5 ways you can manage stress and calm your mind

Feb 2 2017, 11:04 pm

Life is busy, time is limited, and stress is a normal part of our daily lives.

From finances and relationships to your perception of self-worth, it’s hard to feel balanced and calm all the time. Here are five simple ways to help you calm your mind, manage stress, and live life to it’s fullest potential.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is not about clearing or emptying your mind. It’s about slowing down and paying attention to one thing at a time in the present moment, without judgement. With greater awareness of thoughts, surroundings and feelings, you may be able to experience more satisfaction instead of feeling trapped by thoughts and worries. There are lots of apps to help get you started, or free programs like the Mindfulness Groups at the YMCA.

Get moving

YMCA yoga

Yoga/Trevor Meier for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver

Studies show that exercise can be used to treat depression. Find a physical activity that you truly enjoy – if weight-lifting doesn’t float your boat, try something creative like Barre fitness or a bike ride around the seawall. Before you know it, you might notice that your mood and motivation improves along with the other perks of exercise. The Y offers a specialized exercise program called Jumpstep in partnership with the Mood Disorders Association of BC. This program takes a holistic approach to supporting mental health through the aid of experienced psychiatrists and group physical activity trainers.

Eat clean

Consider investing time in planning healthy meals with a balance of whole grains carbs, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. A diet rich in sugary and refined foods can increase symptoms of anxiety and leave us feeling sluggish after time.

Sleep better

It’s hard enough to get out of bed when you get your nightly fix, but lack of sleep or an irregular sleep pattern can make coping with stress even more difficult. Consider creating a sleep routine to help you wind down before bed – try things like reading, drinking a warm decaffeinated beverage, or taking a warm shower.

Be kind to yourself

Do you notice that critical voice in your head constantly bossing you around? Many of us are used to listening to that critical, judgmental voice, and we spend very little time showing ourselves love and compassion. Dr Kristen Neff’s website on self-compassion illustrates some ways to show yourself kindness, practice mindfulness, and remind yourself that you aren’t alone – suffering is a part of our human experience.

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