The short- and long-term effects of chronic stress can be very harmful to both your mind and your body. Sustained emotional distress can result in problems with learning, memory, decision-making and emotional regulation. Additionally, chronic stress can affect your physical health, causing headaches, digestive problems and poor sleep, and it can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
Fortunately, research has shown that a positive mental state can protect the body from heart attack and stroke and the brain from cognitive decline. At Banner Health, our supportive and caring experts are here to help you achieve emotional wellbeing to increase your physical health and overall quality of life.
How Can I Improve My Emotional Health?
Your emotional wellbeing can be improved by developing certain habits, which will ultimately benefit your overall health. Here are a few positive changes you can implement immediately:
- Find the positive. It’s important to find the good in a bad situation. A positive outlook can foster resilience, lead to better health, improve your quality of life and longevity and create a happier you. Part of staying positive includes reaching out and surrounding yourself with trusted, supportive friends, family and community. Seek out people who can help you keep things in perspective and help lead you toward positive solutions.
- Begin a practice of gratitude. Start a daily routine of identifying three things you’re grateful for each day, no matter how small. As you continue this practice, try to expand to reflect on your thoughts and feelings on certain events or what you’re appreciative of. This self-reflection serves as an effective stress management tool that you may find is very therapeutic.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation and mindful living have been shown to lessen the impact of and increase resilience to stress. A quick and easy practice can be as simple as taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly and intentionally. Do this a few times, concentrating on the movement of the air as it flows in and out of your nose. There are several online mindfulness sites and apps that explore progressive muscle relaxation, body scans and guided imagery.
- Strive for balance. Find a healthy balance between your work and personal life. It’s also important, but sometimes forgotten, that you must find balance between activities and resting. Be sure to make time for the things and activities you enjoy.
- Find meaning and purpose. Discover what’s important to you and gives you a sense of meaning and purpose, then spend your time on activities to support that. Your purpose may be your work, family, volunteering or caregiving. It may also be a creative or active pursuit. The point is to find something that excites, inspires and/or comforts you and make it a regular part of your life.
Our compassionate experts are here to help you achieve emotional wellness and a quality life. Schedule an appointment if you wish to talk to a doctor about reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.