We all respond to and manage our stress differently. In today’s society, there is no way to have a stress-free life; there is no secret cure to stress. However, there are ways we can manage our stress and learn to control our reactions to stressful situations.
Stress comes in many different forms. There are the daily stressors like bills, children, schedules, work issues and so on. Then there are stressful major life events such as the death of a loved one, losing a job, moving, and having a child. While these stressors vary in intensity, they can often be managed in similar ways.
Often people will resort to unhealthy coping techniques, such as drinking, doing drugs, binge eating, not eating enough, sleeping too much, or taking their stress out on others. While these techniques may provide temporary relief from the stress, it does not allow you to move forward and manage the stress.
There are many strategies you can try that are healthy ways of coping with and managing your emotions during a stressful time:
- Exercise regularly – Dance, walk, take a class, join a gym, or find something else you enjoy.
- Enjoy social activities – Go out for dinner with your partner or friends, reach out to family and friends to let them know of the stressful situation, ask for help, and engage with people socially.
- Avoid other stressors – While this may be easier said than done, it’s important not to over-extend yourself, especially in a time of stress. You will need to learn how to say “No,” avoid people who stress you out or who precipitate the stress, and control your environment. You need to take note of your triggers and avoid those if at all possible.
- Express your feelings instead of keeping them inside.
- Accept the things you cannot change and learn how to alter your responses to the stress. Reframe your perspective, look at the big picture, and adjust your expectations.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In times of stress, different strategies will help different people, and the right solution for you will depend on the severity of the stress.
Some people find it quite helpful to speak to a professional about how to implement these strategies and to debrief about the stressful event. Stress can be managed. It is important to notice your signs and symptoms and nip them in the bud before they reach their boiling point.