If you’ve experienced stress over the last year, you’re not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to its fair share. Factors like sick loved ones, quarantine and loss of normalcy are stressors you may have encountered.
The Cleveland Clinic defines stress as:
Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. In Fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses.
Stress can be dangerous, but there are ways to successfully cope with it.
You’ve probably heard of ways to effectively cope with stress, such has exercising, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. While those are very important, we want to discuss some additional strategies for coping with stress.
Guided Imagery: Have you ever heard the saying “go to your happy place?” Well, that is the purpose of Guided Imagery.
Guided imagery is like taking a short vacation in your mind. There are many apps, websites and YouTube channels that you can access for scripted and visual guides.
You can utilize these guides laying down, sitting up or even while you are on your daily walks.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Often called PMR, Progressive Muscle Relaxation consists of relaxing all the muscles in your body group-by-group.
Practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your forehead and moving all the way down to your toes.
Positive self-talk: The way you talk about yourself matters. Self-criticism and self-doubt will only add to your stress.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a more positive outlook.
Try daily self-affirmations. Look in the mirror and say three “I” statements every day. An example of an “I” statement would be “I am worthy.”
Laugh: This may seem obvious, but did you know that laughing decreases cortisol levels and releases endorphins, which can greatly reduce your stress level?
Watching a funny movie, reading a light-hearted book and even looking at funny memes on social media can help get your funny bone working.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to stress reduction. What works for one person may not work for another. That is why it’s important to have a variety of techniques in your stress reducing toolbox.
As always, make sure you are talking to your primary care provider if you are experiencing stress that interrupts you daily life. You can also set up an appointment with a mental health provider to explore your stress.
Help is available for everyone
The Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network can help connect you to a behavioral health provider. Call (901) 762-8558 or click the link below.