10 Mental Health Tips to Make Your Life More Relaxed

10 Mental Health Tips to Make Your Life More Relaxed

Stress is a natural part of life. Feeling stress is by itself an okay thing. Its purpose is to trigger our fight or flight response when danger is presenting itself. Stress alerts us when it is time to make a change. However, it’s important to remember that stress, left untreated, threatens both our mental and physical health.


We all know that to beat stress and feel more relaxed, we are supposed to do things like exercise and eat healthy. Though these are good things to do when you’re stressed, to live a more relaxed life overall, more is needed.  In order to make a significant change in your life and your mental health in regard to stress, there are more things you can do. As a mother of two and a business owner, I experience my fair share of stress. In addition, throughout my career, I’ve counselled many individuals and families who struggle with a significant degree of stress in their lives. Here are ten mental health strategies that I’ve found to be helpful in making long-term and positive changes to your overall stress levels.

10 Ways to De-Stress Your Life

  1. Establish supports.

    We’re not meant to go through this life alone. We all need people in our lives that we can lean on with our frustrations and stresses. Simply knowing that you’re not alone is a de-stressor. When you feel overwhelmed by stress, find someone in your network to talk to. Even if they’re not able to do anything, it’s helpful to share your frustrations, and to have someone listen. You also may benefit from a fresh perspective on your situation. Regularly connecting with friends and family will help ensure that you have support when you need it. In addition, to build a lasting support network, make sure to be that listening ear for others in your life when they need it too.  

  1. Let your supports challenge you.

    Most often we are stressed about something because we have unhealthy thinking habits that are causing us more stress. While it’s tempting to talk to others that see things our way, we can try talking with a friend or family member who can challenge our perspective. When we’re in the middle of a difficult situation, it’s easy to think only about the negatives. Talking with someone who is willing to be honest with us, and help us see the bigger picture, can help bring us back up from a negative spiral of thoughts.

  2. Count your blessings.

    Learn to identify the positives. If all we look at is the negative, we begin to feel very down and stressed. When we are aware of the positives in our lives, we are more able to be relaxed and not allow the little stresses to overwhelm us. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder. If you find yourself focusing on the negative, find a way to make the positives in your life easy to remember. Call a close friend or family member and have them remind you. Or, try writing down some positive truths, and hang them in a spot where you’re likely to see them each day. Sometimes we need to see and hear the truth to let it sink in and change our perspective. Whatever you choose to do, just be sure to make the positives in your life easy to recall.

  3. Don’t assume others’ motives.

    When someone reacts to us in a way that makes us feel offended, try to not to assume the worst of them. Everyone has his or her own stressors. Maybe the lady in the grocery store who rushes by you is not trying to be rude, but is in a hurry because an emergency has happened with her kids. Perhaps she lost track of time and her kid will be sitting on the side of the road after being dropped off by the bus. Or maybe the person who is driving too close to you and honking their horn is on their way to see a friend or family member in the hospital. Making assumptions and becoming angry in these circumstances only hurts us and increases our stress.

  4. Know your priorities.

    Though the demands of life can seem endless, we simply can’t do everything well. If we’re not careful, we can easily become overcommitted and overscheduled. Between work and social and family obligations, it can easily get to a point where we feel like we are constantly running around. When we know what our priorities are, we’re able to make better decisions about how to spend our time. It becomes easier to say no and not allow our schedules to become over packed.

  5. Pick your battles.

    When you know your priorities it makes it easier to pick your battles. Engaging in every possible argument will leave you feeling more stressed and defeated, and you’re not likely to see progress. Yes, it’s frustrating when your kids throw their coats on the floor when they come in. And they still haven’t picked up that mess they made three days ago. Your spouse left the dirty dishes in the sink again and spent money you didn’t have. The potential battles of life can be endless. By picking your battles and focusing on only one thing at a time, you’re more likely to feel less stress, and more likely to see progress.

  6. Take breaks.

    It is easy to feel like we have to work as hard as we can for as long as we can, but we need breaks. I don’t know about you, but my to-do list seems endless. And it grows…every day. Many of us are guilty of wanting to do so many things on our list in order to feel ‘accomplished’ at the end of the day. However, our minds need breaks. Yes, productivity is a good thing. However, a well-deserved break can help you relax and feel recharged.

  7. Make time for the little things.

    In an overscheduled and hectic culture, it can be easy to miss the little joys in life. For example, when your child wants to give you a hug as you are trying to get them into the car, stop and give them a hug. Hug them as long as they want to be hugged. Or when your friend texts to say hi, take the time to say hi back. These things bring joy to our lives, which will help us feel more relaxed.

  8. Take one task at a time

    When it’s time to focus on working, take one task at a time. Our culture of cell phones, social media, and technology seems to have decreased everyone’s attention span. Jumping from one thing to another can be stressful and leave things undone. Use your priority list to stay focused on what needs to be done first and continue on from there. There’s only so much of you to go around.

  9. Forgive yourself

    When you don’t get everything done, forgive yourself. A lot of our stress comes from our own negative thoughts about ourselves. We are not perfect, and we all need room to make a few mistakes. You still love your family and friends when they aren’t perfect. Don’t you desire the same forgiveness for yourself?

