beginners of all fitness levels. You can also do calming exercises like swimming and biking.
You can improve your mental health and physical fitness by being active for as little thirty minutes per day. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure you are fit enough to work out before starting a new exercise routine.
#2 Listen to Music
While you are exercising, you can also listen to music. Music also helps to improve your mood and reduce your stress and anxiety. You can listen to the latest pop music and hip-hop music to elevate your mood, or you can listen to calming tunes to help you relax.
Studies have shown that music can help to slow your pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease stress hormones.
When you feel your stress level begin to rise, perhaps during a difficult task or a long commute, turn on some music to help you tune out of your worries and into the beat. Make plans to check out live music around town or attend a concert featuring your favorite artist.
Another effective way to reduce stress and anxiety naturally is to meditate. According to Wikipedia, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
If you have never practiced meditation before, it’s easy to get started and there are even apps available to help you practice guided meditation. You can start with as little as five minutes. Simply sit still in a comfortable, relaxed position and practice being aware of your thoughts.
You can even sit outside and under a warm breeze, and use a fan to keep you cool, calm, and relaxed.
As you become more comfortable with meditation, you can try different methods or use an app like Headspace to guide you through your meditation practice. You can slowly increase the amount of time you spend in your meditation practice.
Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety and produce feelings of calmness. When you practice meditation over time, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and you can choose positive thoughts that improve your mood and mental health.
You can lessen your feelings of stress and anxiety by practicing journaling. Journaling is simply the act of writing down your thoughts and feelings or recording events that happen throughout the day so that you may reflect on them.
Much like meditating, journaling helps you practice more awareness. You can also write down positive thoughts, aspirations, so you can focus more on your goals and you can focus less on negativity.
To start journaling, simply get a notebook, preferably one that you don’t mind writing in regularly, and take a few minutes at the end of each day to write down what happened throughout the day and your thoughts and feelings.
You can also use journaling prompts if you are having a hard time getting started. These prompts give you ideas about what to write about. As you become more experienced in writing in your journal, you can create your own prompts to form a regular journaling routine.
#5 Eat Well
Your diet can have a huge impact on your feelings of wellness. Believe it or not, eating well can actually help you decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. You can get started on improving your diet by first becoming aware of what foods your currently consume.
You can write out what foods you eat in your journal, or a separate notebook, or in a free app like MyFitnessPal. Then, decide on small ways you can improve your diet, like cutting out soft drinks, or adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
As you improve your nutrition, you will feel better overall. When your body has the proper fuel that it needs, you will be less stressed and better able to face the challenges of each day.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is simply by relaxing. Most people are wound up all of the time from work, negative news stories, or responsibilities at home. Practice disconnecting and finding ways to relax.
Some tips to help you relax are to turn off your phone (or turn off notifications), and take the time to read a book, take a bath, or spend time connecting with family members and friends. Spend uninterrupted time on these activities without checking your phone or email.
By taking the time to disconnected, or by creating a relaxation routine to unwind after work, you will reduce stress and improve your health and wellness over time.
Implement These Methods Daily
By implementing these six steps into your everyday routine, you can naturally decrease your levels of stress and anxiety and become a happier and healthier person!
About the Author
Mollie Wilson is a freelance writer from North Carolina. When she is not writing, she is perusing an adventures life- backpacking, climbing, exploring local coffee shops, and traveling.
Do you have an article on mental health, addiction, substance abuse, mental health advocacy or other important topic you would like to submit?
Let us know if you would like to be featured as a Special Guest Contributor to PCC’s Blog by contacting us at [email protected]