Introduction to Stress: What is it, and Why Do We Get It?
Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, especially when caused by pressure of work or emotional problems. Stress can be a good thing if it helps motivate you to accomplish goals and reach your potential. In these cases, stress motivates us to reach our next level, but it can also be bad for us if we're unable to cope with it effectively.
Stress is not just a mental condition that we consciously feel. It has been shown that chronic stress can have an impact on our physical health as well as our mental health.
8 Rituals (or Habits) You Can Do To Reduce Your Stress
A lot of people find it hard to believe that so many things they do on a day-to-day basis can have such big impacts on their mood. We often don't realize how much our habits affect our mood, which is why it's so important to be mindful of what we are doing and how it affects our mood.
Starting a new habit is never easy but it is even more difficult when it comes to reducing stress. However, there are many habits that you can put into practice in order to reduce your stress levels. Here are 8 habits to reduce your stress:
1) Take care of yourself. Practice self-care and take care of yourself by sleeping well, eating healthy, staying hydrated and practicing mindfulness and gratitude.
2) Exercise. Physical activity is proven to be one of the best ways to reduce stress levels and improve moods because it releases endorphins which make you feel good about yourself. It also sharpens memory and thinking. Even just a walk around the block, the long way through the parking lot or a stroll through the park can help to alleviate stress.
3) Connect with others. The sense of belonging is one of the main sources of happiness in life so try to spend as much time with friends and family as possible; however, don't forget that connecting can be a stressor so choose the ones who bring you that sense of belonging.
4) Remember to start your day with a positive frame of mind by reading something you find uplifting or inspirational. Try not to seek out social media input for the first hour of your day.
5) Engage in mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation to combat the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. Meditating in the morning is one of the best things you can do to start your day. It has many benefits such as reducing stress levels and boosting mood. This is a good time to set your intention for the day. When you feel stressed you can remember your intention and remember the peace you were at when the intention was set.
6) Spend time with nature to experience the positive benefits of being in contact with the natural world. It can lower your blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.
7) Journaling: Journaling is a great way to express your feelings and release any negative thoughts. It’s also a good way to take note of how you’re feeling on specific days so you know what affects your mood positively or negatively.
8) Laughing: Laughing is not always easy but it has been known to have positive impacts on emotional well being. There are plenty of ways for you to laugh like watching funny videos or stand up comedy.
Identify what is causing the stress in the first place and then try to replace that “stress'' with something that can help you feel better - starting a new habit, like exercise or meditation; helping yourself to take that first step on your journey to a healthier you.
Did you know that it takes 21 days to form a Habit?
Forming habits is tough.
Do you want to start forming habits that will make you feel and look your best?
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Finally, take care of your mental health. Please reach out to family members or friends or a medical professional if you are still feeling overwhelmed. SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.