Yesterday was Uni Mental Health Day, the perfect time to work on your mind fitness. A small amount of stress can motivate us to knuckle down and focus on the task at hand. However, a large event such as a significant exam or combination of smaller events can push our stress levels beyond the point at which we feel in control.
Learning to manage your wellbeing effectively can help in avoiding chronic stress which increases the risk of ill health both physically and mentally. Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically, as well as how you behave.
It’s important to assess how you respond to stress, for example, negative responses can exaggerate problems such as drinking excessively, smoking, taking drugs, gambling, over eating or not eating enough. So it’s vital to develop a range of positive responses whilst also supporting your health physically and mentally.
So, how can we lower our feelings of stress in the first place? Here are three easy things every student can do today to improve their head space…
- Exercise: When we exercise the body releases endorphins which make us feel good. Exercise can help support a good night’s sleep and also helps us to be physically healthy. All of these factors have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing.
- Go outdoors: Getting outside and feeling a part of nature has been shown to lower cognitive anxiety, whilst also increasing mindfulness, vitality and happiness. Simply by taking just a short walk around your local park you will enable you to start reaping the benefits of nature.
- Cut down on social media: If you’re finding yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media then perhaps it’s time to think about cutting down your usage. It’s all too easy to compare yourself to the picture that others paint of their lives through their social media channels. It’s important to remember that most people paint the best version of themselves and that you should never compare. Try setting yourself a limit to how much time you will spend on social media daily and stick to it.
Need a quick fix? For instant stress release try a simple breathing technique to slow down the breath and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose and concentrate on the diaphragm near the stomach expanding, then breath out through the mouth. Aim to do 6-10 breaths per minute for 10 minutes.
Bethany Ainsley is an award-winning wellbeing coach and founder of Nouveau Group – which includes Nouveau Wellbeing, ActivCare Coaching, and Bethany Ainsley Consulting https://nouveaugroup.co.uk
Cover Image Credit: Flickr/Infinity Technologies