Updated 2021

While all of us face stress at one point or the other in our lives, we cannot say the same when it comes to coping with stress. Some of us do have some coping strategies while others simply choose to ignore it until it becomes too big to ignore.

Some amount of stress may actually be required for you to do things. However, too much of it can end up doing a lot of damage. A student who is a little stressed out with his fast-approaching exams may actually end up preparing for the exams too.

On the other hand, a student who is extremely stressed out by the exams which are fast approaching will prepare for his exams. However, he runs a very high chance of being so stressed out while attempting the paper that he ends up messing things up. The extra stress may prevent him from recalling all that he had learned.

And this is just one situation where we are explaining how stress may ruin things for you. Likewise, a banker who is under too much stress may not be able to focus that much on the numbers and figures that he has to work with on a daily basis. Consequently, he may end up making a mistake which may actually cost the bank a large amount. Therefore, with stress having so much power to ruin things for us it only makes sense that we are equipped with the right strategies to cope with it too.

Ways to Deal with Stress

Most techniques that help you deal with stress involve fun and relaxation. They involve you going easy on yourself. For a relatively stress-free life, you need to maintain a balance between work and play. You should work when it is time to work and do your best but remember to treat yourself too so that you avoid being burned out.

This “treating yourself” process differs for different people. Some people book an appointment with their favorite spas to pamper themselves, some go out to the movies, some hang out with friends, some do extreme sports or adventures to work off stress, some find retail therapy a stress reliever while others may simply be content with staying home and reading a good book or listening to good music.

Many people find some peace by being out in nature…walking, or just viewing beautiful mountain scenes, wooded areas, waterfalls, sitting by water. If those scenes are not available in real life, even viewing pictures on the computer screen or prints can be helpful. These are also good places to write about what is happening. I refer to this as journaling in another paragraph.

Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet can also act as effective coping strategies for stress. When you exercise your body releases hormones called endorphins which help you feel better about yourself. Eating foods which are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients can help reduce stress levels. Whereas certain foods and drinks like cheese, coffee, butter, meat, energy drinks, some fast food items also can aggravate stress.

Another stress relief method I want to emphasize is the use of journaling. The majority of people have not used this as a stress relief tool. If you are willing to give it a try, be aware there is no incorrect way to do journaling though there are many different methods available.

The process seems to work best by actually doing a brain and feelings dump on paper. It is not uncommon that by the fourth or fifth page of writing, ideas, thoughts, and feelings come out that are surprising even to the person who is doing the journaling. This, of course, can be very validating…like No wonder I’ve been feeling bad. I didn’t even realize that was there. I always encourage each journaling session to end with an action plan with this question…What are my choices now?

Another way to deal with stress is to get a good amount of sleep. The recommended amount is 6-8 hours per night. Anybody who gets less sleep is likely to be exhausted the following day. This naturally makes the person less competent to deal with his work which consequently will add up to his or her stress. The sources of stress vary for people, but the strategies are pretty much the same for everyone. If one follows them consistently, they can be successful in keeping stress at bay.

Naturally, I have no way of knowing what method or methods work best for you. My personal life experiences and those of my clients have taught me that often a variety of ways work better than just using the same one on a regular basis.

My own experience and the experiences of my clients include also using journaling to get out some of the frustrations.

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