Coping Skills for Stress and Uncomfortable Emotions

For example, if you have worked hard to lose weight, proactive coping strategies could help you maintain your weight after your weight loss program has ended. You might plan for circumstances that might derail you—like the holiday season or dinner invitations from friends—to help you cope. You also might plan for how you will cope with emotions that previously caused you to snack, like boredom or loneliness. Unhealthy coping techniques—such as drinking or avoiding the problem—may offer some temporary relief, but they tend to make things worse in the long run. These unhealthy tactics can also lead to other problems that create more stress and make coping more difficult. Instead, it’s up to you to decide which type of coping skill is likely to work best for you in your particular circumstance.

This is a form of exercise, but it can also be a meditation. The ones that focus on slow movement, stretching, and deep breathing are best for lowering your anxiety and stress. These days it’s hard not to get overwhelmed once in a while. Between juggling work, family, and other commitments, you can become too stressed out and busy. But you need to set time aside to unwind or your mental and physical health can suffer. When your stress levels are high, using healthy coping skills can help you reset and relax.

Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.

Deep breathing exercises can help slow your heart rate and calm you when the world feels like it’s spinning too fast. For example, if the news gives you anxiety, take breaks from social media or limit your consumption to only a few times a day or week. Meditation is another valuable strategy for coping with stress.

  • Emergency stress-stoppers are actions to help you defuse stress in the moment.
  • It may help to think about how muscles get stronger.
  • If you have sleep problems or sleep disorders, ask your doctor for natural remedies and what you can do about them.

We all need to know when to close our eyes and take a deep breath when we feel tension rising. Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic event—like a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.

Don’t Just Seek Support, Give It

Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating. One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, because juggling many responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you’re currently inactive, start with gentle activities such as walking or biking. Choosing an activity that you enjoy may help increase your chances of sticking to it in the long term.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

This, maybe unsurprisingly, had the opposite effect than what was intended. Remember that early quote from McGonigal’s book, “The Upside of Stress.” How you think about it actually changes the way stress affects you. When we’re overwhelmed, our body is flooded with cortisol, and our serotonin stores (happy chemicals) begin to deplete. Once the perceived threat has passed (say, the lion has decided you aren’t worth its time), your body returns to normal.

Bedtime Meditation for Sleep

Focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once. If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

healthy ways to cope with stress

Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve stress in chronically stressed people (20, 29). It’s important to understand that stress isn’t the same as mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, which require treatment from medical professionals. Although the tips below may relieve many types of stress, they may not help people with these conditions (11). However, some situations that require coping are likely to elicit (bring out) similar coping responses from most people.

The problem with continuing to self-medicate chronic stress with comfort foods is that it will lead to weight gain and poor health. Just writing about your thoughts, feelings and experiences every day can help. Explore your thoughts and feelings about an issue. Don’t just re-live the stress in your life but try to find meaning in it or explore how well you’ve handled certain situations. Be disciplined and write at the same time every day so it becomes a habit. In a University of Texas study, students who wrote about stressful or traumatic events for four days in a row reaped the benefits for months after.

  • A lot of newly sober people will joke about having spotless homes in the early days.
  • Smart exercisers know the value of a day of rest — that’s when your muscles regenerate and come back stronger than before.
  • Research suggests that cleaning has mental health benefits as well.

But, going for a walk in nature might be the best approach when you’re feeling sad. Proactive coping can also help people deal with unexpected life changes, such as a major change in health. A 2014 study found that people who engaged with proactive coping were better able to deal with the changes they encountered after having a stroke.

Anxiety in Children and Teens

What can we do to protect ourselves against stress and enhance our prospects for successful coping? Perhaps the most important strategy is to maintain emotionally supportive relationships with others. A vast field of research demonstrates that emotional support buffers individuals against the negative impact of stress. People differ in particular styles of coping or prefer to use certain coping strategies over others.

  • “Comfort foods” are meals designed to improve mood.
  • But it may actually cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family come second, which can lead to stress, anger, resentment and even the desire to exact revenge.
  • You can handle stress better when you eat nutritious food and get eight hours of sleep a day.