Stressors: Coping Skills and Strategies

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that can lead to substantial physical and mental health issues if not adequately managed. These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in their life. Chronic stress can adversely affect an individual’s wellbeing and lead to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression (Hammen, 2005). Based on this assessment, our coping mechanisms and psychological responses to stress are triggered. The model suggests that coping strategies can be either problem focused or emotion focused. Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free.

healthy ways to cope with stress

Meditating consistently, even for short periods, may help boost your mood and decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety. Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating when you aren’t feeling stressed. Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.

Just relax! Find out how with progressive muscle relaxation techniques

Excessive stress can take a physical toll if it’s not managed correctly. According to the Harvard Health Letter, gender can play a role in how you eat during times of stress. Some research suggests women are more likely overeat due to stress while men turn to alcohol or smoking. In a number of recent studies, volunteers who walked outdoors reported enjoying the activity more than those who walked indoors on a treadmill. The Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal has been a champion of rethinking stress, noting that the right approach can make you smarter and stronger. Her TED talk on the subject, “How To Make Stress Your Friend,” has been viewed 14 million times.

  • For individuals with anxiety disorders, stress and anxiety frequently go hand in hand, triggering one another constantly.
  • But approach it the right way, and it won’t rule your life — it can even be good for you.
  • Your mattress should provide support, space and most of all, comfort.
  • Being chronically stressed may lead you to overeat and reach for highly palatable foods, which may harm your overall health and mood.
  • And it’s not just the big things that can cause stress.
  • Eat healthily, avoid sweets, and exercise regularly.

But, going for a walk in nature might be the best approach when you’re feeling sad. The coping strategies that work for someone else might not work for you. Going for a walk might help your partner calm down. But you might find going for a walk when you’re angry causes you to think more about why you’re mad—and it fuels your angry feelings. So you might decide watching a funny video for a few minutes helps you relax. A healthy habit also includes doing something you love.

Exercise Regularly

It can be hard to find time for yourself in a close relationship, which can cause you to feel suffocated and stressed. It’s essential to dedicate quality time to yourself and the things you enjoy. When there is a problem in one aspect of a relationship, it can spread to other areas and become a source of stress. It’s essential to talk to each other to get to the heart of the issue and work to resolve it. The discomfort caused by inadequate chairs or desks, annoying noises, and even clothing can make you feel stressed.

  • As a result, you’ll get a good night’s sleep, reduce the risk of depression, boost energy levels, and enable your mind to come up with better ways to manage stress levels.
  • Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
  • By Amy Morin, LCSW

    Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author.

  • If stress keeps you up at night, address the cause and add extra meditation into your day to make up for the lost z’s.

Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your overall physical and mental health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. In addition to the physical symptoms of stress, mental and emotional conditions can also take a toll on day-to-day life. Anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks brought on by stress can make it difficult for some to engage in daily life. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take some deep, slow belly breaths. Belly breathing is quick and sure way to turn off your body’s fight-or-flight (stress) response.

How Stress Works

Nutrition is important because stress can deplete certain vitamins, such as A, B complex, C and E. Maintaining proper nutrition not only helps your body feel better, but your mind as well, which allows you to better combat stress. Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s response of fight or flight to a perceived threat. During times of high stress we have a tendency to retreat.

Focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements, for example, or notice how the air or sunlight feels on your skin. Adding this mindfulness element will help you break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that often accompanies overwhelming stress. Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive.

They smiled more and had more-positive body language. People differ in particular styles of coping or prefer to use certain coping strategies over others. These differences in coping styles usually reflect differences in personality.

It can alert you to a problem you need to handle. Talking to someone about your feelings will help you see the situation more clearly and sort out the problem through a different viewpoint. Your loved one may be the solution to your problems and help soothe your stress level. Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. There are many guided meditations available online that can help you find five minutes of centered relaxation. Studies have shown that after just 20 minutes with a therapy dog, patients’ levels of stress hormones drop and levels of pain-reducing endorphins rise.

Unhealthy Coping Skills to Avoid

Putting too much on your plate may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care. Still, people sensitive to caffeine may experience increased anxiety and stress after consuming less caffeine than this, so it’s important to consider your tolerance. Consuming too much may worsen anxiety, according to a 2021 review of literature on the subject. In turn, this may increase stress and anxiety symptoms. Being chronically stressed may lead you to overeat and reach for highly palatable foods, which may harm your overall health and mood.

  • It helps you transform negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • Mindfulness or meditation exercises can help you relax and allow you to approach your negative thoughts and emotions from another vantage point.
  • It can wear you down, drain your energy, and make it harder to get things done.
  • It’s key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react.