Stress is an unavoidable part of life, and without proper management, it can overtake and overwhelm to the point of being unable to think or function. Living like this isn’t sustainable, with those suffering chronic unmanaged stress showing worse overall health outcomes than others.
If you’re struggling with this, the following suggestions can help you redress that balance and bring clear thought back into your life. Here are 5 ways to reduce stress and improve mental clarity:
1. Connect With Nature
It’s only in relatively modern history that people have begun spending most of their time inside buildings, so naturally, we love being outside. Making time as often as possible to reconnect with nature acts as a panacea for the brain, the soul, and the body. Going for a walk in the park, escaping to the Countryside, and even having some house plants are all shown to reduce the levels of stress that people carry.
2. Eat Well
So-called junk food is delicious; nobody denies this, and because it’s delicious, our bodies and brains crave it. However, when you only eat these foods, you’re doing your body and brain a disservice. By making it a habit to eat good foods like pulses, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you’re keeping your body in the best condition.
When under duress, the desire is to reach for that salty, sugary goodness, but doing so makes thinking sluggish and causes symptoms such as jaw-clenching to worsen, as discussed here. I’m not saying you need to deny yourself the occasional treat, but by making the most of your diet healthy, your body and mind will thank you.
As well as its essential purpose for keeping the body fit and healthy, exercise is maintenance for the brain, stretching its metaphorical muscles that can become tense and cramped. When I’m super stressed, running on a treadmill doesn’t work because I want to flail about or stomp my feet. So, boxing or a long walk is my best stress-busting activities. Identifying what makes you feel better during a period of heightened emotion will give the necessary physical release that the brain craves.
Whether you love listening to or making it, music is a wonderful way to relieve stress and take yourself out of your head for a while. Incorporate music into your day to lift your mood and distract you from gnawing worries. Music keys into emotion and memory, meaning it can help change your mindset or help with focusing on a task. That connection to memory is helpful for recalling things, aiding the efficiency of studying for exams or interviews.
The point of meditation is to spend a set amount of time each day clearing your mind and not thinking about the worries that consume you throughout the day. Practicing meditation for 10 minutes daily gives your brain time to stop, relax, and rest. When your mind is overly cluttered, meditation lets the brain find the end of the thread so that it can start unraveling the tangle of thought and begin to make sense of things.
Incorporating such simple changes into your life can make a significant difference in your stress levels, giving you the headspace required to start thinking again. When you start thinking clearly, you can start truly living again.