Top 18 Experts Share Their Best Strategy For Optimizing Their Mental Health & Reduce Daily Stress

Kryss Shane

Kryss Shane, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW

ThisIsKryss.com is an introduction to all of the ways that I can help clients and companies to become more culturally competent, more self-aware, and better able to hire and market to LGBT customers and employees! On ThisIsKryss.com, a visitor can learn more about improving their business and personal goals through learning the skills required to reach the LGBT market without risking boycotts for poor word choices or advertising. ThisIsKryss.com opens the gates to a market that many worry about misunderstanding; through work with me, I’ll educate, train, and consult with those who see the untapped professional growth potential and just need a guide to navigate through these sometimes murky waters of equality and appropriate wording!

My best strategy for optimizing your mental health & reducing daily stress is to breathe with intention. We all breathe automatically but how often have you thought about your breath? If, once an hour, you take 20 seconds to close your eyes, breathe in a slow deep breath through your nose and then out through your mouth, it would give your body a chance to release tension and it would give your mind the cue that the stress you are carrying CAN be managed. Try it with me right now! Breathe in through the nose and imagine taking in all of the air from your lungs and breathing so deeply that your belly button moves and tries to touch your spine. Count to 5 in your mind as you breathe in. Hold that breathe in and count to 3. Now release the breath through your mouth as slowly as you can. Set your phone alert or an alert on your computer to remind you to do this every hour. Give it a day or two and see the difference in your body and in your mental acuity!

chris-manak

Chris Manak

Chris Manak is Australia’s leading dating coach for men, specialising in helping men to meet the women that they want to meet and developing true confidence in dating.

I believe that the best way to beat stress daily is to pre-empt it, and the best strategy that I know of to do this is DAILY meditation. Not “Oh I meditate sometimes” or “I close my eyes on the train to work” but putting aside time specifically to meditate, every day.

How do you do this? Every morning, set your phone alarm for 20 minutes, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Then just wait. Let your brain do whatever it’s going to do – don’t TRY to meditate – just let your brain do its thing while you wait, relax and observe the thoughts. You can focus on your breath if you like. Just don’t move until that alarm goes off. I don’t suggest using Apps because they are just another form of stimulation.

It’s hard because it’s effective (nothing good comes easy). With daily practice, this will massively impact your day to day life. Doing it here and there will be about as effective as going to the gym here and there – i.e. it won’t be effective.

Personally I meditate right after my morning coffee because I find the caffeine hugely benefits my practice. I’ve done this for 7 years and it has massively contributed to my success.

Carolyn Scott

Carolyn Scott

The Healthy Voyager, aka Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, is the creator and host of The Healthy Voyager web series, site, and overall brand. An award winning healthy, special diet and green living and travel expert, holistic nutritionist, plant based vegan chef, best-selling cookbook author, media spokesperson, sought after speaker, consultant and television personality, Carolyn Scott-Hamilton is a respected figure in the world of healthy lifestyle and travel as well as special diet cooking and nutrition. The Healthy Voyager aims to help people live well, one veggie at a time!

Self care is extremely important and there are several simple ways to optimize your mental health and reduce daily stress. 1) Get enough sleep – sleep is essential to healthy mood and stress levels so making sure you budget in the right amount of sleep and stick to a routine will be very helpful 2) Take a break – we all juggle so many things and rarely take time for ourselves. Budgeting in time daily for a “me” break is crucial to whole self care. Be it a 5 minute walk, meditation break, alone time to read a book, have coffee with a friend or whatever it might be, don’t be so hard on yourself, take that break! 3) a healthy, balanced diet free of sugar, stimulants and processed foods – a whole plant based diet with plenty of water will help keep your mood and stress levles in check as well as your overall health!

Carmel-Jones

Carmel Jones

Relationship and sex counselor located in Philadelphia, PA.

The most effective ways to reduce daily stress are to take regular breaks from the hustle of daily routine and to maintain an active, healthy sex life.

The NLRB mandates rest breaks at work for a reason – studies show that breaks can prevent decision fatigue and improve productivity and creativity. Prolonged attention to a particular task tends to hinder performance. We’ve all felt the heavy eyes after paying attention to one particular thing for too long. That’s when it’s time to take a break. Think of the body as a battery – it requires recharging. Sleep is the primary charger, but the mind and body requires some extra help along the way during the day. When taking a break, it’s advised to physically remove yourself from wherever you are – if you work on a computer all day, a ‘break’ is not surfing the web. It’s going on a walk. Real breaks, not pauses.

