Dr. Zahid Iqbal
When we’re not feeling our best, mentally or physically, it can feel like the rest of the world is conspiring against us. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! If you’re dealing with everyday stress or mental health issues, you can use these tips to keep your mind healthy and find some peace of mind when everything else feels chaotic.
Some recent studies show that consistent exercise can help you handle stress in a better way. While everyone handles stress differently, from biological standpoint stress is your body’s reaction to any demand on it, whether it’s physical or emotional.
When you face anything stressful, your hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which gives signals to your pituitary gland to liberate another hormone known as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH stimulates the release of cortisol, a steroid that helps redirect energy in response to whatever’s stressing you out. Cortisol also reduces immune function, so during times of high stress, you’re at increased risk for everything from a common cold to depression.
It’s probably obvious that if you don’t eat a variety of foods, you’re not going to get all of your vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t getting enough nutrition, chances are you won’t be able to remain calm throughout your workday. There have been studies in which people have been deprived of food for long periods; many of them develop depression as a result. For long-lasting peace of mind, it may be sensible to look into eating healthy and regularly scheduled meals.
Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and body. Start with 10 minutes a day, increasing your practice gradually as you get more comfortable. Take deep breaths while paying attention to how they feel in your stomach and chest. As thoughts arise, label them as thinking without judgment or analysis, then return your focus to breathing. Because meditation can help you detach from stressors or negative emotions (what’s known as cognitive defusion), it can be an effective tool for coping with symptoms of depression or anxiety. But it’s also been shown to work effectively for people with physical pain, addiction problems, anger issues, relationship troubles—even weight management issues like eating disorders.
If you’re already feeling stressed, it’s time to take a step back and figure out where things are going off track. If you haven’t already set goals for yourself, now is as good a time as any. These should be realistic goals that can fit into your daily routine. Focus on self-improvement versus perfection; trying to be perfect can cause even more stress! Make sure your goals fall into these categories: work/personal life balance, health/fitness, wellness (mental or otherwise), financial, family/social life. And whatever you do—whatever you set out to achieve—be honest with yourself about it. You should stay honest with yourself in all aspects of your life if you hope to feel at peace mentally as well as physically fit!
Get enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression—all of which affect your mental health. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, there’s a good chance it could be because you haven’t been getting enough sleep; try logging your sleeping habits for a few days (for instance, how long it takes you to fall asleep) as well as how much time you spend snoozing each night. Remember that adult humans require 7-9 hours of sleep per night to operate at their best mentally; lack of sleep can impair focus and problem-solving abilities.
6) Stress consciousness
You may be aware that stress is everyone’s biggest enemy, but often goes undiagnosed. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms like high blood pressure, headaches, migraines, or irritability, stress could be your culprit. Identifying stress before it becomes a problem can save you from those painful days in bed. Be conscious of your daily stressors—both big and small—and learn techniques for dealing with them effectively. By staying aware of how much stress you experience daily, you can develop healthier coping mechanisms. These tips will help keep your mind clear so that if another stressful situation arises, you’ll know how to deal with it calmly
7) Time Management
Most of us just have too many tasks on our plates- so numerous tasks may compete for our attention. If you’re going crazy juggling a million things, it might be time to take a look at your to-do list. Start by making three piles: one for everything that has to get done today, another for everything that can wait until tomorrow (and add them onto tomorrow’s today pile), and one for stuff you can dump completely. With all those obligations out of your head, you’ll be less stressed about each item.
8) Positive Thinking
Positive thinking leads to positive behaviors. Be proactive, take action, and live life with a can-do attitude. Don’t expect life’s challenges to pass you by; instead, tackle them head-on. When negative thinking does creep into your mind, change it with positive thinking. This will help you steer clear of pessimism, worry and doubt – habits that can eat away at your mental health.
9) Connect with Others
Sometimes, a bad mood comes on unexpectedly. Luckily, there are quick fixes you can implement to get yourself back on track. Whether you need a few minutes or longer, it’s easy to return your brain—and your body—to a better state of mind: call a friend or family member, take a walk outside or around your office building, take a deep breath for several minutes (here’s why breathing deeply is so important), write down what’s worrying you. The key is not only recognizing that you’re not yourself but taking action to make things better. Don’t let negative emotions control how you feel for too long!
10) Enjoy Life’s Little Things
If you’re looking for a simple way to bring down your stress levels, consider small pleasures such as curling up with a good book or spending time with friends. Studies have shown that people who regularly find pleasure in life are better able to cope with stressful situations. If you’re having trouble doing so, consider setting aside some time each day—even if it’s just five minutes—to reflect on positive things in your life. Moreover, don’t forget about other simple tactics, like deep breathing or even calling up a good friend for a chat! There are so many easy ways to relax; you just require being willing to strive them out.