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7 steps to manage life stress in a healthy way

No human is immune to stress. At some point, even the happiest-looking person gets stressed.

Woman in black v-neck t-shirt covering her ears [Photo: Ketut Subiyanto]

Whether you just lost a loved one, shut your business or went through a terrible break-up, stress is normal. However, how you deal with stress is what matters most.

Stress affects your mental, physical and sometimes even your spiritual well-being. Needless to mention that it also impacts your social life. If not addressed, stress has been found to result in health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension and poor vision.

Whenever you feel stressed, Dennis Mwangi, a mental health expert at Mindful Kenya recommends several ways of managing stress.

Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

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First of all, remember that it's okay to feel stressed. Everybody experiences stress at some point, and it's a normal reaction to difficult situations. It's your body's way of saying, "Hey, things are a bit tough right now."

Try to figure out the specific situation or event causing your stress.

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Is it schoolwork? The workload at your job? Family pressure? Once you've identified these factors, you can work on ways to address them.

Take a walk, or maybe just spend some time relaxing around green areas, such as parks. Nature has a calming effect on our minds.

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A break can also involve listening to your favourite music or engaging in activities that make you feel refreshed, like reading a book or dancing to a catchy tune.

Regular exercise can boost your mood and act as a natural stress reliever. Whether it's a football game with friends or a run around your neighbourhood, keep your body active.

And don't forget to fuel your body with healthy foods. Diets rich in Omega-3 such as fish, chia seeds, algae and fermented foods like yoghurt have been found to help with stress reduction.

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Talk to someone you trust about your feelings, whether it's a close friend, family member, or . You're not alone in this. Remember, a problem shared is a problem half solved.

This is a method where you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Meditating and breathing exercises can help relieve stress.

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If your stress feels overwhelming, there's no shame in seeking help from a counsellor or psychologist. Most institutions like schools offer free counselling services to students.

Remember, it's okay to feel stressed. Understanding that everyone goes through periods of stress is the first step. Identifying the source, taking care of your health, seeking support, and practising mindfulness can manage and reduce your stress levels.

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Finally and most importantly, never forget there are people out there who care about you and want to help. You're not alone.

Editor's Note: If you or someone you love needs professional mental healthcare, dial *702*30# and follow the prompts, or download the Mindful Kenya app. To encourage free & open interaction with their specialists the organisation guarantees anonymity when you seek its services.

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