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

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
.
.
.
#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
.
.
#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This