4 Ways to Improve Your Mood & Banish Stress

If you feel stressed out far too often, you are not alone. According to the American Institute of Stress, about 77 percent of adults say they experience stress in everyday life. From the pressures of rising living costs, a tough job market, or a situation involving a loved one, there can be any number of stressors on an individual that contribute to a chronic state of stress and anxiety.

If left unaddressed, long-term stress has the ability to affect the immune system and the body’s overall health: associated risks include weight gain, heart and respiratory problems, and increased depression. To minimize far-reaching consequences, it’s critical to actively develop and maintain positive, healthy stress management habits like the ones below.

Make Smart Food Choices

Oftentimes, we tend to engage in mindless snacking when we’re stressed, bored or upset. A steady junk food diet doesn’t exactly lend itself to a healthy lifestyle, and has actually been shown to have an impact on our mental health.

Try to look at food as fuel for success rather than just a way to distract yourself. Consuming the right amounts of fresh, natural foods like in-season produce, lean protein, and whole grains will help to balance out your plate, and ultimately, your mood.

Take a Deep Breath

Meditation is one of the fastest-growing wellness trends today. It’s also becoming easier to do, thanks to smartphone apps like Insight Timer and Calm, that help to guide users through a variety of different mindfulness techniques.

Making an effort to develop a meditation habit is crucial to stress management because it encourages a participant to recognize negative emotions while separating from them, enabling them to gain perspective, problem solving and coping skills. It takes practice, but even reserving five minutes a day can help you build up your ability.

Sweat it Out

Much like improving your diet, higher physical activity levels have been shown to correlate to better mental health. It can seem difficult to stick to a workout routine while in an emotional rut, but the payoff is worth it.

If you find yourself having trouble maintaining a regular regime, don’t be afraid to seek out some additional support. Try scheduling time to work out with a buddy to ensure you don’t skip, using a workout app, watching instructional videos to feel more comfortable, or enlisting the help of a personal trainer. The attendants at your local gym can also be used as a resource - they’re there to help you use the facilities safely, so don’t be afraid to ask for guidance!

Set Boundaries

Learning to say no is hard for some people. However, if you don’t set boundaries in your personal and professional life, the risk of becoming severely overstressed rises dramatically.

Take a critical assessment of your current capacity: workload, available free time, emotional state. Understand and accept that it won’t be the end of the world if you leave your work at work, and you’re not a bad person if you turn down doing a favor for a friend. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do something, don’t do it.

Ultimately, since stress takes on different forms for everyone, the road to living a stress-free life isn’t a clear, straight path. Find solutions that make sense for you, and never be afraid to seek professional counseling if you feel overwhelmed.

Category: Fitness Tips
Tags:  health  stress  tips 

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