How to Cope with Stress
Stress is a part of everyday living. Everyone experiences it in their professional and personal life. Oftentimes, stress is a product of the situation we are in or the world around us. Stress can also be a result of procrastinating or taking on too much responsibility. Whatever the cause of stress, one thing is for sure – it will always exist. In this blog post, we’ll define stress, discuss the signs of stress including how your body may react, and then we’ll highlight a few of the ways you can cope with stress so that you can live a happier and more meaningful life.
Before we begin, let’s explore what stress actually is. There are many definitions of stress but the one we have chosen comes from the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic media center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.
“Stress is the body’s response to a challenge or demand. Everyone experiences stress, which can be triggered by a range of events, from small daily hassles to major changes like a divorce or job loss. The stress response includes physical components such an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts and personal beliefs about the stressful event, and emotions, including fear and anger. Although we often think of it as being negative, stress can also come from positive changes in your life, like getting a promotion at work or having a new baby.”“Stress: Ways to Ease Stress.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/8133-stress-10-ways-to-ease-stress.
How Stress Makes You Feel
When you are stressed, it is possible that you may feel:
Sometimes, these feelings can turn into physical symptoms that can heighten your stress. When you are stressed, you may experience:
- Bloating or diarrhea
- Heart racing or palpitations
- Muscle aches and pains
No one likes to experience these feelings, especially for a prolonged period of time. Fortunately, there are proven ways to cope with stress. When you get stressed, try some of the coping mechanisms in the list below.
Ways to Cope with Stress
- Make time for hobbies and self-care. Activities that you enjoy doing can decrease stress and elevate your mood. Ensure you are making time for the things that bring you joy.
- Use time management skills. If your stress is caused by having too much on your plate then perhaps you can use some time management skills like making lists, prioritizing tasks, and even delegating certain tasks to others.
- Exercise. Exercise can be a valuable tool to reduce stress. Even if it’s not particularly strenuous exercise, a 5-10-minute walk in the fresh air can help stabilize your mood and reduce stress.
- Remove unnecessary sources of stress. If you find yourself experiencing a lot of stress, maybe it’s time to remove some of those things that cause stress like the news, social media, or any other stress triggers that you experience.
- Set boundaries. Sometimes, we have to set boundaries to protect ourselves. If you are stressed, you may need to tell your boss that you can’t handle another project at work, or maybe you trade the party invitation for a night of self-care to unwind.
- Make time to unwind. Perhaps you can take up a mindfulness or meditation practice. Try to engage in ‘low stress’ activities.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. While drugs and alcohol may seem to reduce your stress, they actually have the reverse effect and increase the stress you are already feeling.
- Talk to others. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to talk to trusted family and friends about what you are experiencing. You will be surprised at how much better you feel simply by letting somebody in.
- Eat healthy foods. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are rich in nutrients can help elevate your mood.
- Know when you need additional help. If the stress you are feeling seems overbearing and occurs more often than not, then perhaps it is time to seek professional help. You can talk to a social worker, a psychologist or a counselor.
If you try these coping mechanisms and continue to be overwhelmed by stress, it may be time to talk to a professional. Starting Point is always here to help and we have a fully licensed clinical and medical team. For more information on how to access our services, please click here.
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