AnxietyMental Health

10 ways to Lower Stress and Anxiety During Mental Wellness Month

By January 10, 2022 No Comments
Mental Wellness Month

With the goal of starting the New Year off on the right foot, January serves as Mental Wellness Month. The hustle and bustle of the Holiday season can bring additional stressors and take its toll on mental health, but January offers the opportunity for a fresh start. This month, it’s time to be intentional about practicing habits that cultivate mental wellness. Hopefully, you’ll find these practices to be so beneficial that you’ll continue them for the entire year. 

The Importance of Starting the Year With A Healthy Mindset

If you ended the year on a negative note or really struggled with your mental health in 2021, the good news is that you can start on a new path in 2022. It’s important to cultivate a healthy mindset instead of letting stress get the best of you. In fact, a 2020 study in Anxiety, Stress & Coping found that when people perceived stress as being debilitating, they experienced more mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Instead of viewing stress as being something you can’t tackle, it’s helpful to have a positive mindset, and realize that you can learn to cope with feelings of stress. 

10 Ways to Lower Your Stress and Anxiety for Mental Wellness 

If you’re ready to manage stress better in the New Year, consider the 10 strategies below:

    • Practice Gratitude. When you’re experiencing stress on a regular basis, it can be easy to get caught up in what’s going wrong. Instead of fixating on the negative, which probably makes your stress worse, take time to be grateful for things that are going well. Be intentional about starting each day with a gratitude journal, in which you list three things you’re thankful for in that moment. 
    • Start each day with exercise. Making exercise a part of your regular routine is perhaps one of the best methods for coping with stress. In fact, a 2020 study in Stress & Health found that people who are more physically active have a better capacity for reframing stressful situations in a positive light. 
    • Challenge your negative thoughts. It’s easy to get stuck in a negative rut when you have a pessimistic outlook. Instead of automatically assuming the worst or looking only at the negatives, challenge yourself to see things differently. For example, instead of feeling irritated about an increased workload at the office, tell yourself that it’s a compliment that your boss trusts you with a number of important tasks. 
    • Surround yourself with positive people. If you’re feeling stressed, spend some time with people who uplift you. Having a close group of friends or family members who you can turn to when you need some positivity can make all the difference. 

 

  • Learn mindfulness techniques. Practicing mindfulness through techniques like meditation is a popular way of managing stress, and for a good reason. A recent study found that individuals who underwent a mindfulness intervention became more resilient to the effects of stress. You can take advantage of the benefits of mindfulness by practicing yoga or meditation, or by downloading an app for your phone to learn the practice of mindfulness. 
  • Set a consistent sleep schedule. Being well-rested prepares you to cope with the demands that life throws your way. In fact, studies have shown that people who consistently get enough sleep experience less psychological strain, supporting the fact that sleep is necessary for reducing stress and anxiety during mental wellness month, and every month thereafter. 

 

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. Expecting perfection of yourself just isn’t realistic. Instead of aiming to be perfect in every aspect of life, focus on being the best you can in the important areas, and letting other things go. There is no reason to beat yourself up if you didn’t get to the dishes before bed. Let it go; you’re doing enough! 
  • Get comfortable with saying no. When your time is stretched thin, you’re likely to feel as if you’re pulled in multiple directions at once, which only increases your stress levels. If you’re someone who simply can’t say no to taking on another project or jumping on a new volunteer activity, remind yourself that it’s okay to say no to things that you truly don’t have room for in your busy life. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trying to do it all on your own can also contribute to stress. Now is the time to start asking people in your life for help when you need it. Chances are that your husband won’t mind picking the kids up from practice a few days per week, and your mom would be more than happy to babysit so you can have a break. Stop being afraid to reach out! 
  • Prioritize self-care. Along with asking for help and saying no to things that just create more stress, it’s important to make time for self-care. Find time to do things you enjoy, pamper yourself, and care for yourself through regular exercise and a healthy diet. The body and mind are so intertwined, that you can’t care for your mental health when you’re neglecting your physical health.

Seeking Treatment

Self-care strategies can promote mental wellness, and sometimes, these habits are all you need to destress and reduce anxiety levels. However, mental health issues, including anxiety, may sometimes require professional intervention. 

If you are seeking mental health care in Santa Barbara or a nearby Southern California location, Mission Harbor is here to help. We offer a variety of therapy types, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can be especially helpful for treating anxiety. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to begin the admissions process. 

Sam Dekin

Sam Dekin

Sam Dekin combines his years of experience in behavioral health with a mission to innovate treatment methods and processes for mental health and substance abuse. Sam not only brings to the table his successful career owning and managing successful treatment facilities around the country but his dedication to creating an environment for healing. Sam obtained his Masters in Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.