Health is as much a matter of caring for your mind, as it is caring for your body. Stress may originate in the brain, but it can drastically affect your overall well-being and put you at risk for a number of physical ailments. Having better stress management techniques can greatly improve your mental and physical health. For those of you feeling the pressure of school or the workday, we've compiled a list of tips to help you manage that stress effectively.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Take a few moments every day to practice extreme mindfulness. Sit in a comfortable position and picture a positive memory or image. Imagine yourself in a world where none of your stressors exists no deadlines, no assignments, no drama. This may be especially effective right before bedtime, with some calming music.
2. Write it Down
Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you can think of that's causing stress or apprehension. If possible, make a list of necessary tasks and keep it somewhere you'll see often. If you don't have to worry about forgetting certain things, you'll be free from trying to keep track of everything yourself.
3. Expose Yourself to More Natural Light
Whether you go for a walk or just open a window, sunlight is a natural mood booster and performance enhancer. Your body relies on cues from the sun to regulate itself, so sitting inside with the curtains closed may interrupt your sleeping patterns and otherwise disturb your normal functioning. When natural light is difficult to come by, you may want to consider a Vitamin D nutritional supplement or a light therapy box.
4. Seek Emotional Catharsis
Watch a favorite movie, speak to a trusted friend, or write in a journal. The key here is to be actively involved don't sit on your laptop while the movie is playing or check Facebook as you write. Feeling or expressing strong emotions may help you release some of whatever stress is bogging you down.
5. Get Active
If you find yourself checking out or looking for ways to cover up your stress (i.e. eating when not hungry, heavy drinking, watching Netflix for hours on end) get up and get out. Engage in an activity that requires more mental or physical energy ride your bike, go for a run, play some basketball, or even enroll in a class about something you're interested in. Physical activity does wonders for relieving stress, and the act of engaging in something that improves yourself physically or mentally helps reframe the "I'm a victim" feeling.
6. Switch up your Diet
Specifically, eat more fish and vegetables! When you eat processed foods, your body feels full without receiving much nutritional benefit, which leaves you fatigued and susceptible to stress. Try incorporating more fruits, veggies, lean meats, and fatty fish. If you don't have time to grill a filet of salmon, get yourself an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, proven to inhibit the release of the stress hormone cortisol. While on the go, use the GoStak nutrition system to carry fruits, veggies, and walnuts, another excellent source of omega-3s.