9 stress coping strategies to reduce anxiety
Do you think that stressors are damaging, negative, and disruptive? Or you perceive them as useful challenges that can help us learn, improve, and grow?
Learning how to use stress coping strategies and work with the stressors in our lives is a very useful skill. Because, if we just leave it, the stressors will accumulate in the back of our minds, and grow bigger and bigger, with every single new stressful experience, because we haven’t dealt with them.
For example, let’s imagine that you’re stressed out by all the things you need to do today. You’ve got your calendar completely full, other people are calling you asking to do more things for them, and you don’t even know where to start. It’s a mess. So, to avoid the stress of feeling overwhelmed, you push many of the tasks to another day. You get more and more anxious, because the task seems to get bigger and bigger, scarier, and more daunting each time you think about it. Yet, you keep putting it off, because now it really feels frightening. Sounds familiar? It doesn’t really matter what sort of stressor you have to deal with, but the truth is, the longer we wait and put something off, the worse it gets.
If you feel like you need to constantly avoid stressful situations and you are not sure how to manage them, you will most likely develop passive coping mechanisms (“it’s awful and I feel that it overwhelms me,” “I pray to God it won’t last long,” and “I know someday someone will be here to help me and it will go away for a while.”) and ignore your problems.
This will, in the long run, create a growing burden of anxiety, which can leave you stuck, unmotivated, drained and less self-confident.
It’s extremely important to adopt new set of behaviours, strategies, and techniques, that will help you to cope with the unbearable stress more efficiently and to tackle the issue head on before it gets way too overwhelming.
Certain level of stress is unavoidable, but how we respond to it is something that we have in our hands.
Stress is cumulative
Even small little breaks throughout the day play a huge role in your ability to reduce the accumulation of stress. There are times when stress is going to be a little bit higher, and that’s okay, but you need to have a plan in place for how you’re going to balance that out, otherwise you will end up burnt out.
What is the difference between good and bad stress
Stressors – from work deadlines to raising kids to workouts – aren’t only good or bad. And your response is unique each time.
How do you handle stress?
Some factors are intrinsic but most you have some control over.
Reach your potential without crashing and burning and try these stress coping strategies
STRESS COPING STRATEGIES FOR INSPIRATION AND ENERGY
- Set effective goals
- Specific and measurable
- Challenging but realistic
- Broken down into small actions
- Focused on process vs outcome
- Documented as a plan of daily, weekly, monthly behaviours
- Start with one action each day
- Commit to do it for the next 2 weeks. (Be sure it’s something you’re confident you can do every day)
- Track your progress
- How do you feel different?
- How do you look different?
- What have you learned?
- What are you proud of?
- What frustrations did you have?
- Spend time with a coach or mentor
- Getting help from someone you admire, and who will hold you accountable, makes the process of change and growth much easier.
STRESS COPING STRATEGIES FOR REST AND RECOVERY
Note: Screen time is actually stimulating, so it doesn’t help you here.
- Practice parasympathetic activities
- Walking outside
- Moderate sun exposure
- Enjoying nature
- Low-key music
- Deep breathing
- Snuggling with loved one/pet
- Yoga, slow stretching
- Easy swimming
- Hot tub or sauna
- Having sex
- Non-competitive play
- Green tea
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves sleep, mood, and emotional regulation, and circadian rhythm
- Lowers blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones, and inflammation
- Supports the development of new brain cells, neural connections, and grey matter
- Sharpens focus, mental clarity, attention, memory, and recall (even when not meditating)
- Get outside
- Being in nature lowers stress hormones and heart rate and improves mood and immunity, giving you motivation and energy to cope with your next challenge.
- Balance your exercise routine
- Exercise relieves stress by increasing blood flow, getting you outside, burning calories, and stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system.
- Most effective: a mix of intense strength training, conditioning, cardio, and low intensity recovery
- When stressors are up, decrease intense exercise; when they’re down, increase it.
- Practice self-compassion
- Ask for help/support when needed
- Get coaching if you feel stuck
- Get counselling if you feel helpless
- Know your limits, honor them
- Unplug at least once a week
Try to answer these questions
● Where (or what) are some of the biggest stressors for you right now? Why?
● Where (or what) are some of the biggest opportunities for rest, recovery, and/or resilience for you right now? Why?
● What is ONE 5-MINUTE ACTION that you could take to improve your rest, recovery, and/or resilience?
● Are you ready, willing, and able to commit to doing that small think in the next day or so?
You are at the end of today’s blog post, and I really hope it helped you to look at stress and stressful situations from a different perspective and that you have gained some inspiration and tips on how you can try to deal with them.