It’s likely not news to you that chronic stress isn’t exactly fun. However, did you know that the consequences of stress are huge for our mental and physical health?
Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make individuals more vulnerable to infections and diseases. Stress also contributes to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In addition to physical health, stress can significantly impact mental health. Prolonged stress can increase the risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, stress can worsen the symptoms of pre-existing mental health conditions, leading to a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors. Stress can also cause cognitive difficulties such as memory problems and difficulty concentrating, which can interfere with daily life.
Clearly, chronic stress is something that should be managed! For three tips on managing chronic stress, keep reading the latest blog post from Higher Life Pathways.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calmness. Try out one of these relaxation techniques below:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: this technique can help reduce stress through tightening and then relaxing muscles.
Restorative Yoga: restorative yoga is a gentle way to reconnect with our bodies and inspire rest.
Meditation: meditation isn’t about clearing your mind, but instead about being present in the moment.
You can practice these techniques for a few minutes daily to help alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms of stress.
Regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve overall physical and mental health. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week.
Talking to friends, family, or a mental health professional can help reduce stress and provide support during challenging times. Joining a support group or engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment can also help manage chronic stress. It's essential to prioritize self-care and set boundaries to reduce stress levels and maintain overall well-being.
Some ways to seek support include:
Connecting with your community: this can look like joining a book club or other hobby group, volunteering, finding membership with a religious group, or simply connecting with family.
Building your social support network: other than doing the things above, you can build your support network by joining local support groups, particularly in an area you identify with. For example, joining a group for chronic illness, for LGBTQIA+ folx, or for parents may be helpful.
Talk to a counselor: if stress causes your mental health, work performance, social life, or family responsibilities to suffer, it may be time to talk with a licensed professional.
We hope this blog post helped teach you three ways to reduce chronic stress during Stress Awareness Month! If you’re looking for a teammate on your mental health journey, we’d love to come along with you. Reach out today to Higher Life Pathways to learn more about our services, specialties, and availability. We look forward to hearing from you!