Everyone has stress but not everyone knows how to deal with it. De-stressing is important for one’s physical and mental health. Stress is proven to affect every major system in the body, whether it’s involving sleep patterns or resistance to infection. An individual’s mental health can be adversely affected as well, with stress as a catalyst for many different illnesses including depression and anxiety, according to the article titled “Why Stress Turns into Depression” by Alice Boyes, Ph.D., a contributor with Psychology Today and author of “The Anxiety Toolkit.”
Most people want to de-stress but few know how to do it well. There are many different ways to relieve stress, as recommended by Madeline Vann, M.P.H., in the article titled “10 Tips to Help You De-Stress” and published in Everyday Health:
- Get moving: Numerous studies show that exercise lifts mood. The neural chemicals released also enhance a general sense of well-being. Exercise also helps to refocus mind and body. Note that this can be anything that gets an individual moving, from walking, participating in sports to playing with children, Vann wrote
- Get assertive: As much as some people don’t like to, saying “no” is a very important and effective stress relief technique. In order to relieve stress, it’s important to manage obligations and commitments at work, school and social settings
- Get connected: Social contact is vital to distract individuals from stressors and help people share their burdens, thus lowering stress levels, Vann said
- Get amused: She also believes that laughter reduces tensions and increases blood flow to the heart, providing both physical and mental benefits. Humor can also attract further social contact, contributing to stress alleviation
- Get centered: Yoga and meditation can help de-stress as well, Vann asserted. These practices calm the mind, center the thoughts and give clarity
- Get writing: Journaling is a process that many individuals use to de-stress and to clarify their thoughts. A journal can also help stressed individuals manage their feelings in a straightforward fashion
Vann also wrote about the negative coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, such as substance abuse, gambling, smoking and other actions that can make stress worse in the long run and hurt physical health. Even harmless activities — such as video games or exercise — can make the situation worse if overdone and detrimental to daily life. Therapy with mental health professionals can help develop healthy coping mechanisms that can last a lifetime. Addiction treatment specialists can also help with substance abuse and the underlying causes of the behavior.
Learning to de-stress is important to good mental health and key to living life with a sense of wellness and happiness. When individuals cannot maintain a functional stress response, they end up seeking treatment from professionals in places such as mental health treatment facilities, mental health residential treatment, anxiety and depression treatment, or a mental health rehabilitation center. These simple de-stressing tips and therapies can help keep individuals, even-keeled and calm, even in the eye of the stress storm.