Everyday stress can impact a person, so it’s important to be proactive when it comes to mental health. Too much stress can lead to depression, and Arkansans have higher rates of depression compared to other Americans. In 2021, an average of 24.5% of Arkansas adults reported they were diagnosed with a depressive disorder. To improve our way of life, however, we can learn to shift our mindset.
It can be hard to make time for ourselves when things like work, family, and friends take priority. When that happens, people can end up neglecting their mental and physical health. However, it is important to take as good care of yourself as you do your loved ones.
Ways To Reduce Stress
While stress is an unavoidable fact of life, it’s important to take steps to regain a sense of calm. Below are some ways to help restore your balance:
- Boundaries: Maintaining boundaries in your life is imperative to sustaining your health and well-being. When you don’t regulate your boundaries, it creates an unrealistic expectation that you need to prioritize everyone else above yourself. When a family member or friend goes beyond your comfort level and that behavior is not corrected, it can form an unhealthy pattern. Likewise, if expectations are not met at work, then you may tie your success to the accomplishments of work. This can lead to disappointment when work goals are not met, so separating your work life and home life can restore balance.
- Using a Creative Outlet: Creative hobbies can be a fun outlet to boost serotonin. You don’t need art supplies to be an artist. The simple act of dancing or singing is enough to improve your mood. Whether it is drawing, dancing, or writing poetry, you can decrease your worries and improve relaxation with creativity.
- Journaling: There are several benefits to keeping a journal. Journaling your thoughts can help you reflect on your feelings as you process stressful times. Journals can be used as a time capsule to go back and read entries and reflect on progress. This promotes good feelings and a needed reminder that every moment and feeling is temporary. Another way a journal can improve wellness is to use it to shift a mindset through affirmations and gratitude.
- Mind-body exercises: Although things like Pilates, yoga, or tai chi may seem challenging, the goal is to clear your mind by coordinating breath with movement. Physical exercise is important for your mental health because it keeps us feeling healthy, enhances our mood, helps us sleep better, and can even be a way to socialize. These stretching exercises also help with flexibility, tension, and can alleviate pain. If they are used with meditation practices, you can help clear your mind and restore balance. This improved mindfulness can lower stress, anxiety, and depression.
Adopting a Whole-Person Health Approach in Arkansas
Balance is all about peace within, so adding habits that help you to reduce stress can restore mental and physical health. At Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, our whole person approach to health acknowledges our minds are a strong tool to improve happiness, gratitude, and our physical wellness too.
And, through our Normalize the Conversation initiative, we are providing all Arkansans with access to mental health and stress relief support tools so you can find what works for you.