Quick tips for decreasing mental stress

A view looking up at the sky through tall forest trees. Walking in the woods is a great way to decrease mental stress.

Are you exhausted but still have difficulty falling asleep? Are life’s daily annoyances becoming huge obstacles? Are you having trouble concentrating and seeing things through?

Sometimes everyday stresses can be handled with a strong cup of coffee. But if that doesn’t help, and they are persistent and recurring, don’t ignore them.

Your mental health is one of several factors that comprise your overall wellness. The others are dietary, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial and environmental health – and they all need to be maintained.

“Mental health is your ability to properly think about and process information,” said Dr. Keith Randolph, a fellow with Amway Global Discovery. “It affects how you interact with others, make decisions and react to stress.”

Serious mental health issues should be discussed with your physician, but there are some self-care strategies you can try immediately.

Head for the woods

Research shows that spending 90 minutes in nature as opposed to an urban setting decreased brain activity associated with depression. Consider visiting your neighborhood park, heading to the beach or planning a camping trip. (Research also shows that planning a get-away gives you a mental boost, too, because it offers something to look forward to!)

A woman writes down her things that make her happy in a journal.

Write it out

Putting thoughts on paper is a powerful tool. You can vent about experiences that upset you, but also remind yourself of things that make you happy – things you’re grateful for or personal accomplishments.

Two men and two women are laughing at a party

Smile and laugh

Even if you don’t feel like smiling, the act of doing it can lower your heart rate and have a calming effect. And laughter helps reduce anxiety, so don’t feel bad about watching the latest cat video going viral on social media – it’s self-care!

A woman and a man jog in an urban setting. Exercise helps relieve mental stress

Manage stress

A warm bath, a good workout, or feeding your artistic side with drawing, painting or coloring are all ways to soften stressful moments. Make sure to make time for them!

A woman wearing a stocking cap and sweater vests holds a cup of coffee while looking out the window at a snowy scene.

Fight the ‘winter blues’

Some of these issues can seem magnified during the winter when days are short on sunlight. Click here for some tips on fighting the winter blues, including getting enough vitamin D and omega-3.

Ongoing research

Mental health is one of the aspects being examined as part of the Wellness Living Laboratory (WELL) at Stanford University.

WELL for Life, funded in part by a $10 million unrestricted gift from Amway, is a first-of-its-kind study analyzing the various components of wellness and their effect on long-term wellness and healthy aging.

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