Stress Management: 13 Coping Strategies on How to Deal With Stress

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Stress is an inevitable part of human life. It’s a normal reaction to difficult life issues like problems at work, arguments with a family member, or even money problems.

However, you must learn to control your emotions and how you react in stressful situations that might be beyond your control. In this post, we’ve provided a comprehensive guide on stress management and how to reduce stress’s effects on your overall health.

If you’re wondering what might be causing your chronic stress and how to deal with stress in your everyday life, you’ve got to read through this blog post.

how to deal with stress

What is Stress Management?

Stress management is about sticking to the right habits or techniques that can help you deal with stress. It offers ways to reduce the negative effects of stress on your overall health.

While you can’t always have things under control, having the right habit can help you manage stress while ensuring that you live a more balanced and healthy life.

From changing your lifestyle to embracing gratitude and mindfulness, there are so many stress management techniques and strategies that you can leverage to reduce stress.

What Causes Stress?

The cause of stress might differ from person to person, which is normal. For some people, it could be an emergency that requires urgent attention. One might also experience stress when dealing with struggles in relationships, work, or even everyday life issues.

You can also experience stress due to financial worries, unemployment, bereavement, serious illness, or relocation. If you are also planning to make a career transition or probably make a life-changing decision, you might also have to deal with the stress of that.

Knowing your stress triggers is crucial to stress management. So, here are a few stress triggers:

Excessive Pressure From Work

Maintaining a work-life balance remains a major challenge in the adult life. Dealing with excessive workloads while balancing them with other responsibilities is a major cause of stress.

You might want to ask yourself if you’re genuinely happy at work or if your working environment is affecting your mental health. This kind of stress causes burnout, depression, increased anxiety levels, and other mental health conditions.

how to deal with stress

Financial Worries

Debt and financial struggles are considered major stressors. For people trying to get a living in an economy with a high cost of living and inflation, things can be very difficult.

Financial struggles also cause chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. This cause has also been highlighted as one of the many reasons why people attempt suicide.

Whether it is a college debt or inability to meet your financial targets, financial struggles can also be a cause of stress.

Relationship Struggle

Another cause of stress is relationship struggles. It could be stress from raising children or issues from one’s partner, parents, or colleague at work.

Situations like family crises, illness, minor arguments, or the loss of a loved one can impact your stress levels.

Effects of Stress on Your Overall Health and Possible Signs to Look Out For

Constant stress profoundly affects an individual’s mood, attitude, well-being, and mental and physical health. A study shows that stress can lead to less concentration, poor brain function, irritable bowel movement, and atrophy of the brain mass.

However, here are some of the major mental and physical symptoms and effects of stress you may have:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of sleep or poor sleeping habits
  • Muscle tension
  • Constant mood swings
  • Chest pains and high blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Excessive alcohol intake or drug use
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness

13 Effective Ways to Manage and Reduce Stress

Now that you’ve identified the possible causes of stress in your life and how it can greatly affect your physical and mental health, you need to deal with it head-on with the right management techniques.

Here are a few ways to deal with stress in your daily life:

Eat a Healthy Diet

Whether you’re faced with stressful situations or not, a well-balanced diet is essential for your physical and mental health.

Well-nourished bodies tend to cope better with stress as you’re energized with the adequate proportion of nutrients needed to carry out your daily activities.

Eating a healthy diet also provides your brain with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly.

You should avoid the intake of processed foods and ensure you eat healthy, irrespective of how busy you might be. According to WHO, a healthy diet includes:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes (lentils and beans)
  • nuts and whole grains

Prioritize Self-care

No one can love you like you love yourself. Self-care is a proven strategy individuals need to cope with stress and stay mentally fit.

Self-care doesn’t mean you’re selfish. Rather, it means you value your physical and mental health and will do anything to ensure you are in the best health state.

Here are some simple self-care tips you can practice to relieve stress:

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts every day
  • Practice gratitude
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Do regular exercise
  • Spend time in nature
  • Take care of your body
  • Engage in activities you enjoy (hobbies)

Aromatherapy is another self-care technique that can help you with anxiety and stress relief.

Practice Deep Breathing

Whenever you feel pressured or nervous, deep breathing can help you calm your stress hormones. Focusing on your breathing can also help you relax and take your mind off your worries for a while.

Take your time breathing in and out for relaxation. You can even make things better by making use of your imagination to think of your favorite memories or loved ones while taking deep breaths.

Deep breathing can also help reassure you that everything is safe, which in turn reduces your stress levels.

Spend Time with Supportive People

Spending time with support systems like your family and friends can help you lower stress and overcome any stressful situation.

Whenever you’re feeling stressed, you can talk to your best friend or a family member you can always confide in. Let them know what you’re going through so they can show you the optimum love and care you need to navigate that stressful state you’re in.

You don’t have to bottle it all in, as it can pose a threat to your mental health. You can also create time to go on vacation with your family and enjoy the serenity of wherever you decide to spend your break.

Get Enough Sleep

While you might not be able to control the things that cause stress, you want to prioritize a good night’s sleep. You need to ensure that you get at least seven hours of sleep at night to help you calm your mind and body.

If you’re struggling with sleep, you can practice meditation and avoid stressful situations and activities. Also, keeping a regular bedtime schedule can help you create the habit of sleeping early.

