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7 important mental health tips to beat stress, improve mood


NEW DELHI: For many, juggling work and family can be quite stressful, especially when working from home. Recent studies show stress levels have sky-rocketed amongst Indians due to the changes and uncertainty brought by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, there is a way out of this mental anguish. It all boils down to taking care of your mental health and physical wellbeing as they are crucial to beating stress and staying calm in an uncertain and chaotic environment. 

Here, we share with you a few to maintain good mental health and beat stress:

 

Recognise the stressor: Take time to reflect and figure out the reasons why you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Are you working overtime? Are there family disturbances? Are you unable to get a good night’s sleep? Whatever the reason may be, jot it down on a notepad and describe it in detail to acknowledge the problem so that you can think of suitable solutions. 

Take regular walks/jogs: Exercise has proven benefits in greatly reducing stress and keeping the mind sharp. Don’t worry, you don’t need to visit the gym or perform strenuous exercises every day. You could even go for a 30 min walk or jog in the morning or evening to work your muscles and get fresh air. In case, you miss your walk, make sure you are active in other ways such as cleaning your home, taking the stairs and walking on your lunch break. Exercise will also improve sleep and bad mood swings. As the famous saying goes – ‘When the body is healthy, the mind will follow!’

Watch your diet: You must have heard the phrase, ‘What you eat is what you become’. It isn’t far from the truth as eating healthy foods can positively transform our mind and ensure good mental health. Doctors believe a balanced diet can reduce stress, give stronger immunity and lower your blood pressure. A good diet consists of complex carbohydrates such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables, lean proteins such as greek yoghurt and lentils, and healthy fats like nuts, eggs and chia seeds.

Try out relaxation techniques: Give a shot at meditation and mindfulness or simply deep breathing to relax the mind and body. First, begin with 2 minutes of meditation or deep breathing practice and build your way up from there. For instructions, you can refer to guided meditation or mindfulness videos or leaflets online which are available for free. It’s a simple activity which can be done after waking up or before going to bed. There is promising research on the effects of meditation which include improved energy levels, sleep and mood.

Get enough sleep: Are you functioning on less than 8 hours of sleep every day? Sleeping less can trigger stress and in turn, the stress can make it harder for you to sleep peacefully. You can break this cycle with better sleep habits. Some good habits include – exercise, sunlight exposure, avoid caffeine intake in the evening, keep away electronics before bedtime and practise deep breathing to induce sleep and relax the body. A good night’s rest is crucial for mental well-being so try to not stay up all night!

Talk to your friends: It’s no secret that humans need social interaction for maintaining good health. Calling up a friend is one of the best ways to relieve stress and distract your mind from overthinking. Banter, sharing personal stories and laughter with friends or family will make you more capable of coping with stress. It will also make you feel loved and connected to people fulfilling our natural need for social support.

Go easy on yourself: In a competitive world, you feel insecure and uncertain of your abilities when you compare yourself to another co-worker or friend. If these negative thoughts float in your head for too long, it can increase stress levels. To counter the negativity, appreciate the good qualities you have, replace each negative thought with a positive one and only compare yourself to your previous self, not to other people.





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