Stress has been called America’s number one health problem. The pace and challenges of contemporary life make stress management necessary for everyone. Modern day stress is pervasive, persistent and insidious. It stems from psychological sources rather than physical threats. It is associated with immediate “fight or flight” reactions over which we have no control. These reactions, designed to help our species survive, are no longer beneficial.
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” Fred Rogers
We all experience some level of stress. At times stress can help us focus and complete necessary tasks. But when it becomes too frequent and/or intense, stress can strain our body and make it hard to function. Finding effective ways to manage stress is critical to our living well balanced lives.
Coping with Stress
Creating an effective coping strategy to reduce stress can help you manage your mental health and improve the quality of your life. Experiment with coping techniques to find out what works for you. Some common strategies include:
- Practice relaxation.
Deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment. We will teach every patient those techniques.
- Exercise daily.
Schedule time to walk outside, bike or join a dance class. Whatever you do, make sure it's fun. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical health.
- Set aside time for yourself.
Schedule something that makes you feel good. It might be reading a book, go to the movies, get a massage or take your dog for a walk.
- Eat well.
Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit is the foundation for a healthy body and mind. Eating well can also help stabilize your mood.
- Get enough sleep.
Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, can be triggered by getting too little sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
They don't actually reduce stress: in fact, they often worsen it. If you're struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help.
- Talk to someone.
Whether to friends, family, a counselor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. Consider attending a Support Group.
If steps you have tried are no longer working, it may be time to get help. At The Woodlands Integrative Care, we will help to first identify factors central to controlling stress. Because we specialize in integrative care, our approach to stress management includes the mind, body, and spirit. After we help you pinpoint specific stressors we can help create an action plan to change and/or cope with them more effectively.
Please call (281) 383-9366 today for more information about how The Woodlands Psychiatry and Counseling can help you to manage stress.