The modern demands of our lifestyles have left many people living on the edge, trying to balance demanding work schedules, competing for opportunities, worrying about money and raising their children all within a very combative world. No wonder stress is more the rule than the exception today. And that’s why it’s imperative that we cultivate healthy coping strategies to help us manage and minimize its debilitating effects on our well-being. This article will share eight different coping mechanisms that you can use when you’re feeling stressed out so that you don’t hurt your health or relationships.
Coping Strategies to Manage Stress
Below, you will find some coping strategies that can help you manage stress and minimize its debilitating effects on your well-being. These strategies will work for anyone; regardless of their state.
However, it’s important that we better understand what coping strategies are exactly before moving forward.
Coping is a process of managing stressful life events or upheaval in order to cope with, understand, and eventually overcome them. Coping strategies are primarily tools we deploy when faced with an external or physical stressor, with which we attempt to minimize, tolerate, or master the problems in our lives. The coping strategies can be either positive or negative.
For example, it’s common for people to use alcohol or drugs in order to cope with stress, which may provide temporary relief but ultimately makes the problem worse.
On the other hand, meditation and breathing exercises are coping strategies that could be considered more positive since they promote relaxation and a sense of peace.
Remember there is no set strategy that will work for everyone, there’s no one remedy which cures all problems. What works for one person might only be a stressor for another. So try these strategies and learn which techniques work best for you.
1. Reframe Your Interpretation of Events
It’s not what you experience, but how you react that causes your suffering.
Out of the many coping strategies, one very commonly used strategy is reframing how you interpret your experiences. Reframing can be done in two ways: either by changing the way that you think about an event or by giving a new interpretation to certain events that are already unfolding.
A popular example of this type of strategy could be when someone gets mad at their boss or coworker and they decide not to take it personally. They could change how they think of the event as a matter of difference in opinions instead of an attack on them, which often reduces anxiety levels associated with the person’s job.
Another example would be if you have been driving for hours without stopping and you’re feeling tired. Instead of thinking about the situation as being boring or inconvenient, you look at it as an opportunity to take a break from everyone and listen to the audiobook that you like.
This strategy is effective because it changes your mind set by giving new meaning in how you perceive things which can help reduce anxiety levels when performing certain tasks.
So don’t be the victim. Instead of asking yourself questions such as: “Why me? Why do bad things always happen to me?” or “How come I’m never appreciated?”, ask instead: “What lessons can I learn here?” and “Does this create new possibilities for me?”. And you would shift your mood and start a process of reevaluating your life’s vision and goals.
A meditation practice can help you manage stress by providing a sense of peace and relaxation.
Meditation is the intentional relaxing of your body, mind, and emotions with the goal to create more awareness about what’s going on inside us in this moment. It’s all about training yourself to be here now instead of living in worry about the future or regretting what happened in the past.
For example, when you’re meditating and worrying about your bills that need to be paid soon, instead of getting distracted by all of these thoughts try focusing on how your stomach rises and falls as you breathe deeply.
Meditation can help you escape the trap of identifying with your thoughts, which frequently leads to turmoil and disharmony. Meditation helps you realize that you are not your thoughts and allows you to develop a strong sense of inner awareness.
Meditation makes it possible for you to observe your thoughts and see them for what they are without accepting them as truth. The practice stops your mind from creating a version of life that is not grounded in reality.
It takes practice but eventually this type of meditation will help you connect to the present moment and manage your stress.
3. Invest in Quality Alone Time
One way to cope with stress is to spend time in solitude, to be by yourself and away from life’s distractions. Reading a book, journaling, listening to music or meditating give you time to think about what you’re doing and why on your own and are all good methods for reducing stress.
How many of us take the time for ourselves? For 10 minutes, an hour or a day, it doesn’t matter. In our over-scheduled lives we need solitude just as much as air and water.
Walking away from stressors and responsibilities, reflecting on what’s going on in your life and feeling the sensations of being alone can help you gain perspective. This is important because even when we feel like our lives are out of control there is always time for us to take a step back, reflect and find clarity.
Laughing is a great coping strategy to help you overcome trying and stressful life events. So to live healthier and happier, make time for laughter in your day-to-day routine!
There are many different coping strategies that help us effectively manage stress, but laughter is one of the most accessible and powerful.
It’s been proven to be a powerful antidote for stress, anxiety, pain and conflict. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins which promote an overall sense of well-being.
A good laugh is not only a great way to lighten your mood, it’s also contagious. Laughing will help you feel like yourself again and reduce any stress or anxiety that may be making you miserable.
5. Be Creative
Creativity is a wonderful form of meditation which can help you destress, relieve anxiety and limiting beliefs.
As children, we often have a natural instinct for creativity. We spend hours drawing, painting, acting or making toys with little to no judgment from society. But as we grow up and our ambitions about life change–often for the better–creativity becomes an opportunity missed.
Crafting is therapeutic. Take the time you spend cooking, gardening, drawing, painting or exercising and turn it into a calming experience that helps manage stress and promotes creativity.
6. Make Time for Fun
In the times we live in today, it is imperative that we counteract uptightness with practices such as adult play. Research has found that this can reduce stress and develop our resilience for difficult times.
Stress can be caused by and create a feeling that there is no time for fun. Whether you’re in the office, taking care of your children or running errands, make it your goal to take some time to enjoy life!
It might seem impossible at times but our daily lives are full of opportunities for play: we just need to be more aware. Get out in nature, play with your kids or dig into something you enjoy doing for fun–whatever it is that brings joy and lightens the load.
7. Create Boundaries
One of the most beneficial ways to reduce stress is to create boundaries. A healthy boundary is a line that you won’t allow anyone or anything to cross without your explicit permission, understanding and consent. We are all born with our own inherent sense of what feels comfortable for us so it’s important we honor this by setting these lines in every area of our life.
In order to prevent crossing your own boundaries, you need to know what they are! That’s why it’s important for you to think about the things that make you feel good and create a list of those boundary behaviors too. Write down everything on both lists so there is no confusion later. This will allow you to take charge of your life and by no means will you feel overwhelmed.
8. Practice Self-Compassion
One way to reduce stress is through self-compassion, which can be defined as being kind towards oneself in difficult times. This type of kindness not only helps us heal from the past but also prepares us for the future because it builds our resilience.
Self-compassion is not about making excuses for bad behavior or trying to make ourselves feel better by beating ourselves up, but rather it’s an awareness of the common humanity that we all share and recognizing our vulnerability in this world. It’s a willingness to be kind towards oneself when one has difficulties such as feelings of failure, rejection, insecurity or inadequacy.
I hope you find these coping strategies helpful in managing the stress of your daily life! Have fun incorporating these in your life and let me know which ones work the best for you.
And if you are still struggling with anxiety and need some extra help, click the link below to schedule your complimentary session. You will experience biofeedback frequencies during our call that have been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety naturally because of its effect on the mind-body system. https://bit.ly/biofeedbackcall
Have a Beautiful Day!
Be Healthy! Be Safe! Be Well!