How Can I Deal with Stress?

By Diana Sanchez, Staff Writer

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Have you ever felt like the stress-inducing parts of your life are spiraling out of control? It can feel that way when situations are piling up faster than you can keep up with. This makes it all too important to find effective ways to deal with stress as situations come up, so you don’t reach the point where you feel overwhelmed.

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s reaction to any changes in your life. It can be a physical, mental, or emotional reaction. Depending on the situation, it can even be all three. I remember once receiving particularly distressing news and feeling an overwhelming wave of sadness and a sharp back ache at the same time. We can forget how connected all parts of our bodies really are, and the truth is not dealing with stress can really make it feel unmanageable over time.

Not dealing with stress can cause a large number of issues that can affect your physical and mental well-being. You have to remember that stress is a normal part of life. Even positive changes, like getting your dream job, having a baby, or entering a new romantic relationship can bring on stress.

So how can you manage stress? Good question.

Identify what is stressing you out.

This might seem really obvious, but the truth is sometimes it’s the small things that consistently stress you out that can lead to making stress really unmanageable - and they can be all too easy to overlook. 

For instance, I grew up experiencing terrible headaches. I always assumed that was my normal because it had always been that way. I didn’t love it, but it was what it was. Or so I thought.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that it occurred to me that I might be hypersensitive to sound. (Headaches can be a physical symptom of stress.)  Sure enough, I’ve come to realize that loud sounds can trigger my anxiety and constant exposure to loud sounds does lead to overwhelming stress. It adds up, slowly but surely to the point where my stress becomes more and more unmanageable. 

Take a step back and try to become more aware of all of the little stressors in your life that can slowly add up for you. You might be surprised to find how something really small can really affect your state of mind. 

Once you’ve gotten the first step out of the way, there are a number of ways that you can manage your stress.

Ideas for managing stress.

The following are ideas for you to explore. Managing your stress really comes to personal preference in finding what works for you.

  1. Find a hobby that relaxes you, like gardening, cooking, or home improvement.
  2. Find an exercise that you enjoy, yoga is especially helpful for dealing with stress.
  3. Take a nature walk.
  4. Meditate, meditate, meditate. It is so good for you! Check out our blog article.
  5. Find a creative outlet, like drawing, coloring, or painting.
  6. Build in some quiet time into your day, if possible.
  7. Make sure to spend quality time with friends - girls nights are a must!
  8. Take a spa day at home. Picture yourself in a bath surrounded by candles and a glass of wine with a good book.
  9. Surround yourself with flowers and plants. They have a very positive effect on your mental health.
  10. Prioritize your health and your well-being. Don’t feel guilty for saying “no” to others if you need to.
  11. Practice feeling grateful. Check out How can being grateful help me be happy?
  12. Start journaling to help you manage your emotions (blog).
  13. Indulge in whatever helps you feel good. Netflix binge? Totally fine.
  14. Take a mental health day when you really need one. Check out our blog.3 The bottom line.

The bottom line.

Stressors are not completely unavoidable. As I mentioned before, stress can come with both positive and unwanted life changes. But, as with most things in life, how you react to certain situations is the only thing you can completely control. And that’s pretty awesome if you think about it. 

How do you manage stress? If you have any more ideas, please share!

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