Don’t turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress. These include binging on food, drugs, alcohol. The problem with this coping approach is that it leads to even more problems.

Stress is an inevitable part of life. In fact, a little stress is not all that bad since it keeps you motivated and focused. However, excess stress can be debilitating. If not checked, stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and even ground your life to a halt. Besides, debilitating anxiety makes us feel demotivated, paralyzed and unwilling to do anything productive.

There are many different kinds of healthy coping mechanisms for stress. Below are eleven healthy coping mechanisms that come highly recommended:

1. Stay Positive

Your perspective on things and life affects how you feel and respond to stimulants. A positive attitude goes a long way in alleviating stress or keeping it at bay. In most cases, whatever is stressing you is inconsequential if you just change your perspective towards it. Think positive thoughts and affirm yourself with uplifting words.

Whatever is stressing you, always remind yourself that it could be worse; and the fact that you’re still standing is a testament of your resilience and brilliance.

2. Come to Terms with People and Situations You Can’t Control

There are situations, people, and events in life you can’t control. However much you may want everyone to play ball, and everything to align perfectly in your favour, well, it won’t happen. Learn to accept that there are things you can’t change or control.

Do what you can and leave the rest to God. Ultimately, everything will work out, and you’ll realize whatever was stressing you out wasn’t such a big deal after all. With time, even the most intractable situation sorts itself out. Once you accept the inevitability of events and circumstances that are beyond your control, you will be in a position to channel your energy to where you’re most productive.

3. Learn to Relax

Learning to relax is one of the quickest ways of defeating stress. Among the best healthy coping mechanisms for stress include muscle relaxation, meditation, deep breathing. These mental health techniques train your mind to ease off and your body to relax. Chose a method you’re comfortable with and incorporate it into your daily relaxation routine.

4. Move

In most cases, just moving your body is all you need to cope with stress. Be active and let your body get used to being stretched. Staying fit is a powerful antidote for stress. Besides, the benefits of a physically fit body are numerous.

5. Eat a Healthy Diet

What you eat contributes significantly to stress. Avoid binging on junk food and go for well-balanced meals. A healthy diet is one of the best healthy coping mechanisms for stress.

6. Have Adequate Sleep and Rest

You need to sleep at least seven hours a day to stay alert and healthy. To cope with stress, make sure you get enough sleep and rest every day. However, avoid oversleeping since this is another indicator of stress. People who are stressed out either sleep very scantily or excessively. Either extreme is bad. Sleep for up to eight hours and then get up and move.

7. Have Fun

Remember the last time you danced before a mirror? If you can’t remember, next time before you hit the showers, stop by the mirror and burst a move. Learn to have fun and to laugh at life. Take up hobbies that excite and distract you from the rigours of life.

8. Identify your Stressors

An effective way of coping with stress is to avoid it. Look at your life and establish what triggers your anxiety. Once you identify these stressors, learn to step back whenever you sense them. In most cases, how you respond to stressful events or triggers can help you deal with stress the healthy way.

9. Do Breathing Exercises

You can do “deep breathing” or diaphragmatic exercises by lying on the floor face down and then start breathing slowly and deeply. Your hands should be resting under your face as you do this exercise. Repeat the exercise for five minutes. Another simple activity you can engage in is by sitting on a reclining chair.

Next, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. The hand you’ve placed on the abdomen should move up and down as you breathe. The one on your chest shouldn’t move at all. As long as the hand on your abdomen is moving, and you’re breathing slowly and deeply, you will relax on time.

10. Work from a List

This may sound mundane, but making a list of the most critical things you need to do every day can significantly alleviate stress. Work the list, starting with the most vital tasks, and work your way to the last item. The sense of fulfillment you feel as you check off item after item will quickly dissipate any remaining stress.

11. Say No!

Every time a person asks you to do something for them, they expect a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘not now.’ Most people are afraid of hurting others’ feelings by saying ‘no.’ The truth is, you’re overthinking as to how they’ll respond to a ‘no’ from you. Be assertive and don’t promise what you can’t deliver, or to do something you know will end up stressing you. Say ‘no,’ and stick with it.

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