When we think of the word stress, it is natural to associate negative thoughts and feelings to it. After all, stress is an adverse state of emotional tension resulting from demanding circumstance. However, stress is also a response to us being out of balance; and thus can be a good indicator that we need to make some changes.
Stress consists of our experiences, perception of the current situation, our natural response to those perceptions and our current coping strategies. Our responses to stress could be physiological, biochemical and cognitive-behavioural, and to observe ones reactions could give us some clues as to how to best reduced it; consider for a moment what is contributing to your stress? Now, seek to restore balance by reducing it.
Note we say reduce it, not ‘banish’ it; for we cannot permanently remove stress from our lives. Stress is a natural response, as humans we need it to motivate us to survive in threatening situations. Thus, stress can actually be good for us; it can be a good indicator, motivator and sometimes, detector; those feelings of anxiety, fear, anger or frustration can lead to some excellent discoveries about yourself; some of which could to propel your mental health recovery forward.
And here is our recovery focused tips for reducing stress. Think recovery, think change, think STRESS:
Stop worrying about things you cannot control
And focus on what you can control or change.
Take a break
Because if you can take it easy, practice mindfulness or find creative ways to relax, you might just find it that much easier to problem solve and notice opportunities that can help you improve your situation.
Reflection is a big part of recovery and helps to reduce stress. Consider what has happened, why it causes stress and how to minimise it in the future.
Exercise like yesterday never happened
Because as a recovery college, we like to focus on the here and now. And when we say exercise, we mean both the body and the mind. This can include physical exercise, breathing exercises, problem solving, getting creative, taking in your surroundings, journalling and mindfulness and learning as though you’ll live forever.
And work out why you’re not. Seek tips to improve your sleep, whether that be making a list of things to do the next day, journal on the previous day or make changes to your eating habits or daily routines.
Start implementing new coping strategies
It can be hard to deal with the pressures of daily life, but it’s worth considering how we can best cope and, even, become more productive. Reflect on what isn’t working and seek to find methods that will…this could be the key to reducing stress and improving your overall mental health.
If you’re interested in discovering more tips, joining useful workshops and learning how to take control of your mental health, why not join some of New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College’s courses and develop your skills for free. Courses empower you, inspire hope and provide you with opportunities for self-development; and include:
Enrol for free or contact us for more information.