Avoid any form of distraction or anything that can disrupt your peaceful rest.

Engage in Regular Physical Exercise

Putting your body to work is a good way to deal with stress and focus on the present moment. It doesn’t matter how many minutes you spend exercising daily, every bit of physical activity counts in dealing with stress.

Here are some physical exercises to help relieve stress:

  • Dancing
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Aerobics
  • Walk in the park
  • Cycling

Try Journaling

Journaling should be a part of your everyday life. Whether you’re trying to gain clarity about what’s going on in your life or you just want to keep track of your daily activities, the importance of journaling cannot be overemphasized.

If you want to identify the stressors in your life and learn how to deal with them, you should try keeping a stress journal. With a stress journal, you can write down the cause of your stress and notice the common triggers. Then, you’ll know how to go about managing it.

Limit Screen Time

It’s no news that spending excessive time on your phone can affect your mental health, causing conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Also, the light from the screen causes repeated stress on your central nervous system. Regardless of whether you are spending time on your phone working or for entertainment, reducing your screen time can also help reduce stress.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Unhealthy habits like alcoholism, excessive use of stimulants, using illegal drugs, and smoking make managing stress difficult. These habits can also affect your overall health, resulting in health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and nervous system breakdown.

To manage your stress hormones, you want to avoid these unhealthy habits. Whether it is your overreliance on drugs or smoking, avoiding them can help reduce stress.

If you’re used to dealing with stress using alcohol or drugs or you eat lots of junk food to relax, these are unhealthy habits that only cause chronic stress.

Other unhealthy habits include: sleeping too much, procrastinating, distractions, and transferring aggression on others.

Practice Mindfulness

Dwelling too much on negative thoughts during stressful situations doesn’t make things better. That’s why practicing mindfulness is important.

Practicing mindfulness helps you focus on the present moment while finding the answers you need to manage stress. Mindfulness also teaches you how to be calm under pressure instead of being overwhelmed, judgmental, or reactive.

You can practice mindfulness by observing and filtering your thoughts to focus on the good ones. Instead of worrying about the future, you can focus intently on the present tasks.

Focusing more on the present is a good way to manage stress.

Learn Time Management

Another way to deal with stress is to learn how to manage your time effectively and efficiently. This will help you prioritize your daily activities and do the right thing at the right time while avoiding procrastination.

To manage your time, you want to have a to-do list that will keep you organized and get the day’s tasks done on time.

Set Healthy Boundaries

It would help if you learned how to set healthy boundaries, especially when you feel stressed. This will help protect your mental health and well-being.

Try to create boundaries with people who add to your stress level. Even if they’re your family members or close friends, limit your relationship and time spent with them if you value your health.

You can also choose to say “No” to unannounced visits and impromptu plans that may not sit well with you.

Setting healthy boundaries is one of the healthy ways you can manage stress.

Seek Professional Help

If you keep finding it hard to manage stress after trying the previous tips, then you may want to seek the help of a mental health professional.

When your stressors persist, it may lead to chronic stress, which can put you at risk of some mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.

Your mental health therapist is in the right position to provide you with the stress management and relaxation techniques you need to deal with stress.

Other Ways to Manage Stress

Here are some simple ways you can manage stress without hurting yourself or anyone around you. They include

Avoid Unnecessary Stress

You can manage your stress levels by avoiding unnecessary situations or pressures that can trigger stress. It could be as simple as ignoring calls that might stress you out or avoiding anyone who tends to put you into a stressful situation.

Also, you can stay away from the news if you tend to hear so much bad news that fuels your negative thoughts. If you are feeling tired or you feel doing certain activities like grocery shopping adds to your stress levels, you can look for an alternative.

Consider Prioritizing Tasks

Getting a to-do list or planning your time can also help you manage stress. This way, you can focus on present tasks without having your mind everywhere or multitasking.

Working under pressure isn’t a flex. It affects your health and also causes stress. Hence, it is important to prioritize tasks. You can also delegate tasks to other people or eliminate time-wasting tasks that you can do without.

Embrace Your Imperfection

Perfectionism is a major source of stress, depression, anxiety, impostor syndrome, and so on. Instead of trying so hard to be perfect, focus on improving yourself. Set reasonable standards for yourself without putting yourself on the edge.

Avoid Trying to Control the Uncontrollable

Realizing that you won’t always have things under control will save you a lot of stress that can affect your emotional and mental health. You don’t want to stress over things that you can’t control.

You can’t control people’s opinions or attitudes towards you and you can’t always avoid any emergency from happening. What matters is that you maintain gratitude through any circumstances, seeing it as an opportunity instead of a setback.

Wrapping Up

Though not all stress can be avoided, stress is a constant thing everyone needs to pass through. However, with the tips explained above, you can be sure to manage and deal with any stressful situation in a healthy way.

To effectively deal with stress, you want to eat a healthy diet, prioritize self-care, exercise regularly, practice mindfulness, try journaling, set healthy boundaries, avoid unhealthy habits, seek professional help, and practice deep breathing.

Lastly, you want to find a balance between work and family, prioritize activities that help you relax, and stay optimistic. Stress management requires you to be more intentional about your mind, heart, and actions because they can impact your overall health.

Remember, your health matters a lot, do well to disengage from any task that may stress you.

Hope you found this content helpful. Share your thoughts on how to deal with stress in the comment.

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