Learn healthier ways to cope with stress

If the methods you use to cope with stress are not contributing to greater emotional and physical health, there may be a need to find healthier ones. There is no single or specific method that works for everyone or every situation therefore you have to explore different techniques and strategies and find out what works best for you.

Get moving

Physical activity helps to reduce and prevent the effects of stress. Any form of physical activity helps in relieving stress and burns away anger, frustration and tension. Exercise releases endorphins that help boosting your mood and in serving as a valuable distraction to daily worries.

The maximum benefit from exercise comes from 30 minutes or more. You can gradually build up the fitness level. It helps you to relieve stress and get you more energetic and optimistic. Even small activities add up. The first step is to get up and moving.

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Connect to others

Social interaction is a quick and efficient way for dealing with stress. Expressing yourself can be very cathartic. Socially engaging with another person face-to-face when listening, talking, making eye contact, quickly calms you down and puts the brake on your defensive responses of stress such as the “fight-or-flight” response. It also releases hormones that reduce your stress. The more isolated and lonely you are, the greater your vulnerability is to stress.

Practice the 4 A’s

Stress is an automatic response in the nervous system but some stressors arise at predictable times such as family gatherings or at a work place, for example. When handling predictable stressors such as these, you can either change your reaction or change the situation. It is helpful to think of the four A's to help you decide which option to choose: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Avoid unnecessary stress: It may not be healthy to avoid stressful situations that need to be addressed. Learn to say “no” when it is needed. Be it your professional or personal life, if you take on more than what you can handle it serves as a perfect recipe for stress. Learn to differentiate between the ‘musts’ and the ‘shoulds’. When it is possible, say ‘no’. Avoid stressful situations and people who you think stress you out. Take charge of your environment.

Alter the situation: If a stressful situation is unavoidable, alter it. This means you change the way you operate and communicate in your everyday life. If something or someone bothers you, learn to express your feelings and be assertive by communicating your concerns in a respectful way. When you ask someone to change the way they behave, be willing to compromise and do the same. If both parties are willing to bend a little, there will be a good chance of finding a middle ground. Poor time management can causes a lot of stress. But planning ahead makes it easier to stay focused.

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