17 Ways To Manage Stress

17 Ways To Manage Stress

Due to my previous post, ‘Joker: Mental Health Review‘, talking a lot about stressors, I thought I’d write about related to that. Thus, here are my tips for how to avoid stress getting the better of us.

 

What Is Stress?

 

Stress is simply your bodies response to mental/emotional pressure. Sometimes stress can be good, other times it can be bad. Good stress can help motivate you to perform better or to overcome an obstacle: rising to the challenge. It can also allow us to have the energy to keep us going by keeping us alert (Gross, 1992).

 

However, if, for whatever reason, we’re not able to manage the stress, then it can become a problem. Especially if the stress starts to get the better of us. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to stress is detrimental to our health, which can manifest itself in many different ways. It can damage our relationships, affect our ability to meet our obligations (e.g. work), affect our mood (e.g. make us feel depressed), and it can even cause physical manifestations (e.g. upset stomach and insomnia).

 

In short, stress can be seen as a mismatch between a stressful situation and an individuals ability to manage it, and thus reduce stress (Hewstone, Fincham, and Foster, 2005).

 

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Identifing Stress

 

Everyone experiences stress, no exception. Each person will be affected and respond differently to the stress and stressors they encounter: that’s just the rule of individual differences. Thus, the sooner we learn to recognise our warning signs of stress, especially stress that is starting to overwhelm us, the better. Knowing these signs will allow you to tackle your stress earlier before it becomes a problem. The sooner you tackle it, the better off you will be.

 

Although everyone is affected by stress differently, there are common signs which you can use to help you better identify your warning signs (see the next section).

 

Signs

 

There are many signs of stress you should be on the lookout for. The following is a list of signs you should be aware of, although the list itself might not be complete (if you know of any I’ve missed, please tell us about them in the comments section at the end of the post).

 

Physical Signs

 

  • Sleeping problems like insomnia.
  • Gaining or losing weight.
  • Upset stomach and stomach pains.
  • Irritability.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Headaches.
  • Palpitations.
  • Sweaty hands or feet.
  • Heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Diarrhoea and constipation.
  • Aches, pains, and muscle tension.

 

Psychological Signs

 

  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Feeling anxious or constantly worried and scared.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Racing thoughts.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood swings.
  • Loss of self-confidence.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low self-wroth.
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviours like biting your nails.
  • Social avoidance and social isolation.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, etc more than usual or using illegal drugs.

 

17 Ways To Manage Stress - Coping Strategies

 

Why Is It Important To Manage Stress?

 

As stated above, failure to manage stress appropriately will have a negative effect on ourselves and those around us, one way or another. Stress can make it difficult to think clearly, function normally, or even enjoy life.

 

Knowing how to properly manage your stress will allow you to be happier, keep your levels of production at your optimal level, be healthier, be better mentally, and allow you to build up a resilience to dealing with pressure.

 

Thus, it’s important to find out what works for you as an individual to help you manage your stress levels. Because what might work for one person might not work for the next person. Take time to experiment with as many strategies as you can, so you can develop your primary coping strategy, as well as several fall back options. That way, when the time comes to implement them, you’ll be able to right off the bat.

 

16 Stress Management Strategies

 

Accept that there are events that you cannot control

One way to manage stress is to realise that not every situation is within your control. For those events that aren’t within your control, try your best to stop stressing over them, because there’s nothing you can do.

 

Take control

For situations where it is possible to take control, then you should seek to do so. One of the main causes of stress is the feeling of a lack of control. Thus, by taking control you’re reducing your stress and improving your wellbeing.

 

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Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation

Even though this one is obvious, it still needs to be said, because people will still forget to use it as a way to cope. So, make time to do the things you enjoy, whatever they are. If you don’t have any hobbies or interests, then look into finding something you can enjoy doing as a way to destress.

 

Relaxation techniques

There are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of relaxation techniques out there you could try. All you need to do is type in ‘Relaxation Techniques’ into the search engine of your choice, and pow, a million or more sites with relaxation technique suggestions. All you need to do is find ones that work for you and make a note of them.

 

Have some ‘me time’

Sometimes you just need to be by yourself, free from all obligations to other people. Even making sure your partner is having a good time if you do something together can add extra stress. Thus, sometimes you just need to do your thing solo, whatever that thing maybe.

 

Identify your stress sources

If you want to get proactive about managing your stress, then identify your sources of stress. Then work out plans for how to manage them.

 

Work-life balance

This one seems a lot hard to do nowadays, given the hours we work. Especially as people often have to have more than one job, family commitments, and a commute that just takes forever. But even so, try your best to find a balance between your work and family commitments, and enjoying life. We only live once after all.

 

Work smarter, not harder

When we’ve got a lot on our plates, prioritise the ones that need to be done first, and/or the ones that’ll benefit you the most. Learning more about time management will also help with this, as well as following the next suggestions strategy.

 

Split up big tasks

One of the things I picked up whilst working for a substance abuse charity was SMART goals. Basically, you should break down your goals/tasks into smaller more manageable bite-size pieces. This will allow you to make progress and see results at every stage as you work towards the larger destination.

