How do you cope?

Healthy ways to cope with stress

Stress hits us all in life, and while a little stress is good — it keeps us focused and motivated — too much of it and it can grind our lives to a complete halt.


When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed-out, you may become paralyzed and unable to do much of anything.


Almost anything that affects your daily life, work or relationships can cause stress. Even seemingly small issues can cause stress if they go on for a long time. Some people are more affected by stress than others. It can depend on factors such as your personality, upbringing, your work and home life. You’re not born knowing how to deal with stress. Instead, you slowly learn over time what does and doesn’t work for you—mostly.


Worries will probably come back, trying to hijack your mind. Be determined not to let that happen. Resist worrying about anything you can’t change. Let it go. With time, this becomes easier.

There are two parts to coping. One is being able to tolerate stress: to function reasonably well in stressful situations and get through them. The second part is recovering: getting back to normal when the stressful situation is over.


Just as bad are unhealthy coping methods to deal with stress. Turning to food, alcohol or drugs often just turns one set of problems into another that can balloon out of control. It’s better to avoid those unhealthy coping mechanisms from the start, and find good ways to keep your stress under control.


Below are some simple, effective and healthy ways to help you cope with stress and feel better.


Try to confront what causes your stress


Try to confront these issues and try to figure out if there are ways to manage them; in short, try to adapt to the stress. Remember, not all stress can be avoided; shrugging these issues under the rug may worsen the circumstance. Running away from problems won’t do you any good, right?


For instance, if you get stressed because of work deadlines, maybe you can ask for help from a colleague, try to manage your time properly, or ask for a deadline extension. If overwhelming family responsibilities cause you to stress, talk to your partner about it. Changing a stressful situation is possible; you just need to know how to confront these issues.


Talk to Someone


We’ve got family and friends in our life for a purpose — to have someone to talk to. Life is hard as it is, but it gets even worse when you handle your troubles on your own. When you’re going through a stressful situation in life, talk to a person you trust. This will help in decreasing your emotional distress and reducing stress.


When you talk to someone about your feelings, this will help you see the situation more clearly and sort through the problem with a different insight. Who knows? Your loved one may be the solution to your problems and help soothe your stress level.


Also know, there is no shame in seeking professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist. They are professionals who can provide life-changing help; don’t hesitate to seek them out if you or someone who cares about you thinks you should.


Time Management


The never ending 'To Do” list can have us all feeling overburdened at times and this is a common cause of stress. Once we all accept the fact that we can’t do everything at once and start to prioritize, the stress will decrease.


Make a list of the things that you need to do and then order them by legitimate priority. Some things on your “To Do” list could possibly be delegated to others leaving the higher priority tasks to be handled by you personally. Also document the task that must be done now versus next week or month.


Don’t forget to give yourself some cushion on the completion times to deal with the unexpected as well as give yourself some time for your own relaxation.


Exercising


One of the best ways of getting out of our head when dealing with stress is to instead, come into the body.


Exercising is a powerful tool in redirecting our energy into something that is not only healthy for us, but also distracting. Moving the body floods our system with endorphins, which are natural painkillers that help with mood, sleep, and reducing irritability. Finding the right exercise for you is entirely open to what stressors you’re facing.


Change what you can; let go of what you can’t.


Learn to play a strong mental game. If something is stressing you out, first figure out what you can do about it. Make a simple plan and then implement it, one step at a time. If there’s something troubling you that you can’t do anything about, practice letting it go.


Worries will probably come back, trying to hijack your mind. Be determined not to let that happen. Resist worrying about anything you can’t change. Let it go. With time, this becomes easier.


Prioritize Your Competing Values and Interests


You can do anything, but not everything. When you have multiple passions, it's hard to accept that you can't always juggle work, personal and creative projects, extra education, housework, friendships, errands, meeting with the accountant and electrician, "me" time, dance class, book club and write that novel all at once.


You don't have to give up the things you love. Just realize that you can't do everything at once. And you're not 'losing out' by putting dream #4 on hold to work on dreams #1, #2 and #3 - you're making yourself more likely to succeed at them all.

I encourage you to come up with a customized “stress toolkit” for yourself. Have a look through this list of suggestions, and pick the things that appeal to you most, or those that would be easiest for you to implement.


Think again of the unhelpful stress-relievers you commonly turn to, and decide how you might exchange them for a healthier habit (for example, making a cup of your favorite herbal tea after a tough day, instead of pouring yourself a glass of wine).


There are two parts to coping. One is being able to tolerate stress: to function reasonably well in stressful situations and get through them. The second part is recovering: getting back to normal when the stressful situation is over.


Life goes so much better when your coping strategies make things better, instead of making things worse.


Stress is a common ailment in most of our society. Whether it’s work, family life, or social dealings, we tend to carry stress in one form or the other. However, it is pretty simple to de-stress with simple techniques and prevent similar things from happening again.


If you need help developing your stress tool-kit, connect with a Lotus Theory therapist today.