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  • Writer's pictureBeth Abney

Overcome Mental Stress

There’s a fine line between a good amount of stress and a bad amount of stress.

What is good stress?

Good stress stimulates our minds and bodies to work and improve. Good stress is the catalyst for new ideas and improved fitness. We need this stress in our lives to function normally and to learn and grow.

What is bad stress?

Stress is bad when it overwhelms your systems. When mental stimulus goes from being thought provoking to all consuming, it gets in the way of proper functions. Mental stress will begin to manifest physically by increasing blood pressure and muscle contracture and wreaking havoc on your emotional state. It will effect your breathing pattern, heart rate and hormone production.

Our thoughts are so closely tied to our physical experience that if something happens to one, the other is going to be effected.

The good news about mental stress is that we have the ability to control it. We can control our thoughts and our emotions.

Humans have the unique gift of awareness. We are the only beings on the planet to be able to have a thought, know we’re having a thought, look at it, think about it and DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH IT.

We also have the ability to control some of the physical manifestations of mental stress, like our breath.

If you’re struggling to control your mind, try controlling your breath. If you are completely focused on your breath, there’s less room for thoughts in your head. Controlling your breath also gives you the power to control your heart rate, muscle tension and wait for it…..your feelings. If one door won’t open try another.

Tips for overcoming mental stress.

  • Put thoughts into action. Maybe there’s something you can do about the thing you’re stressing over. Instead of thinking about it, do something about it. Often the most stressful part of a problem is the amount of time we spend thinking about it.

  • Get active. If your mind is working too hard, turn it down by getting physical. Get some exercise, and do something that pushes you. Go for a bike ride. Lift weights. Give that negative energy a different outlet.

  • Get out in nature. There’s nothing more calming than getting out in nature, and there’s science to back this up. You don’t have to travel to the wilderness to benefit. Watch the birds in the feeder outside your window. Enjoy the flowers in the yard, the trees that line the sidewalk or simply enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

  • Meditation. If you want to master you mind, there’s no better way than through meditation. A few minutes of mindfulness can change your mental state and give you the control we all crave when the world around us feels out of control. There are plenty of free apps out there to help you with this.

  • Give your mind something else to do. Solve a puzzle. Read a book. Watch your favorite movie.

  • Change the subject. Call a friend to talk about literally anything else.

  • Get away from the stimulus. Turn off the news. Remove yourself from the conversation. Get off social media.

  • Get a massage. You may not be able to see a massage therapist right now, but you can still take care of yourself by doing self massage. There's nothing better than a good scalp massage. You can also try using a tennis ball or foam roller to work on yourself. Better yet trade a massage with a loved one.

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