You might not know it, but you might already be living with a psychological disorder. Before you protest, let me start by saying it’s nothing to be ashamed of. People often assume the worst when the subject of mental health is brought up. But most mental health issues are nothing like you see on television or social media. They often manifest as everyday stress or anxiety. But if left to fester, the stress you feel can become something worse.
Stress is a normal part of life, and anxiety is just our body’s way of letting us know that we need to slow down. But if we let anxiety take over, it could translate to physical and mental issues. Your ability to enjoy life might be affected. Work and relationships, two things that come easily to us, can become more difficult.
Some people resort to unhealthy habits to cope with the emotional toll of stress. Many people turn to alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances, which can have destructive effects on the body. Others develop eating disorders, which can be treated by eating disorder recovery programs. Of course, therapy or medication won’t work if you don’t address the primary causes of your disorder.
A few changes to your lifestyle can help you break the cycle of stress. Here are a few strategies that can help calm your mind and body.
Put yourself first
You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first. If you’re serious about managing your stress and anxiety, your physical and mental wellbeing should be your main priority; everything else comes after. Small acts of self-care can go a long way in improving your mental state. Something as simple as a massage or a quick stroll in the park should help you calm some of your worries.
Just make sure your self-care activities won’t cause additional stress down the line. For instance, shopping or gambling might be fun now, but you’re only compounding your issues by adding to your financial problems. Choose activities that won’t break the bank, and allow yourself to take a breather once in a while.
Stop drinking caffeinated beverages
One lifestyle change you can implement immediately is to remove caffeinated products from your diet. It’s no secret that people crave coffee not just for its taste but for the quick jolt of energy it provides. The scent of coffee can also put many people at ease. However, caffeine can play with your mood, which is what we’re trying to avoid.
Even soda should be avoided. It has no nutritional benefits and can sap your body of the minerals it needs. The high sugar content also leads to tooth damage, which can affect your self-esteem. If you’re looking for comfort in the form of a drink, consider drinking juice or tea instead.
Declutter your life
Clutter only adds to your stress and worries. Just think of all the time and energy wasted when you can’t find one simple object among the masses of stuff. The image of clutter is also a visual reminder that you have too much to deal with. Cleaning up your home and removing unnecessary objects can help free up physical and mental baggage.
Declutter your home, one room at a time. Start small and slow: you’re not going to finish everything in one day. For instance, the living room coffee table or your pantry is a great place to start. Your goal is to reduce the amount of stuff you have. If you only organize your belongings without throwing anything out, the space will still feel cramped.
Trim the fat
Let’s be honest: one of the things that keep us up at night is the state of our finances. Nobody wants to deal with the reality of financial hardship, and the specter of poverty hanging over our heads is enough to drive anyone mad. Being smart with our finances is a great way to remove a source of stress from our lives.
All too often, we check our bank accounts and wonder where all the money went. Taking a proactive approach when it comes to your budget can help remove that gap. If you know where your money is going, you can then reduce your unnecessary spending.
The bottom line
These four mindfulness strategies will help you take control of your stressors. Good mental health starts with acknowledging your problems and removing the things that cause us pain and worry. It’s also important to have a doctor check up on you once in a while.