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Feeling overwhelmed? Manage stress with easy exercises

Mental health experts in the Mid-South provide relief to those who need it most.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Make today the day you finally put your mental health first. It's the message mental health specialists here in the Mid-South want to enforce.

Allison White is a supervisor of the Living Well Network at Methodist Le Bonheur. 

She said, "If we are taking care of our bodies, we certainly have to take care of our minds.”

She said she blames the pandemic and the stress of this past year for the influx of patients seeking mental health assistance.

"Our numbers increased approximately 50% from 2019," she said. 

Battling stress can be a life-long fight if we don't address it correctly, health experts say. The good news is, we can manage it.

Relief tactics we all know about include eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, and staying active every day.

"Those are great, and we want to continue to do those. But, over time you might need something extra,” she said. 

Here are four "extra" ways you can manage stress, that you may not have heard about.

First, guided imagery, where you close your eyes and dream up your ideal "happy place" and mentally escape. Mine is on a beach with my fiancé.

Next is positive self talk. Look in the mirror or anywhere and give yourself affirmations.

Then, progressive muscle relaxation, where you guide your breathing by tensing and releasing muscles. For example, breathe in, and squeeze your hands into fists. Then, exhale, and release. Repeat this a few times. 

Finally, laughter, which really is the best medicine, White says.  

If you still feel like you could use some extra help with your stress levels even after trying these, getting connected with a mental health provider is easy.

Head to this website to get connected. 

Anxiety, depression, alcohol and/or substance misuse and abuse make life harder to manage. There are methods and treatment that can help you overcome these issues.Understanding the signs and symptoms that you are struggling with can lead you to a life better than you ever imagined.

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