May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a good time to take steps to manage stress. Did you know that long-term stress can contribute to and even worsen many mental and physical health problems? Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises or diaphragmatic breathing can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. These breathing techniques are practices that help bring about the body’s relaxation response, which is the opposite of the stress response. Moreover, complementary practices like yoga, meditation, reiki, tai chi, and massage therapy can also help to induce the relaxation response.
Yoga and meditation are two of the most recommended alternative treatment options for treating anxiety, stress, and depression. A regular meditation practice can help to train your mind to focus on the present moment. Also, yoga is a great practice for managing stress and anxiety by allowing the mind and body to focus on deep controlled breathing with movement, which can help lower blood pressure and promote relaxation of the parasympathetic nervous system. By learning simple techniques to help you produce the relaxation response, you can help prevent stress from mounting up, which is great for your mind and body.
If you continue to experience unmanaged stress, anxiety, or depression, you should seek professional help or even medical treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychological treatment that can help a person become aware of patterns of harmful behavior and thinking. This type of therapy involves efforts to change thinking patterns and behavioral patterns. Seeking help is taking a proactive step in the right direction to help you feel better. Remember, your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has some great resources, webinars, and self-help books to help manage stress, anxiety or depression. Tap here to access these resources.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2021). Anxiety and Depression Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from: https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics