Whether you’re struggling in the aftermath of a stressful event or you’re someone who suffers from anxiety and depression that make stress a prominent part of your life, you’re going to want to find coping mechanisms for stress. Sometimes, that can feel like a daunting task.
Luckily, there are a lot of coping strategies for stress that you can start implementing today. First, let’s take a look at how the cause of your stress can change the way you handle it.
Problem vs. Emotion
There are two main kinds of stress: the stress caused by an event or a problem and the event caused by your emotions. They’re both important to discuss when it comes to trying to reduce stressful feelings.
An event- or problem- based stressor could be:
- Losing your job
- Going through a breakup
- Losing a loved one
These are moments in time that put a great deal of stress on your shoulders. They’re something you have to actively navigate in order to get through.
Some emotion-based stressors are:
- Worrying about losing a job
- General anxiety
- Stress that you can’t pinpoint to a certain cause
These stressors are a little more complicated to work through, but important to understand. We’ll talk about those first.
Emotion-Based Coping Strategies for Stress
Emotion-based stressors may feel hopeless when you’re in the middle of them. You’re stressed and you aren’t sure exactly why. Usually, this kind of fatigue comes about after we’ve stopped taking care of our basic functions.
The best way to help reduce the stress of this kind is to get back to basics.
Exercise is a great way to help relieve stress. While a regular exercise routine is best for your mind and your body, you can start experiencing reduced stress after just one invigorating workout.
Sometimes our body spends so much time in “fight” mode, we have to let off some “flight” steam in order to ease the pressure.
If you’re feeling especially stressed, sometimes taking a relaxing bath can help. If you’re not a bath person, showers can relieve stress as well.
It’s easy to let ourselves become the last priority in our daily list of things to do. When you deliberately set time aside for yourself, you’re changing that mindset and reducing stress in the process.
Meditation is a life-altering practice. Studies have shown that it helps people suffering from anxiety and depression experience less stressful feelings. It can also help reduce chronic pain, high blood pressure, and countless other benefits.
When you’re feeling particularly stressed, take a look at your environment. Is it neat and orderly? Or, is it cluttered and in disarray?
If you can take a few minutes to tidy up space around you, you might reduce stress. Studies show that a tidy space can lead to a clearer, less stressed mind.
Getting Into Nature
The Japanese participate in a practice called “forest bathing” where they spend time outside in a forest. This is thought to help reduce anxiety on the same level as meditation.
You can couple this benefit of getting out into nature with exercise by going for a hike.
Problem-Based Coping Strategies for Stress
Now that we’ve talked about how to deal with general feelings of stress and anxiety, let’s take a look at how you can reduce the situational stress in your life. If you’re going through something particularly stressful at this time, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the stress you’re feeling.
Ask for Help
No one should go through stressful situations alone. Yes, this includes you!
We love to be able to help our friends and families in their times of need. But, when it comes to asking for help ourselves, we feel shame for needing it.
It’s time to kick this double standard to the curb. Asking for help will lighten the load and can give you a new perspective.
Improve Time Management Skills
If some of your stress is caused by difficulty keeping up with your daily tasks, consider finding a way to manage your time. Not everyone finds the traditional 5 AM wake-up call, stop at the gym before heading to work routine very beneficial.
Set yourself deadlines to get work and chores done and hold yourself to them. It may feel like you’re adding stress on, but when you can finish your daunting tasks, you’re taking them off of your shoulders stress-wise.
Create Achievable To-Do Lists
When you create to-do lists, do you fill them up with things you can conceivably do in a day? Many times, when we create lists, we add on extras so we can motivate ourselves to do more.
But when we don’t have the ability to get things done, it can add to our stress. We look at our unfinished to-do lists and feel stressed out because we didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to.
Instead, only write down what you know you can do in a day. Write down small tasks and cross them off as you finish so you can see your progress.
Learn How to Say No
Finally, one major thing you can do to cut some stress out of your life is learning to say no. You don’t have to stress out about going to your distant relative’s baby shower if you just say no.
It’s okay! You’re allowed to say no. You can only help someone when you are feeling at your very best.
Pouring from an empty cup is a surefire way to tack on unneeded stress.
Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress
Now that you know how to develop healthy coping mechanisms for stress, you can start tackling your days with more confidence and less worry. When you put these coping strategies for stress to work, you’re working towards building your mental health. This is an important part of moving on from stressful situations and feelings.
For more information on how you can improve your mental health, contact us today!