Sometimes life gets overwhelming – your job is demanding, kids are sick, money is tight, you are arguing with a friend or family member – and you’ve hit your max. It can feel as if life keeps pushing you down. So now the question becomes, how do you push back?
“The tactics we use to manage our stress and get through difficult times vary by the individual,” said Elissa Stein, PhD., Vice President of Clinical Services at Jefferson Center. “People find their own ways to cope with things, but we need to be aware that some methods are healthy and others can be self-defeating.”
Tactics such as denial, ignoring feelings, excessive alcohol or drug use, or even excessive working or exercising may offer temporary relief from life’s challenges, but long-term health and stress management is found by using healthier ways to cope.
To find a healthier approach, start with some basic questions: What causes you to feel stress? What makes you happy? Once you’ve identified a handful of answers for each of those questions, healthier coping skills will start to become more apparent.
Just remember to be true to yourself! If you’re an introvert, being around crowds of people at a street fair will probably not help your stress and anxiety levels, but perhaps curling up with a good book might.
- Enjoy time for yourself – enjoy a morning cup of coffee or listen to your favorite music
- Get physical activity – go for a hike, ride your bike or spend time gardening
- Read or write – never underestimate the power of a good book!
- Laugh – look for humor in a stressful situation or check out different comedian videos on the internet
- Be social with friends – get out of the house to enjoy a community event or invite people over for a movie night
- Sleep enough – at least seven hours a night is the recommended amount
- Pay attention to nutrition – eat breakfast each day and get enough fruits and vegetables into your day
- Meditate or practice deep relaxation – you don’t have to be a religious person to practice these methods
- Decrease your to-do list – or just throw it away. Things will get done.
- Focus on the positive – take a moment to reflect on the good things in your life
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