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.

7 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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Big feelings, and the big behaviour that comes from big feelings, are a sign of a distressed nervous system. Think of this like a burning building. The behaviour is the smoke. The fire is a distressed nervous system. It’s so tempting to respond directly to the behaviour (the smoke), but by doing this, we ignore the fire. Their behaviour and feelings in that moment are a call for support - for us to help that distressed brain and body find the way home. 

The most powerful language for any nervous system is another nervous system. They will catch our distress (as we will catch theirs) but they will also catch our calm. It can be tempting to move them to independence on this too quickly, but it just doesn’t work this way. Children can only learn to self-regulate with lots (and lots and lots) of experience co-regulating. 

This isn’t something that can be taught. It’s something that has to be experienced over and over. It’s like so many things - driving a car, playing the piano - we can talk all we want about ‘how’ but it’s not until we ‘do’ over and over that we get better at it. 

Self-regulation works the same way. It’s not until children have repeated experiences with an adult bringing them back to calm, that they develop the neural pathways to come back to calm on their own. 

An important part of this is making sure we are guiding that nervous system with tender, gentle hands and a steady heart. This is where our own self-regulation becomes important. Our nervous systems speak to each other every moment of every day. When our children or teens are distressed, we will start to feel that distress. It becomes a loop. We feel what they feel, they feel what we feel. Our own capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

This can be so tough, but it can happen in microbreaks. A few strong steady breaths can calm our own nervous system, which we can then use to calm theirs. Breathe, and be with. It’s that simple, but so tough to do some days. When they come back to calm, then have those transformational chats - What happened? What can make it easier next time?

Who you are in the moment will always be more important than what you do.
How we are with them, when they are their everyday selves and when they aren’t so adorable, will build their view of three things: the world, its people, and themselves. This will then inform how they respond to the world and how they build their very important space in it. 

Will it be a loving, warm, open-hearted space with lots of doors for them to throw open to the people and experiences that are right for them? Or will it be a space with solid, too high walls that close out too many of the people and experiences that would nourish them.

They will learn from what we do with them and to them, for better or worse. We don’t teach them that the world is safe for them to reach into - we show them. We don’t teach them to be kind, respectful, and compassionate. We show them. We don’t teach them that they matter, and that other people matter, and that their voices and their opinions matter. We show them. We don’t teach them that they are little joy mongers who light up the world. We show them. 

But we have to be radically kind with ourselves too. None of this is about perfection. Parenting is hard, and days will be hard, and on too many of those days we’ll be hard too. That’s okay. We’ll say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. We’re human too. Let’s not put pressure on our kiddos to be perfect by pretending that we are. As long as we repair the ruptures as soon as we can, and bathe them in love and the warmth of us as much as we can, they will be okay.

This also isn’t about not having boundaries. We need to be the guardians of their world and show them where the edges are. But in the guarding of those boundaries we can be strong and loving, strong and gentle. We can love them, and redirect their behaviour.

It’s when we own our stuff(ups) and when we let them see us fall and rise with strength, integrity, and compassion, and when we hold them gently through the mess of it all, that they learn about humility, and vulnerability, and the importance of holding bruised hearts with tender hands. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency, and honesty, and the way we respond to them the most.♥️