As for maintaining a healthy sex life to reduce stress, a recent Scottish study published in the journal Biological Psychology found that sexual activity helps regulate blood pressure during stressful times. Sex raises endorphins and other neurotransmitters. These biochemicals help keep the body, and therefore the mind, in balance.

Dr-Sarah-Brewer

Dr Sarah Brewer

I am a GP and medical nutritionist with degrees in medicine from Cambridge University, and a masters degree in nutritional medicine. My website, DrSarahBrewer.com helps improve your health through nutritional approaches, herbal medicines and vitamin, mineral or other supplements.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is one of the best supplements to help you relax, lift your mood and promote general feelings of wellbeing. Cannabidiol helps to reduce muscle tension, restlessness and anxiety. It also helps you achieve a good night’s sleep by supporting refreshing REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Cannabidiol works in a natural way by enhancing the effects of brain chemicals such as serotonin without stimulating the receptors (CB1 and CB2) that make marijuana psychoactive and addictive. CBD is therefore non-addictive and does not produce a high. CBD is one of the fastest growing well-being supplements in both the US and the UK. As CBD is oil soluble, it is usually mixed with olive oil or hemp oil to aid absorption. CBD that is blended with hemp oil has a strong taste. Many people find it more pleasant to take in the form of capsules rather than as an oil or spray that you hold in the mouth. Some people use cannabidiol as a nootropic to improve focus and help you think straight. However, other more effective supplements are available for this, such as blends containing L-theanine, Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, phosphatidylserine and B vitamins. CBD does interact with several prescribed drugs, so if you are taking any medicines always check with a doctor or pharmacist first.

Mindy Gorman Plutzer

Mindy Gorman Plutzer

Mindy Gorman-Plutzer brings 23 years of nutritional counseling experience to her New York City based private practice as a Certified Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner, Board Certified Integrative Health Coach, and Certified Eating Psychology Coach. She introduces a unique functional approach to simple and complex health issues relating to or resulting from disordered eating behaviors.

Mindy has combined her extensive life experience with her training to create a system of strategies that are a combination of functional nutrition, practical coaching techniques, results-oriented psychology, body-centered practices, and mind-body science; thus introducing a positive and compassionate resolution to the physical and emotional challenges resulting from chronic and complex health issues.

“My philosophy is to empathetically empower my clients to make nourishing lifestyle and nutritional choices as they learn to connect to the healthy wisdom of their bodies.”

She is the author of The Freedom Promise: 7 Steps To Stop Fearing What Food Will Do TO You and Start Embracing What It Can Do FOR You (Balboa Press). Mindy has appeared on Doctor Radio, Huffington Post Live, ABC news.com/podcast, various syndicated radio shows, written for Mind Body Green, and is a regular contributor to The Fifty Plus Life. She blogs regularly on all subjects related to mind, body and spirit.

I believe in eating real food. I believe food is medicine. I believe hunger and the need for movement should be honored. I believe that a whole foods diet creates and supports the foundation for good health. I believe that our lifestyle choices directly reflect on such a foundation. I believe in long-term, sustainable solutions, not quick fixes. All of the above create the strategies for optimizing mental health and reducing stress. Nutrition in the way of REAL food, not products, will ensure optimal gut health and blood sugar stabilization, both of which have a direct effect on how we manage stress and anxiety. Lifestyle practices such as sleep, adequate and appropriate movement, and nurturing relationships will also play a role in how we interpret and respond to stressful situations. Hungry for more? The Freedom Promise programs offer lasting resolution to ongoing challenges. Let’s continue the conversation.

Dr. Namita Caen

Dr. Namita Caen

I work with couples and individuals who are committed to having a bonded, healthy and intimate relationship in and out of the bedroom. I help them overcome their challenges and create a vibrant and satisfying sex life based on their unique needs and goals.

Our western culture promotes grueling commutes to work where you are then expected to work overtime, eating and drinking unhealthy snacks and sodas to push yourself through the long hours. No wonder we often feel anxious and stressed!

Optimal mental health and reduced stress are the results of regular exercise that include both toning, weights and cardio, a healthy balanced, preferably organic diet, regular restful sleep and…last but not least, time for yourself to decompress and spend time with those you love, doing the things you love to do. Time spent on favorite activities and hobbies is a necessary component of a healthy balanced and creative life. Time spent in the company of friends and family can nurture a sense of belonging and togetherness that is so often lacking in a culture where many people can feel lonely or isolated.

