Discrimination: Coping With The Overlooked Stress It Causes
Exercise. The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Get social support. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your works woes with one of them.
Meditate. Meditation and prayer helps the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.
These strategies may be helpful, however it is important to recognize when you are unable to cope alone. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage to face the challenges ahead.
Dr. Erlanger Turner, often referred to by his clients as Dr. Earl, is a licensed psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston Downtown. Visit his website at http://www.drerlangerturner.com. You can follow Dr. Turner on Twitter @DrEarlTurner for daily post on psychology, mental health, and parenting.