If you regularly experience feelings of stress and anxiety, you’re not alone. Studies show that as much as 70% of adults in the US experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis – and this figure might be on the increase.
It seems that stress is a part of life. However, that doesn’t mean that stress and anxiety is something you should have to accept. Everyone deserves the right to be happy, calm, and mentally healthy. With that in mind, here are 5 lifestyle changes that could help you to reduce stress and improve your mental well-being.
1. Be More Active
Some research studies seem to suggest that people who live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to experience things like depression. While the results of these studies aren’t definitive, it does seem to make sense from a biological standpoint.
Exercising makes our bodies produce chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins can have a calming effect and make us feel more positive and calm. Therefore, exercising more often can help you to get a healthy dose of these positive chemicals that might improve your mental well-being.
This is an easier lifestyle change to make than you might think. You don’t have to have an expensive gym membership or lots of space around you to exercise, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home to lose weight and be more active.
2. Get Outside More
Humans are essentially animals, and, like any animals, we’ve evolved in our own habitat. Over thousands of years of evolution, our minds and bodies have adapted to being surrounded by nature.
An unfortunate byproduct of modern society and the pressures of working life is that we spend less and less time outdoors, surrounded by nature, and instead stay inside in concrete jungles. Perhaps the best way to deal with stress, then, is to ‘get back to our roots’, so to speak. Get outside more often and it might just improve your mental health.
3. Be More Sociable
Humans also evolved as social creatures. Our brains crave social interaction. If you’re an introvert, you might prefer to avoid company, and potentially spend less time with friends and family members than you perhaps should.
If you’re struggling with your mental well-being, it might help to try to engage in social interaction more often. This might mean joining a club or group or spending more time with friends and family.
4. Actively Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness means aiming to be more ‘present’. That means focusing on what’s actually happening at that moment in time, without worrying about the past or the future. Some of the stress you’re experiencing might be being caused by constant worry about future events, or through reliving past events. Try to avoid this and concentrate only on the present.
5. Help Others More Often
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you need to focus on helping yourself. However, sometimes the best way to achieve that is to focus on helping others. Some experts believe that engaging in volunteering work for charity and similar activities can help your mental well-being by allowing you to put your own position into perspective, and by helping you to forget your own personal worries for the time in which you’re concentrating on others. It can also give you a positive feeling of knowing you’ve done good in the world.