#parenting #mindfulparenting
Anxiety and courage always exist together. It can be no other way. Anxiety is a call to courage. It means you're about to do something brave, so when there is one the other will be there too. Their courage might feel so small and be whisper quiet, but it will always be there and always ready to show up when they need it to.
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But courage doesn’t always feel like courage, and it won't always show itself as a readiness. Instead, it might show as a rising - from fear, from uncertainty, from anger. None of these mean an absence of courage. They are the making of space, and the opportunity for courage to rise.
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When the noise from anxiety is loud and obtuse, we’ll have to gently add our voices to usher their courage into the light. We can do this speaking of it and to it, and by shifting the focus from their anxiety to their brave. The one we focus on is ultimately what will become powerful. It will be the one we energise. Anxiety will already have their focus, so we’ll need to make sure their courage has ours.
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But we have to speak to their fear as well, in a way that makes space for it to be held and soothed, with strength. Their fear has an important job to do - to recruit the support of someone who can help them feel safe. Only when their fear has been heard will it rest and make way for their brave.
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What does this look like? Tell them their stories of brave, but acknowledge the fear that made it tough. Stories help them process their emotional experiences in a safe way. It brings word to the feelings and helps those big feelings make sense and find containment. ‘You were really worried about that exam weren’t you. You couldn’t get to sleep the night before. It was tough going to school but you got up, you got dressed, you ... and you did it. Then you ...’
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In the moment, speak to their brave by first acknowledging their need to flee (or fight), then tell them what you know to be true - ‘This feels scary for you doesn’t it. I know you want to run. It makes so much sense that you would want to do that. I also know you can do hard things. My darling, I know it with everything in me.’
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#positiveparenting #parenting #childanxiety #anxietyinchildren #mindfulpare
Separation anxiety has an important job to do - it’s designed to keep children safe by driving them to stay close to their important adults. Gosh it can feel brutal sometimes though.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person there will be anxiety unless there are two things: attachment with another trusted, loving adult; and a felt sense of you holding on, even when you aren't beside them. Putting these in place will help soften anxiety.

As long as children are are in the loving care of a trusted adult, there's no need to avoid separation. We'll need to remind ourselves of this so we can hold on to ourselves when our own anxiety is rising in response to theirs. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it's more than an adult being present. It needs an adult who, through their strong, warm, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for that child, and their joy in doing so. This can be helped along by showing that you trust the adult to love that child big in our absence. 'I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.'

To help your young one feel held on to by you, even in absence, let them know you'll be thinking of them and can't wait to see them. Bolster this by giving them something of yours to hold while you're gone - a scarf, a note - anything that will be felt as 'you'.

They know you are the one who makes sure their world is safe, so they’ll be looking to you for signs of safety: 'Do you think we'll be okay if we aren't together?' First, validate: 'You really want to stay with me, don't you. I wish I could stay with you too! It's hard being away from your special people isn't it.' Then, be their brave. Let it be big enough to wrap around them so they can rest in the safety and strength of it: 'I know you can do this, love. We can do hard things can't we.'

Part of growing up brave is learning that the presence of anxiety doesn't always mean something is wrong. Sometimes it means they are on the edge of brave - and being away from you for a while counts as brave.
Even the most loving, emotionally available adult might feel frustration, anger, helplessness or distress in response to a child’s big feelings. This is how it’s meant to work. 

Their distress (fight/flight) will raise distress in us. The purpose is to move us to protect or support or them, but of course it doesn’t always work this way. When their big feelings recruit ours it can drive us more to fight (anger, blame), or to flee (avoid, ignore, separate them from us) which can steal our capacity to support them. It will happen to all of us from time to time. 

Kids and teens can’t learn to manage big feelings on their own until they’ve done it plenty of times with a calm, loving adult. This is where co-regulation comes in. It helps build the vital neural pathways between big feelings and calm. They can’t build those pathways on their own. 

It’s like driving a car. We can tell them how to drive as much as we like, but ‘talking about’ won’t mean they’re ready to hit the road by themselves. Instead we sit with them in the front seat for hours, driving ‘with’ until they can do it on their own. Feelings are the same. We feel ‘with’, over and over, until they can do it on their own. 

What can help is pausing for a moment to see the behaviour for what it is - a call for support. It’s NOT bad behaviour or bad parenting. It’s not that.

Our own feelings can give us a clue to what our children are feeling. It’s a normal, healthy, adaptive way for them to share an emotional load they weren’t meant to carry on their own. Self-regulation makes space for us to hold those feelings with them until those big feelings ease. 

Self-regulation can happen in micro moments. First, see the feelings or behaviour for what it is - a call for support. Then breathe. This will calm your nervous system, so you can calm theirs. In the same way we will catch their distress, they will also catch ours - but they can also catch our calm. Breathe, validate, and be ‘with’. And you don’t need to do more than that.

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