4 Stress Management Techniques to Improve Your Mental Health

Everyone deals with stress in today’s fast-paced world. Regardless of your job, relationship status, or number of children, stressful experiences are nearly universal and impact every aspect of your life. Given how intense the effects of these moments can be, learning effective stress management techniques is beneficial and essential for maintaining our mental and emotional well-being.

How Does Stress Impact Health?

Physically, stress triggers your body’s fight or flight response — the biological reaction that helps us perceive whether something is a threat. This leads to an increase in adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone.

The longer your body is exposed to high levels of stress hormones, the higher your risk for a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and weakened immune function. Additionally, stress can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and even fertility. A 2018 review found that, in general, when women participated in some form of psychological or psychiatric treatment to lower stress, researchers saw higher rates of pregnancy.

Chronic stress is also strongly linked to an increased risk of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Although these are already common and experienced by millions of people worldwide, stress makes the risk of more severe cases of these conditions even higher.

But how does something as seemingly simple as stress cause such a large impact on your mental health?

The constant activation of your body’s stress response can disrupt chemical balances in the brain, changing the amount of neurotransmitters released, which impairs mood regulation and contributes to psychological symptoms. For example, the more stressed you are, the less dopamine your brain produces, causing depression. Cognitively, stress also impairs concentration, memory, and decision-making.

Stress Management Techniques to Improve Mental Health

Here are a few of our favorite techniques you can easily incorporate into your life, making extremely stressful days a thing of the past.


Mindfulness involves focusing your attention on the present moment without judgment. During this practice, you observe your thoughts and feelings without overthinking them, thereby reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Research has shown that regular mindfulness practice significantly reduces stress, promotes relaxation, lowers feelings of anxiety or depression, and regulates emotions. It’s also a way to maintain positive mental health changes, preventing relapse.

Meditation is one way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. To start, find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably free from distractions. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, paying close attention to how you inhale and exhale. It’s normal for your mind to wander, but when this happens, you only need to redirect your attention back to your breath. Do this for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the length of your practice as you become more comfortable with it.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

If you aren’t making healthy lifestyle changes to manage stress, now is a great time to start. Whether you try to eat a more balanced diet, get the recommended amount of sleep, or avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption or smoking, you’re helping your body and mind recharge—something needed after years of dealing with heightened stress. You’ll also be better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way.

Although it’s something you probably hear from all health professionals, regular exercise and physical activity are almost guaranteed to improve your mental health. At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day helps the brain release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural mood lifters, reducing stress and increasing your feelings of happiness and relaxation. Even something as seemingly simple as a brisk walk around the neighborhood or vacuuming can have significant stress-reducing effects. Experiment with different activities until you find what works best for you.


Going to therapy is a big step and commitment, but one that significantly improves your mental health. While it takes a lot of courage to reach out to a new therapist and share details about your life, they can help you explore the underlying causes of your stress, identify harmful thought patterns and behaviors, and learn effective coping strategies. Therapy is also a safe, supportive environment to process your stress and the emotions surrounding it. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are two treatment methods that have been extensively researched and confirmed to be effective in treating stress-related conditions.

Some other therapeutic activities you can do at home (or with a therapist) to reduce stress are:

Medication Management

Lastly, medication management is a way to accelerate the stress reduction process. It’s an invaluable part of mental health treatment, especially if you’re dealing with severe or long-lasting stress symptoms. Psychiatric medications are prescribed to help alleviate or reduce symptoms by targeting neurotransmitter imbalances and regulating brain activity. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are two of the most common medications used to manage stress-related conditions.

Finding the right provider for medication management is extremely important. You should work with someone you trust and who listens to your concerns and questions. At Balance Psychiatric Services, our psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioners take a holistic, personalized approach to medication management, monitoring the dosage, efficacy, and potential side effects of any medications you take.

Schedule an appointment or consult with one of our providers today to learn more about how mediation management can be part of your mental health treatment plan!