Top Tips to Cope With Stress
There are various ways in which we all tend to use to cope with stress. Some of the methods we can use are much healthier and more helpful than others. Moreover, once we can identify which way we use to cope with stress, we can change this to another method that will allow us to cope with stress better.
What Triggers Stress?
Stress can be triggered by things that happen in our lives. We can become overwhelmed when we have too many responsibilities and are under a lot of pressure. On the other hand, we can also become stressed when we do not have enough to be responsible for in our lives. Likewise, when we do not have control of a situation, significant changes are happening, or we may experience periods of stress during times of uncertainty.
Four Main Ways We Use to Cope with Stress:
- Avoidance: Sometimes, it can be hard to accept the stress that we are confronted with and avoiding the situation can seem like the easiest way to reduce stress. However, avoidance causes more stress, and we should, in contrast, strive for stress management. In other words, often avoidance delays dealing with the stress and will usually make it worse.
- Denial: It is hard to accept the truth when we do not want to, so often, we deny it. Denial is the process of burying thoughts and feelings that we want to avoid into our subconscious. Doing so allows us to become unaware of them. However, this can harm us because it prevents us from overcoming the problem or takes a long time.
- Competition: This is possibly the worst way to cope with stress. It avoids combatting the issue and using it to boast to others how bad we feel as if it is a competition.
- Learning and using: In truth, our problems are how we learn and make us thrive in life. In short, by learning from experience, we can develop better ways to cope with stress and become more resilient.
How Stress Can Negatively Impact Us
Stress can impact both our physical and mental health. When we are stressed, we can feel a range of negative emotions. For example,
- Less motivation
We can behave differently than usual to cope with stress. Many people turn to drug and alcohol misuse, tobacco use, and overeating or undereating. Similarly, we may behave differently by having angry outbursts, exercising less often, and socialising less.
Some examples of how stress can affect our physical health are:
- Muscle tension
- Problems sleeping
- Changed sex drive
- Stomach cramps
- Lowered immune system
- Heightened blood pressure
- Can lead to coronary heart disease
- Can lead to miscarriage or premature labour for pregnant women
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Healthily managing stress is critical to ensuring that you can maintain good mental health. In fact, doing so enables you to lead a balanced life full of happiness and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. Below are some examples of ways to cope with stress healthily.
Exercise allows you to clear your thoughts and improve your mental wellbeing. Also, being active increases chemicals in your brains, called endorphins, which make you feel good. For that reason, keeping active not only helps with your physical health but also your mental health.
When you eat well, you feel better and are more equipped to cope with stress. Foods that are bad for your physical health often harm your mental health. For instance, some of these foods include those high in sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. Instead, replace these with healthy foods. For example, include fruit and vegetables and high protein foods. Equally important is that you should not skip meals. Thus, eating regular meals allows you to maintain your energy levels and prevents you from becoming irritable and tired.
By keeping in contact with friends and family and even meeting new people, you can gain a sense of belonging. Therefore, you will build your self-worth as you feel valued by others. Accordingly, by forming relationships with others, you create a support network that will support you when you have negative feelings. Therefore, you will be able to confide in them as a way to cope with stress.
Mindfulness is all about being present and aware of the current moment in time. Therefore, this will help to cope with stress as you are not worrying about the past or future. You can practice mindfulness in a range of ways, for example:
- Breathing exercises
- Body scanning
Tapping is also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It is a self-help therapy that allows you to cope with stress by tapping on your body's meridian points. As well, while you tap, you should repeat a reminder phrase that will enable you to express self-acceptance. Thus, the process will allow you to relax as energy can move around the body more freely. There are 9 points which you should tap on, which are:
- The karate chop point
- The beginning of the eyebrow
- The side of the eye
- Under the eye
- Under the nose
- Above the chin
- Above the collarbone
- Under the arm
- On the top of the head
Learn That Saying No is OK
Sometimes, we take on too much for us to handle. An excellent way to cope with stress is to acknowledge when we have enough on our plate and decide to put our needs first. As a result of taking on too much, we can become overwhelmed. Therefore, by learning to say no, you can reduce stress and become more content.
Allow Yourself More Time
Rather than leaving yourself pushed for time during the day, leave yourself extra time for each task. For example, get up 15 minutes before you have to in the morning. Doing so will give you more time, so you are not worrying about being late or having too many tasks to do simultaneously.
Keep a Diary
By keeping a diary for each of your plans, you can better organise your time. Therefore, you will see busy periods coming up in your schedule and plan for them. Consequently, you will be better able to cope with stress as you will feel more prepared and less anxious about upcoming tasks.
Have a Good Night's Sleep
It is essential to get enough sleep, at least 7 hours per night. The reason for this is because we need to let our body's recharge from our busy schedules. A night of good night sleep is vital for good health as a lack of sleep can affect your memory and mood. In brief, you are more likely to live a happier and healthier lifestyle by having a good sleep schedule. As a result, you will be able to cope with stress better as you are well-rested.
Make More Time for You
You are the most crucial person in your life, and prioritising your mental health is vital to leading a happy life. Understandably, it would help if you dedicated some of your time to doing what you enjoy. Spending time on yourself could include simple things, like watching some TV, reading a book or doing some gardening. On the other hand, you could take up a new hobby, leading to a greater sense of achievement as you broaden your horizons.
What is Good Stress?
There is good stress, which can be referred to as Eustress. Best of all, good stress can be a motivator and empower you to succeed. It makes you work harder and improves your performance. This sort of stress can feel exciting and is short-term. Examples of when you may feel this stress include when you have got a new job or promotion, when you are getting married are going on holiday.
In conclusion, stress can be a positive thing. However, we need to be able to acknowledge when we are experiencing too much bad stress. As a result, we become better at learning to cope with stress, and we, therefore, become more resilient. Consequently, we will not struggle as much with a similar situation in the future. However, it is essential to adopt healthy methods to cope with stress to maintain good mental health.
Written by Amy Bamford
What are ten ways to cope with stress?
- Stay active
- Eat healthily
- Prioritise socialising
- Practise mindfulness
- Practise tapping
- Don't take on too many tasks
- Schedule extra time for each task
- Keep a diary
- Sleep at least 7 hours per night
- Make more time for yourself
What are unhealthy ways to cope with stress?
Unhealthy ways to cope with stress are drug and alcohol misuse, tobacco use, overeating or undereating, socialising less and exercising less often.
What triggers your stress?
- Too many or not enough responsibilities
- During times of uncertainty
- When we don't have control over a situation
- When significant changes are happening
What type of stress is good stress?
Good stress is also known as Eustress, which causes us to become motivated and excited rather than anxious and depressed.