So, in summary, often stress can be reduced by these simple adjustments to our attitude and perspective. It’s not always easy in the moment, but the reward of lower stress can be well worth the effort.


About the Author: Charity Ritter LISW-S

Charity Ritter MSW LISW is one of the founders of LIVE Wellness Center, ltd. Charity received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work from The Ohio State University. Charity holds a License as a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the State of Ohio. She received her training working with adults at Riverside Methodist Hospital in the Psychiatric Inpatient unit as well as outpatient counselling at Vineyard Counseling Center.

After receiving her degree, she worked with children and families at the Rosemont Center where she received training and experience in working with children and families with a variety of mental and behavioral health issues. She received experience working with sexually reactive youth and in advocating for and providing outpatient therapy for children and families with significant mental health and behavioral health issues.

9 Comments

Donna

Stress is harmful to mental health as well as effect the physical condition.this post describe over come the stress in the daily life.This tips is amazing and useful for all. Thank you for the useful information.

Reply
Elena

Beautiful post. For a long time, I was struggling with depression and anxiety. Everything around me used to discourage me and none of my hobbies used to excite me. But I had no other choice to fight back, so I did. And I am glad that I did.
Elena

Reply
Andrea

Hi,
this is Amber…..liked your article…….I’ve some question for you…what if someone is orphan or differently able?? most of the people like them are calm and not so talkative …..plus they don’t have anyone to look after or support??How would they overcome stress then??what do you suggest for them??

Reply
Cindy

I recently read some interesting facts about what happens to us when anxiety, fear or trauma strike. The mere fact that you have this knowledge can help tremendously. That part of our brain which is called the Amygdala governs our stress, fear and general state of panic. When stress strikes, it goes straight to this almond-shaped part of the brain and over-rides our reasoning ability. On a personal note…I had such an experience recently. The mere fact that I had printed out the information explaining how all this works, helped me to reason my way out of a very worrying place. I look back at the place I was in and than God that I am a reader of all things ‘Psych’.

Regards,
Cindy

Reply
Marsea

Sorry, but IF we could do those things the author suggests we do, at that very moment when anxiety strikes, then life would not be what IT IS.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

It’s often not possible to do these things when anxiety strikes because the brain is too busy. To work around this, it’s important to practice during calm. The brain strengthens with experience, so the more of something you do, the more automatic it will become.

Reply
Cindy

As always,…spot on Karen. I am usually able to pull back and practice ‘calm’. (reasoning)..I think this helped a lot , plus the knowledge of what was happening to me.

Cindy

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Anxiety shows up to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that you’re not. It’s your brain’s way of saying, ‘Not sure - there might be some trouble here, but there might not be, but just in case you should be ready for it if it comes, which it might not – but just in case you’d better be ready to run or fight – but it might be totally fine.’ Brains can be so confusing sometimes! 

You have a brain that is strong, healthy and hardworking. It’s magnificent and it’s doing a brilliant job of doing exactly what brains are meant to do – keep you alive. 

Your brain is fabulous, but it needs you to be the boss. Here’s how. When you feel anxious, ask yourself two questions:

- ‘Do I feel like this because I’m in danger or because there’s something brave or important I need to do?’

- Then, ‘Is this a time for me to be safe (sometimes it might be) or is this a time for me to be brave?

And remember, you will always have ‘brave’ in you, and anxiety doesn’t change that a bit.♥️

#positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #childanxiety #heywarrior #heywarriorbook
The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️
There is a beautiful ‘everythingness’ in all of us. The key to living well is being able to live flexibly and more deliberately between our edges.

So often though, the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ we inhale in childhood and as we grow, lead us to abandon some of those precious, needed parts of us. ‘Don’t be angry/ selfish/ shy/ rude. She’s not a maths person.’ ‘Don’t argue.’ Ugh.

Let’s make sure our children don’t cancel parts of themselves. They are everything, but not always all at once. They can be anxious and brave. Strong and soft. Angry and calm. Big and small. Generous and self-ish. Some things they will find hard, and they can do hard things. None of these are wrong ways to be. What trips us up is rigidity, and only ever responding from one side of who we can be.

We all have extremes or parts we favour. This is what makes up the beautiful, complex, individuality of us. We don’t need to change this, but the more we can open our children to the possibility in them, the more options they will have in responding to challenges, the everyday, people, and the world. 

We can do this by validating their ‘is’ without needing them to be different for a while in the moment, and also speaking to the other parts of them when we can. 

‘Yes maths is hard, and I know you can do hard things. How can I help?’

‘I can see how anxious you feel. That’s so okay. I also know you have brave in you.’

‘I love your ‘big’ and the way you make us laugh. You light up the room.’ And then at other times: ‘It can be hard being in a room with new people can’t it. It’s okay to be quiet. I could see you taking it all in.’

‘It’s okay to want space from people. Sometimes you just want your things and yourself for yourself, hey. I feel like that sometimes too. I love the way you know when you need this.’ And then at other times, ‘You looked like you loved being with your friends today. I loved watching you share.’

The are everything, but not all at once. Our job is to help them live flexibly and more deliberately between the full range of who they are and who they can be: anxious/brave; kind/self-ish; focussed inward/outward; angry/calm. This will take time, and there is no hurry.♥️

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