Exercise, organic healthy food and restful sleep all promote different hormones in the body that help us feel happier, healthier and more relaxed. Physical touch, sex and orgasms also release the feel good hormones that contribute to our sense of joy and well being. Whether you are single or in a relationship, make sure to include regular touch in your life. It may be as simple as petting your dog or your cat, receiving a therapeutic massage, hugging a friend, or making love to your spouse.

Jacqui Olliver

Jacqui Olliver

I’m Jacqui Olliver, Psycho-Sexual Relationship Consultant at End the Problem, published author and recognised authority on solving the emotional and sexual issues which contaminate relationships. I’m passionate about helping people develop new mindsets and strategies to overcome life challenges. Through my work, I conceptualized the Emotional Reset Technique™

Resolve Emotions When They’re Triggered

As humans, we have a great need to fit in and to be acknowledged, heard and accepted. We often modify our behaviour to try and meet this need. Many stress and mental health issues occur when we mentally interrupt and hijack the body’s natural processes. This frequently happens with emotions. An emotional response is an internal physical reaction to an unwanted thought or situation. Emotional responses are generally triggered 40+ times per day.

Much of our mental and emotional stress is caused by thinking about what we don’t want. Unwanted thoughts will often trigger emotional responses such as anger, frustration, anxiety, disappointment, sadness, among others, which most people have been conditioned since childhood to ignore or suppress. The suppression is usually in order to pacify others around us and those we look up to – and is in response to our need to fit in.

Unfortunately, this suppression leads to an imbalance in the body’s natural processes which would otherwise bring us back into a state of mental and emotional balance. In the long run, this causes mental health issues as well as other stress related disorders.

Emotional intelligence is about identifying what emotion is, why it’s there and what learning is associated with it.

By consciously enabling the associated, intense neurochemical reaction of an emotional response to take place whenever it’s triggered you can then apply intelligence and logic to deal with your situation, from a relaxed and balanced state. This is your best strategy for optimizing your mental health and reduce daily stress and is fully explained in my Emotional Reset Technique.

Namita Kulkarni

Namita Kulkarni

Yoga teacher and writer. I run the Yoga & travel blog Radically Ever After, ranked one of the top 50 Yoga blogs worldwide. I’ve taught Yoga in 4 countries over the last 8 years. Teaching Yoga to me is a way of sharing my practice and guiding students to experience Asana as breath-centered moving meditations.

Restorative Yoga is the most effective strategy I’ve found to optimize mental health and reduce daily stress. One of the definitions of stress is an overuse of the sympathetic nervous system. In Restorative Yoga, the idea is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system tasked with “rest and digest”, immunity, long-term functioning and repair. As opposed to the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight department) which most of modern life revolves around. We value ourselves in terms of our productivity on any given day, far more than we value ourselves intrinsically. Restorative Yoga has a way of introducing one to the state of being without any doing, and a sense of time that erases the constant impulse to “hurry up”. One of the biggest causes of stress is our own perception of time, and the way we are so cut off from natural rhythms thanks to an over-dependence on technology. The more we shift into parasympathetic dominance, time becomes something to savour rather than chase. While most people equate sleep with rest, the two are not interchangeable. Rest is a precursor to the kind of sleep that relaxes. We need rest, in and of itself, regardless of how much sleep we may be getting. While a lot of modern Yoga seems to have turned into a mat race with the performance of challenging postures as the yardstick, Restorative Yoga takes a different standpoint. It asks you to drop your goals and judgements and let yourself be. Propped by blankets, bolsters, whatever it takes to give your body the message that it can finally relax now. While you take your time to heed the body’s message as you sink into deeper levels of relaxation. Anything that rests your system goes a long way in optimizing your mental health and dissolving daily stress.

Sebastian-Harris

Sebastian Harris

Sebastian is a world traveler, a dating coach and a big fan of meditation. He’s also the author of the book Rise of the Phoenix: How to Get the Hottest Girls in a World that Wants You to Fail. He uses various techniques to reduce stress and anxiety in all his coaching programs.

The first thing I do in the morning is to have a big breakfast that mainly consists of protein. I usually eat two eggs and sometimes chicken breast with a salad. You might laugh, but I once listened to a lecture of the now popular lecturer Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and he suggested that a breakfast that’s rich in fat and protein is ideal for anxious people. Even though I work as a dating coach, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a highly neurotic person. Changing my morning routine from eating cereals to eggs has helped my mental health. You should definitely give it a shot. Another thing I do every morning and every day is to meditate. I usually do it between five and ten minutes. This helps me to calm my mind and to focus. Whenever I’m stressed during the day, I do something that James Altucher, one of my most favorite writers, inspired me to do. I think he calls it his gratefulness list. I usually call it “counting my blessings” but the idea is the same. Whenever I feel stressed, anxious or simply overwhelmed, I remind myself of all the things I’m grateful for. This often leads to an instant mood change. I actually use the same techniques when I coach men to improve their dating skills. I help them to calm their minds with meditation and to get into the mood to talk to women with gratefulness exercises. I hope the tips I shared help a lot of people. You’ll never know if they work unless you give it a chance.

