If we let ourselves get overcome by stress, it can cause a lot of problems for us mentally and physically. If you don’t manage your stress, you can increase your risk of developing serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and various mental health issues.
This is why it’s so important to properly manage your stress. To help you do this, we’ve listed five simple ways to reduce stress. We’ll discuss the emotional side of stress as well as a few practical things that you can do to combat it. This includes eating a healthy diet and being physically active.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you should see a qualified clinician for medical advice.
- Reach out to your friends and family
When you’re stressed out it can be extremely difficult to do everyday tasks. Sometimes, even getting out of bed seems like a challenge. Because of this, it may be a good idea to start with something simple.
To get started, try reaching out to people that you’re close to and tell them how you feel. Relating your emotions to another person can make you feel less alone. It also gives you the opportunity to express your emotions as opposed to resorting to internalisation.
Indeed, hiding your emotions can exacerbate them, which may lead to aggression, anxiety and even depression. Because of this, it’s important that you find someone trustworthy that you can talk to. They could be a relative, a friend or even a mentor.
- Try CBD oil
According to a study from the Neuropsychopharmacology journal, cannabidiol (CBD) may be able to help some individuals manage their stress and anxiety. The study found that a 600mg dose of CBD helped some people manage their social anxiety just before they were to give a speech in public. In other studies, it is suggested that CBD reduces stress in animals by slowing down their heart rate and mitigating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
CBD oil is also shown to have the potential to improve sleep cycles. This, in turn, results in the subject being well-rested and, therefore, more capable of managing negative emotions.
According to a study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) showed signs of being able to reduce the severity of insomnia in some individuals. By getting more quality sleep, individuals will be able to manage their emotions better, which in turn, may lead to less stress overall.
MSBR is a program that uses a combination of meditation, mindfulness, yoga and body scanning. It is said that such mindfulness programs are able to reduce rumination and worry in individuals suffering from anxiety and other stress-related conditions. These programs may also improve emotional regulation, spatial processing, executive function and working memory.
Exercise can help to produce positive feelings and emotions. When you take part in physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which is a peptide hormone that reduces your perception of pain. In some cases, endorphins may even create a feeling of euphoria, similar to the effect of certain opioids.
The physical improvements that your experience as a result of exercise might also boost your mood and therefore reduce stress. Such improvements may include reduced chronic pain, healthy weight loss and improved brain function. Exercise also improves your sleep quality, which then leads to better mental clarity and emotional stability throughout the day.
Several studies have shown that there might be a link between inflammation and our mental state. One study suggests that a spike in cytokine, a protein that’s integral to the inflammatory process in our bodies, produces symptoms that are similar to depression.
But what does inflammation have to do with our diet? Well, unfortunately, a lot of food products nowadays are highly inflammatory. This includes refined carbs (i.e., white bread and white rice), sugary drinks and processed meat. Not only do these foods adversely affect your mental health, they also increase your risk of developing somatic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Because of this, it’s important that you limit your intake of inflammatory foods and develop an anti-inflammatory diet. Such a diet might consist of leafy vegetables, fruits, fatty fish and nuts.
Of course, diet alone isn’t enough to have life changing effects. For the best results, you should eat a balanced diet while also exercising regularly.
It’s important to understand that your mental health is just as important as your daily tasks and long-term goals. If you’re not healthy, you won’t be able to do things to the best of your ability.
Once again, if you feel that you need help with your mental health, you should talk to your GP or mental health professional.