The importance of relaxation in mental health cannot be understated.
Coming in many forms, stress has the potential to be good for the body. It prepares the body for hard tasks ahead but sparking feelings of displeasure in the mind. This sense of unease pushes you to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead more fully.
Think of all the upcoming exams or work projects with looming deadlines, and you’ll likely remember the high-levels of stress that forced you to prepare for them.
However, it should come as no surprise that stress—especially an overabundance of it—is often negative.
In fact, stress kills.
Having both a deep physical and mental effect on the body, stress taxes your focus, immune response, and ability to weather difficult circumstances and adapt.
In short, stress has a strong tendency to sap away your body’s life force.
Easy, you build in time to sit back and relax.
IT CAN EXTEND YOUR LIFESPAN
As we mentioned above, stress can take a serious toll on your health.
Physical symptoms include: headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, lack of sex drive, upset stomach, and sleep problems.
While mental issues include: anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, or sparking sadness or depression.
Needless to say, none of these outcomes are good, but when it comes to your mental health, these issues are inherently much tougher to fix.
In combination, the mental health effects of prolonged stress can actively reduce your body’s ability to rally its own immune response. This means that the next time a bacteria or virus is floating through the air and enters your system, your body will have a much harder time fighting it off—if it can at all.
However, by choosing to build time to relax and unwind, you invariably create opportunities to de-stress giving your brain and body the time to rest and recover.
This act of de-stressing can empower your immune system, boost its recovery, and ultimately extend your lifespan.
IT HELPS MAKE DIFFICULT SITUATIONS EASIER
We all know how it feels to be stuck in a stressful situation.
Maybe it’s the feeling of being spread too thin at work or school. Or perhaps it’s a particularly difficult task or goal that seems oppressively daunting. Regardless of the cause, the deep-seated feeling of stress that comes can leave us feeling powerless at worst and unmotivated at best.
In situations like these, stress can cause us to procrastinate, give less than our best, or quit altogether.
However, when granting ourselves the time to relax, the act of de-stressing can give our brains a clearer space to breathe, and ultimately, put things in perspective.
The tough times we may face won’t last forever, and the act of getting in a quick breather can be vital in showing us that reality.
So, the next time you’re working on a tough problem, take a step away from it and take a nap. Coming back to it will not only be easier, but you’ll be more prepared cognitively to handle it.
IT MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON
As we noted before, high levels of stress have a tendency to worsen your mood and increase overall irritability. This means you won’t feel bad, you’ll also treat those around you pretty bad, as well.
Thankfully, the solution is a simple one.
Take a step away from things, get some good relaxation for your mental health.
This act of stepping away can mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean sitting down to do some yoga. For others, it could mean sitting down to play some video games.
Whatever your method of personal relaxation, keep it in your back pocket whenever life hands you a “down day.”
By giving yourself a nice break to relax and unwind, you’ll be able to recharge your mental powers, de-stress, and improve your overall mood. This means that when interacting with friends, family, or strangers, you’ll be better equipped for kindness than if you were stressed out.
In a lot of ways, it’s true, you’re not you when you’re stressed.
At the end of the day, a stress-free life is a happy life. Though life is hard and requires hard work, the more in-tune with your own stress levels you are the better. When you feel yourself on the verge of stress overload, break out your favorite playlist, and go take a walk.
When it comes to the effect of relaxation on mental health, the return you see may surprise you.