Janine H

Janine H

40+ female beauty and healthy lifestyle blogger. Mother of 3 boys and a Yorkie.

Managing stress with a busy, on the go lifestyle and pressures that come in the corporate world is a conscious daily effort. Every day I find at least 30 minutes where I can be alone to actively think through issues and disconnect from all social media and ties. This time to recharge and get my thoughts in order gives me a better sense of control and the ability to think through challenging situations.

Maria Faires, RD

Maria Faires, RD

Maria Faires, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist, Medical Exercise Specialist, Wellness and Lifestyle coach and a  freelance writer based out of Sammamish and Issaquah, WA.
As the owner of Active Nutrition Fitness & Consulting, Maria provides highly personalized nutrition services, personal training and preventative and post-rehabilitative fitness programming in her private training studio. She also provides Skype, phone and online nutrition counseling and training for remote clients with exceptional service and unsurpassed expertise. Maria leads the industry in the development of cutting edge fitness and nutrition techniques as well as innovative and unique fitness programming. Maria expertly designs every workout, nutrition plan and provides the personal attention, extra motivation, support and accountability that helps her clients achieve optimal performance and health. Contact or read more about Maria at http://www.myactivenutrition.com

Getting outdoors is the best way that I reduce my stress on a daily basis. I have made a habit of getting outside every day in a green space for at least 15 minutes and take the time to breathe deeply and enjoy some quality time with nature. I find that it relieves some of the tension and anxiety that builds during the day.

At least once a week I go for a long hike in the mountains. Studies have shown that there are positive psychological impacts that result from being in the wilderness. I get a cardiovascular workout that helps to produce endorphins and regulate stress. And spending time in the quiet mountains allows me to get away from the stressors of everyday life and instead I can focus on the wonder of nature around me which gives me a deep sense of tranquility. At the end of a hike I feel calmer and more centered.

Dana Vento

Dana Vento

Dana Vento is a Culinary and Travel Expert who travels the world finding the best of the best in resorts, vacation homes, destinations, great eats, and adventures. From bed and breakfasts to spacious vacation homes, luxury hotels, Dana shares what you can expect when you get there. Food is so much a part of travel that it is only natural that culinary travel is part of her stories. For every great vacation spot, there are incredible places to enjoy the local culinary offerings. As an influencer of tourism, Dana seeks the hot spots out and the hidden ones and shares them so you too can experience them.

It’s no wonder that insomnia, stress, and anxiety are part of her life. Travel resets your bodies clock, different beds so many nights, and of course being somewhere new keeps the mind roaming as to ‘what will you find’. Dana has successfully found a way to keep her rest solid, and to manage the anxieties that could complicate her day. Her story is about keeping stress and anxiety to a dull roar while lighting travel on fire!

Lucy Rowett

Lucy Rowett is a Certified Sex Coach and Clinical Sexologist who helps women, men and couples experience their ultimate bliss in the bedroom. She is passionate about sex education as a tool to make the world a happier place.

Stress can really hit your libido. When you are under a lot of stress, sex will be the last thing you want to do, which is why slowing down and focusing on pleasure can help you to feel desire again.

One of the most simple and juicy ways to reduce stress is to slow down and make more time for pleasure, and to focus on pleasurable sensations. Pleasure doesn’t have to just be sexual pleasure– although that is important too! It can mean asking for a foot rub from your partner, taking a luxurious hot bath, paying attention to some delicious food or just noticing the delicious feeling of the sun on your skin. This is why mindfulness is a highly effective tool and something that I recommend to all of my clients. Paying attention to what is going on for you in the here and now, paying attention to your bodily sensations and stopping to notice your thoughts will help take you out of your busy mind and into your body. When you are able to tune into what feels good and make time for more pleasure, this also helps you to feel more pleasure in the bedroom.

Vigga

Vigga

Vigga Wagtberg is a psycotherapist and couples therapist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She helps liberating men and women from the schackles that hold them back from living fully.

