In some instances, being stressed is the recipe for the unwavering attention required to complete a task.

The problem, however, is when stress becomes chronic and sustained - the body's total functionality becomes impaired increasing the level of cortisol in the blood. Elevated cortisol alters the immune system and predisposes you to illnesses.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress involves changes that influence how people feel and behave. And by causing mind–body changes, it’s a major contributor to psychological and physiological changes that affect mental and physical health.

Excessive stress affects our health negatively. Knowing how to deal with stress is crucial to our mental well-being and overall health.

How Do You Manage Stress?

A little stress is a great motivator, but constant stress can be draining. So, it's important to stay mindful of stressors in your life and utilize effective stress management strategies to lessen their effects.

Here are the 5 best tips for managing stress and keeping your mental wellness in check.

1. Identify stressors

It's very common to feel stressed and unable to identify the cause. But you can’t solve what you don’t know.

The first step in stress management is learning to recognize the signs of stress. When you know what those signs are, and begin to understand why they occur, it's much easier to develop strategies for reducing stress when it hits. And learn to adapt to the unavoidable stressful situations.

To begin, you can create a stress journal where you document regular stressors in your environment and your management plan. Update the journal whenever you feel stressed.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a powerful stress reliever and mood booster.

Regular exercise helps you relax your body and mind. When you exercise, the body secretes stress-relieving hormones which include endorphins. These hormones have analgesic and sedative properties; you sleep better and feel less pain.

In addition, exercise helps you develop a positive image of yourself; when the body is healthy, the mind as well is healthy. Don't forget to set fitness goals, you are less likely to miss a day of exercise when you have a goal to meet. Also, a good hot shower and massage help to relax the muscles which are often strained during stress.

3. Maintain a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is another key strategy for maintaining mental wellness. Healthy diets alleviate stress, enhance blood circulation, improve the immune system, and boost moods.

Just as with exercise, eating a well-balanced diet should be regular. It should be replete with green leafy vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and fruits. Fruits are rich sources of antioxidants and antioxidants protect the cells against oxidative damage which can be inflicted by chronic stress.

Research has shown that foods containing polyunsaturated fats such as vegetables help to maintain a regular cortisol level which reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases associated with chronic stress.

4. Create time to unwind

Self-care isn’t a myth. A very good way to reduce stress is by having frequent moments where you set time aside to take care of yourself.

Avoid getting carried away with the day-to-day activities that you forget yourself. It doesn't necessarily have to be elaborate - just something that feels relaxing to you.

It could be reading a book, visiting a restaurant, taking the dog for a walk, playing the piano, or actively trying out new things.

5. Speak out

It’s unhealthy to get upset and bottle up emotions. It’s important to talk about issues in a safe space and let it out.

You can express how you feel to members of your family, a trusted friend, or a therapist.

While they may not immediately be able to solve the problem, feeling listened to and having your feelings validated is the great healing route.

Bonus Tip: The act of gratitude is guaranteed to keep you going despite the prevalence of stressors. Routinely take time to appreciate good things happening around you.

Taking steps towards bettering yourself

Stress can be multifactorial. And there's no one-size-fits-all approach to managing everyday stress. There are many different factors at play in each situation, which means the best way to deal with stress depends on the individual and the stressors.

The extent of stress we experience in our daily lives is a function of our state of health, the nature of our diets, physical fitness, and human connections.

If we can take anything away from this post, it's that taking steps toward bettering yourself is always a good idea.

Not sure where to begin, you can chat with a care specialist on PneumaPage to guide you.