Stress is that invisible reaction your body has to various situations that manifests itself in many tangible ways. It's a silent killer, that if ignored, will leave you needing more than just a spa day. We've rounded up ways to relax your mind from stress, as well as the role it plays in your mental and physical health.
The Effect of Stress on Mental and Physical Health
While you may think of stress as only an internal, invisible feeling - it is indeed more complex than that.
As someone with their degree in Psychology, I have long been able to identify when someone is under the weight of this negative energy through the words they use, their body language, their reaction (or lack thereof) to daily and life interactions - sometimes even before they recognize it themselves.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and your actions relay the struggle within. When the mind is under stress, our thoughts dictate how we react to it.
It's when we hold onto this poison - and stress is indeed like a poison - it begins to take a toll on us physically as well (weight gain or loss, heart issues, muscle pain, dental issues, etc.)
So how can we begin to lessen the stress that filters in through our lives daily?
5 Ways to Manage Stress
1. Mindfulness. Most importantly - take time throughout your day to be more mindful. This means more introspection and less mindless muscle memory living.
Start with a basic "Why" and then peel back the layers. Once all layers have been peeled and the why has been clearly identified, move onto constructive problem solving.
2. Therapy. Talking through issues with an objective professional can help you recognize recurring patterns that lead to stressful situations, and/or can help you feel more in control of an uncontrollable situation.
Speaking with a therapist no longer has the stigma it once had. In fact, it is very much seen as the positive path to growth.
3. Unplug. Let's face it, staring at our phones all day thumbing through social media posts, going down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and having life envy do not help our state of mind.
Whether your digital detox is an hour, an evening, or a weekend - stick to the formula that works well for you. During that time do other things that enhance your life - write thinking of you cards, get out in nature, volunteer, meet with a friend or family member for lunch; the list is endless.
4. Exercise. Nothing says stress buster like kicking some ass in a workout. It gets the blood pumping, the endorphins making you feel good and seratonin doing a happy dance. It tackles both physical and mental stress in one punch.
5. Aromatherapy. Scent plays such a huge role in how we feel as it triggers a mental and physical response. Just like the wrong scents can trigger negative memories that make you tense and distraught, others can soothe you like a Barry White song.
Lavender being the most notable of the relaxation scents, can instantly signal your mind to chill the eff out. (To put it plainly.) When this happens, your body responds with lowering your heart rate, slowing your breathing, relaxing your muscles. It puts you into a state of comfort.
Managing stress does not have a one size fits all solution. Every combination is unique to your own set of circumstances. I encourage you to find what's best for you, but to not hold off - begin today.