Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mental Health Kick

I know I write a lot about physical health on this blog, but it is also really important to keep your mental health in balance as well. Sometimes people get so stressed out with their day or irritated with the people in it, and they have no release for the tension that is building up inside of them... this my friends is bad news.

Everyone should have some kind of outlet or have special tricks for dealing with the stress. I have a lot of demands from work and everything has to be right All The Time (no slip ups) or I would loose my job. Which is hard because humans make mistakes, it's common knowledge and there are millions of examples... but when you're dealing with people's money it's a whole 'nother story. Life at home is stressful sometimes too. After a long day, all you want to do is come home and veg out. But if you have laundry, dishes, making dinner and errands all on your to do list, it can be hard to get relaxation time in. Then you go to bed and have to do it all over aging the next day. I can go on and on about different triggers, but what it comes down to is... how you handle them.

I like to practice yoga, its a hour and a half of quiet time just for me. I can focus on my breathing and work out the problems in my head while I work on strengthening myself. Breathing is something I do for calming down in a tight situation. Removing myself from the problem and taking a minute break of deep breathing helps me. Then when I come back to the problem, I have a better mindstate and I can see the solution much clearer. I know it sounds cliche, but taking a moment for yourself can make life a little easier to handle sometimes. Not being able to handle your stress levels can lead to physical problems for your body, not just mental. Unfortunately, I know people who fall into his category and it's sad to see that they can't help themselves. 

I have compiled a list of healthy habits for you that can help in certain situations, like the ones mentioned above. I hope the next time you start to wig out, you take a deep breath and take some of my advice. 

1. Guided Imagery- Practicing guided imagery is a fun and simple way to take a break from stress. Clarify what you want, and build optimism, and go for your goal. It's a relatively quick pathway of mental peace. When you focus on your objective, think of your path to get there- talk up your confidence... you CAN get through this hurdle.

2. Journaling- Journaling can be used in several different ways, all of which can relieve stress. Because journaling is proven by research to bring several health benefits in addition to stress relief. Write about the people who cause your stress, maybe you just need to detox them out of your brain. Work out your problems and brainstorm ways to change them.. where should you start?

3. Meditation and Progressive muscle relaxation- Meditation  and PMR bring short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try--each one is unique and brings its own appeal. One of my best friends swears by this practice. She downloads different podcasts on itunes and gives herself 20 minutes before bed. Bonus**She also says it helps her sleep better. : )

4. Music Therapy- Music can alter your physiology in ways that help you to relieve stress. It's an enjoyable, passive route to stress relief. Getting your mind off the problem and getting joy from your favorite tunes can change your mood instantaneously and when you deal with your problem after, it's easier with an optimistic outlook. But, maybe stay away from music that is too depressing. Creating playlists for various moods (a cathartic mix for when you want to process feelings, an upbeat mix for when you need more energy, etc.) can help you to relieve stress passively, enjoyably, and conveniently.

5. Work it out- Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever that can work in minutes. Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change in scenery, which can get you into a different frame of mind, and brings the benefits of exercise as well. Hitting the gym is a great way to relieve tension build up, it will leave you with a clear head. Physical relief is a a great option, plus with that extra adrenaline, you might push harder during your session.

6. Work on your time management skills- maybe this is an area that's your not so good with and it is one of the major causes of your stress. Honing your time management skills can allow you to minimize the stresses that you experience, and better manage the ones you can't avoid. When you are able to complete everything on your "to do" list without the stress of rushing or forgetting, your whole life feels easier and you aren't overwhelmed.

7.  Learn Assertive Communication Skills- Relationships can be great stress relievers. Knowing how to keep your relationships healthy through effective communication is one of the best investments of time and energy for stress relief. Your significant other is on your team, tell them when you need a listening ear or when you need to talk out a situation without being judged. Verbally releasing the bad emotions/thoughts that have been stuck in your head all day, can also help you process things easier just by hearing it outloud.
8.  Don't Procrastinate- Don't set yourself up for failure, it didn't work in high school and it doesn't work now. Putting off a stressful or labor-intensive project can only increase the stress you experience. Learning how to stop procrastination can allow you to get done what you need to do, without the added stress of rushing for a deadline. The worst is when some unexpected event happens and forces your focus away from your project, resulting in unfinished work.... don't be the person whose "dog ate their homework."
9.  Connect- When you're stressed and irritable, your instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends and make social connections. Social contact is a good stress reliever because it can distract you, provide support, help you weather life's up and downs, and make you feel good by doing good. So take a coffee break with a friend, email a relative or volunteer for a charity with your significant other.
10. Get some help- You might want to do it all, but you probably can't, at least not without paying a price. Learn to say no to some tasks or to delegate them. Saying yes may seem like an easy way to keep the peace, prevent conflicts and get the job done right. But it may actually cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family come second, which can lead to stress, anger, resentment and even the desire to exact revenge. And that's not very calm and peaceful. So when you know you need help, ask for it.

sweater- Ann Taylor, jeans- William Rast, glasses- Electric

sources 1, 2.
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