 

Allow yourself some positivity

If you’ve read my post about Positive Psychology, then you could engage in Counting Blessing, you can either do this each week or try to do it each day. The point is, to try and reflect on your positivity to help block out and manage the stress. You could also use some of the other Positive Psychology interventions I listed in that post to help manage your stress (e.g. Acts of Kindness, Participate in Enjoyable and Meaningful Activities, and Positive Affirmations).

 

positive psychology intervention: counting blessings

 

Modify negative self-statements

Challenge all your unhelpful thoughts, because the way you think will make your stress worse or better.

 

Exercise

This one gets brought out a lot as a way to help, it’s basically a clichรฉ. But like all clichรฉs, they became that way due to there being truth to them. Being active will help you burn off your nervous energy, and allow you to sleep better if you’re having sleeping problems. It’ll also help you feel better when the endorphins kick in.

 

Talk to someone and invest in a support network

Talk to someone, friends, your partner, family, co-workers, a professional, or even someone from one of the organisations I listed on my Global Crisis Lines And Support page. Having a good support network you can rely on can make a really big difference.

 

Plan ahead

If you have an event coming up that is going to be stressful, then plan ahead. The more planning you can do ahead of time, the less stressful the even should be. So make those to-do-lists and SMART goals as far in advance as you can. You’ll appreciate doing it once the event comes around. But remember, not everything will go according to plan, and that’s ok too.

 

Avoid relying on unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on unhealthy habits to help you cope with stress, because this is one-way addictions can be formed. It might be an easy short term fix, but you’ll pay for it in the long run. So don’t turn to drink, drugs, etc, to help you cope. Pick healthy coping options.

 

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Help other people

As I’ve already suggested in a previous strategy, and in my previous post Positive Psychology, engage in the Positive Psychology intervention of doing something for others, through such things as Acts of Kindness. Helping others can make us feel good by doing a good deed.

 

Sense Of Humor

I think this is why memes are taking over the world because they allow us to have a quick hit of humour. Humour, is what makes life bearable. So find a way to laugh at the stressful situation if you can. But if not, just find some time to have a good laugh at something else. Maybe find some good memes to look through, watch a funny film, watch a standup show, or even do something childish and let your inner child out.

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences stress and effective coping strategies you use in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.


Lastly, if youโ€™d like to support my blog then you can make a donation of any size below also. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

 

Gross, R. D. (1992). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour (2nd ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Hewstone, M., Fincham, F. D., & Foster, J. (2005). Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

56 thoughts on “17 Ways To Manage Stress

  1. Thank you for this post! I’ve been really stressed recently and I don’t know why I didn’t look for relaxation techniques or for information about how to cope with it, I was just waiting for the stressful situation to pass (I knew exactly what was causing it).

    But, well… next time I’ll get back to this one ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the one about devoting time to hobbys and acceptance ๐Ÿ™‚

    – aimlief

  2. Great article! Fantastic advice. I am learning how important laughing, “me time,” and allowing play in my life really is. Allowing those things, for me, makes all the crap so much easier to address. Thanks for this wonderful article!

  3. It is really incredible how something that many people view as a little hitch can do so much to effect a person! Small little things to think of ourselves and bring a smile to our life do so much against stress. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Stress is something that we all go through and unless we incorporate some of the techniques you wrote about we might jus go crazy! Great post! I personally love working out to release stress and tension, definitely works for me

  5. Great advice. I always have a hard time accepting the things I cannot change. It’s been really hard to give up control and let it be. It’s something that I’ve been working on and managing your stress is something that I’m aware of and working on on a daily basis.

  6. I remember back in 2002-2003 when I was misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (before doctors in Panama even knew Celiac Disease existed!)… and they told me to manage my stress. I was convinced I was ill (which I was) and that none of it was stress related (a lie I told myself frequently!)

    Now, I’ve finally had to tune it down, to accept the limitations and start to enjoy life, because otherwise my body responds in not-nice ways!

    But, some great reminders of HOW to work out the stress.

  7. I need to get back to the gym! It helps me more than anything at relieving stress! I have anxiety from time to time and working it out is the best use of “me time.” Thank you for the reminder! Good post.

  8. I find art, humour, and exercise to be my best stress-busting techniques. Bundling up on the couch in a blanket and putting on a light movie is good in a pinch, though.

  9. Yup,
    Great ways to reset your life’s system.

    Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses. Heart disease, depression and obesity are most common. Do people manage stress as it occurs? Healthy and positive ways reduce many of the consequences of poor health? Like in business, everyone is different, and so are the ways they choose to manage their stress. Thank you for this detailed article.
    Anyone using any piece of technology should read this blog. Let us all strive to stop our bodies from functioning on alert mode.

    Sharing it.

  10. Relaxation tips resonated with me. I started meditating about a year ago and it has really helped me reduce stress and my reaction to it. Nice Post!

  11. Thank you for such an insightful post! I love all of your advice on how to manage stress. I always try to find time for myself, by working on my hobbies.

  12. This was such a great and thorough post on how to manage stress and what the signs are! And you hit the nail on the head with all the signs of stress- I was counting off all of the ones I have, haha. It’s amazing how stress can physically affect your body, but you have some great ideas on how to manage stress that I’m definitely going to use to ease my stress. Thank you so much for writing this post!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

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