Dare to listen to your true desires and true boundaries. Before you decide it’s not realistic to live your everyday life in a way that feels good, meaningful and fun, try to examine if it’s really true. If you want to live your life without stress, it’s not just a question of avoiding living too fast. What really matters, is if your choices are based on your own deepest passion and beliefs or the will of everyone else around you.

Erica Gorman

Erica Gorman

Aloha! I blog at Life as a Running Mom about how fitness has become my go to for making it through the day to day demands of being a working mom who battles depression and anxiety on the side.

I have always battled with self-esteem issues and through the years, I have found running, especially running outside, to be calming and soothing in so many ways. And it is through those runs I was able to process my Dad’s death and grow deeper in my faith. It is through those runs that I returned to the Catholic Church.

Little did I know that the challenge I took in the end of 2011 to run every day in 2012 would lead me to still running every single day today and to becoming my primary “treatment plan” for depression and anxiety.

Many may be ashamed to admit their own struggles with depression and anxiety but I will stand here proudly and say, depression and anxiety almost kicked my booty. I fell into some of the darkest and hardest struggles in my life and even though my faith buoyed me it may have worked against me as I questioned how could I feel this way when I was so abundantly blessed?

Faith doesn’t make you immune to struggles. In fact, the deeper my faith gets the more challenging some of my struggles get but through that all, I see my fitness as a blessing beyond belief. That running and cross training on a daily basis is keeping me off of anti-depressants and helps keep my anxiety attacks at bay….or less intense. And I have had anxiety attacks that left me rushing to the ER for help so this is HUGE!

Each one of us is different so what you do actively with your body to keep your emotions in check may vary from what I do. The trick is to experiment and find out what your happy mix is. I tend to do best emotionally when I work out for at least an hour a day. I can do days with less but those days can’t and shouldn’t string back to back. My emotional well-being will pay the price.

And no longer is it just running. I do a host of cross training programs that I stream on my TV at home. I have a wonderful home gym. Okay, I took over a good chunk of the living room but it is worth it. And I have discovered that on those days when running seems the toughest and my depression looks like it is winning the battle, 6-12 rounds of an MMA style workout punches those feelings out of my way. Maybe it is the jabs, crosses, and kicks or maybe the 30+ minutes of positive affirmations from the instructors powering their way into my mindset while I sweat out all my worries, stresses, etc. and fight my way happy.

Being physically active helps me immensely but I also want to add a word of caution, if you are feeling depressed or anxious, don’t self diagnose and please go get some help. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the counseling and healing retreats I have attended and working with my counselors, I have found the perfect depression and anxiety maintenance program for myself.

Nagma V. Clark

Dr. Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C.

Dr. Nagma V. Clark is a sex and relationship expert and founder of Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. (www.trivalleyrelationshiptherapy.com), a thriving sex therapy & couples counseling practice in the Bay Area. Dr. Clark specializes in helping couples & individuals achieve a fulfilling sexual connection, overcome infidelity, heal from past resentments, learn to love again, strengthen their emotional bond, and become partners in the true sense- have each other’s back, make each other the top priority, become each other’s rock & anchor and learn to love each other unconditionally.

There are two main strategies that are crucial in reducing everyday stress and optimizing one’s mental health. The first strategy is self-care. This means different things for different people- exercise, meditation, yoga, walks in nature etc. Whether your self-care involves going for a run or soaking in a bathtub, find a way to schedule it in your daily calendar.This strategy is especially important for women who are wired to be nurturers and caregivers. Women are more likely to sacrifice self-care in order to fulfill their roles as mothers, wives, daughters, and employees. Self-care trains us to love and care for ourselves which means that we can take better care of others who need us but without sacrificing our own physical and mental well-being.

The second strategy is building and maintaining fulfilling relationships. These connections could be with a trusted group of friends, family members or with your children. The connection with your partner and the quality of your relationship can go a long way in minimizing the negative effects of daily stress. A relationship where both partners have each other’s back, can connect sexually & emotionally and are able to prioritize the relationship and each other over everything and everyone else are more likely to enjoy optimal mental health and a decreased impact of stress on their bodies and minds.

Jessica Bailey

Jessica Bailey

Jessica Bailey has been an active member of the fitness community in NYC for 16 years. Jessica has helped hundreds of clients lose weight, tone up and train for various athletic events.

Exercise! 5-10 minutes does the trick. That post-exercise endorphin rush is one way to sharply cut stress. Try doing Barre exercises. Barre is low impact and easy on the joints. You use your own body weight for resistance to focus on the thigh and seat muscles.