Stress is perhaps the number one cause of disease in the world. It can lead to self-harming habits like smoking or drinking too much, hormone imbalances, sleep issues and more. Stress is often an underlying cause of depression, poor digestion, weight issues, etc. For these reasons, it is vital to take care of our mental wellbeing and ensure that our days are as stress-free as possible.
Here are a few stress-relieving practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Take a walk! When we are in fight-or-flight mode, we feel the desire to run away and escape the problem. Taking a walk fulfills that desire subconsciously because our body recognizes that we are moving ‘away’ from something. Furthermore, exercise (even as simple as walking) releases endorphins and allows us time to think and process difficult emotions in a positive environment.
- Draw yourself a bath. Submerging yourself in water can calm the nervous system and reduce inflammation. Heating up the body relieves muscle tension, which in turn relieves mental tension. Bathing in warm water can also increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is one of the chemicals produced by the brain associated with happiness and well-being. Bonus points if you light some candles and listen to calming music while in the tub!
- Meditate. So much of our stress is caused by overthinking, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. When we meditate, we allow ourselves to experience only the present moment. Meditation increases creativity, builds self-awareness, and helps us gain new perspectives about difficult situations. Often, we may use television or something else to distract us from an issue, but meditation helps us to face the issue at hand and progress in our lives.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. The gut directly communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve. If the microorganisms in our body, in particular those in the stomach, are imbalanced, our brain is signaled and our thoughts/emotions are negatively affected. Beyond eating healthy meals, you could also consider supplements if you find that you’re missing certain minerals or nutrients in your diet.
- Create a Worry Box or Angel Box. Make a practice of separating out what you can control in life and what you cannot by creating a box to store your worry in. I like to call worrying about things you can not control like other people’s thoughts and behavior, the weather or traffic, “Toxic Worry. Toxic worry eats away at your life and causes stress. Find a box, decorate it if you like. Every time you find yourself worrying about something out of your control, write the worry on a slip of paper and put it in the box. At the end of the week clear out the box with a satisfying cleansing ritual. For more info on the difference between healthy worry and toxic worry watch the video here.
What else do you do on a daily basis to support your mental wellbeing?