The Four A’s

Today we’re going to break down two of the vital components when it comes to stress relief – first, strategies to help alleviate the stressful situations, and then second, ways to keep your mental health strong no matter what your life may look like.

Avoid the stressor

It’s not healthy to avoid a stressful situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress. Distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts” and, when possible, say “no” to taking on too much.
  • Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life, limit the amount of time you spend with that person, or end the relationship.
  • Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.

  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, be more assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the stress will increase.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you’ll find it easier to stay calm and focused.

Adapt to the stressor

How you think can have a profound effect on your stress levels. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. Regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude to stressful situations.

  • Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
  • Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”

– via www.helpguide.org

Ten Tips for Better Mental Health

So let’s say you can’t make changes to the stressful situations in your life – or you’ve made as many as you can but still struggle with feeling overwhelmed or under water. What now?

Today is the day to focus on improving and protecting your mental health, no matter what you face.

  1. Build Cofidence – identify your abilities and weaknesses together, accept them, build on them and do the best you can with what you have.
  2. Accept Compliments – many of us have difficulty accepting kindness from others but we all need to remember the positive in our lives when times get tough.
  3. Make Time for Family and Friends – these relationships need to be nurtured; if taken for granted they will dwindle and not be there to share life’s joys and sorrows.
  4. Give and Accept Support – friends and family relationships thrive when they are “put to the test.” Just as you seek help when you are having a tough time, a friend or family member might come to you in their time of need.
  5. Create a Meaningful Budget – financial problems are big causes of stress, especially in today’s economy. Over-spending on our “wants” instead of our “needs” can compound money worries. Writing down where you money is going helps you keep a closer eye on your finances.
  6. Volunteer – being involved in community gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction that paid work cannot. Find a local organization where you life skills can be put to good use.
  7. Manage Stress – we all have stressors in our lives but learning how to deal with them when they threaten to overwhelm us will help to maintain our mental health.
  8. Find Strength in Numbers – sharing a problem with others who have had similar experiences may help you find a solution and will make you feel less isolated. Even talking about situation with people who have not experienced what you are going through is a good way to gain outside perspective.
  9. Identify and Deal with Moods – we all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our feelings of anger, sadness, joy and fear. Channeling your emotions creatively is a wonderful way to work off excess feelings. Writing (keeping a journal), painting, dancing, making crafts, etc. are all good ways to help deal with emotions.
  10. Learn to Be at Peace with Yourself – get to know who you are, what makes you really happy and learn to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.

– via www.mhww.org

What changes could you make to help lower your stress level or improve your mental health?

For more tips on staying healthy when stressed: https://truewellnyss.com/ways-to-stay-healthy-under-stress/