In this blog, we will discuss nine coping strategies that help in dealing with stress. These are skills anyone can develop with regular practice. Readers will first be introduced to the concept of stress and how coping strategies work. Then we will discuss various coping strategies in detail.
What are Some Coping Strategies for Stress?
Here are some effective coping strategies that you can use to manage your stress better:
- Living a Healthy Lifestyle
- Maintaining Sleep Hygiene
- Carving Out Time for Rest & Relaxation
- Creating Stressor Strategies
- Building a Support System
- Limiting Substance Use
- Finding Spiritual Resources
- Engaging in Hobbies
- Keeping a Solution-Oriented Approach
What is Stress?
Life is full of uncertainties that tend to put us in tricky situations. When we experience something that overwhelms us, puts us under pressure, or excessively requires our physical and psychological resources, our bodies go under stress.
Since we’re unable to handle the demands placed on us, we tend to feel tired, confused, and anxious about what will happen. Inside out body, there is an increase in the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
These hormones prepare our bodies for stressful situations. They prepare our muscles for action and rapidly produce energy. However, if the stressor lasts for too long and the production of stress hormone continues for longer than our body can handle, we go into stress.
This has serious repercussions on our mental and physical health. We might even develop illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How do Coping Strategies Work?
A coping strategy is a plan of action that one practices in times of trouble. Coping strategies for stress specifically target calming the body down and building resilience. These utilise techniques that lower the production of stress hormones in the body and promote logical thinking.
Typically, stressful situations require one to stay calm and cool-headed so that one can navigate through the problem. Therefore, coping strategies for stress are designed to relax the body and mind so that it can regain access to the parts of the brain involved in problem-solving.
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Try These Coping Strategies for Stress
Now that we’ve given a brief introduction to the concepts of stress and coping strategies, let’s discuss nine effective coping strategies for stress:
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
As cliched as it may sound, it’s true that eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical exercise goes a long way in building resilience. According to research, people who eat nutritious food, get enough physical activity, and follow a routine, tend to have better stress management skills.
Maintaining Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a term used for the behavioural and environmental practices that promote sleep. Research shows that getting 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis increases a person’s ability to manage stress.
If you want to reap the benefits of sleep hygiene, try some of the following lifestyle changes:
- Only use your bed/sleeping area for sleep or sexual activity and do everything else elsewhere
- Avoid screentime at least 30 minutes before bed
- Build a bedtime routine that relaxes you and do it every day
Carving Out Time for Rest & Relaxation
Self-care is of utmost importance when dealing with any kind of stress if you want to prevent psychological burnout. Therefore, it’s imperative to make time for yourself to rest ad relax your body.
This could be through a massage, some chill time, spa treatments, or simply basking in the sun next to nature. Do what gives you the most satisfying peace.
Creating Stressor Strategies
Typically, it’s possible to identify or predict what your stressors will be. They could be related to your job, home responsibilities, family, relationships, or academics. Once you chalk out what the stressors are, how they impact you, and what parts of them you can control, it’s easier to create strategies to deal with them.
Brainstorm these strategies in advance and plan all the possible outcomes. Then, think about how you can overcome these challenges. It’s best to consult a mental health professional to effectively execute these strategies.
Building a Support System
It’s crucial to remember that no man is an island. In order to deal with any kind of stress, we must have some sort of a support system made of people we trust. They don’t necessarily have to be related to you.
These people could be your friends, neighbours, acquaintances you meet every day. As long as you have someone to talk to, get emotional support from, and sound advice when required, you’ll be able to cope with stress.
Limiting Substance Use
It’s ironic that when one is stressed, they feel more inclined to smoke, drink, and do drugs. Unfortunately, taking substances only provides temporary relief while causing long term damage.
You form a dependency on the substance and find it hard to cope without it. Moreover, substances deteriorate both physical and mental health and thus interfere with your ability to deal with stressful situations.
Consequently, a good coping strategy would be to limit or abstain from using substances of any kind.
Finding Spiritual Resources
A lot of people find hope and resilience through faith. It is a very common coping strategy to seek guidance from a spiritual leader. This could be a religious authority, an alternative healer, a scholar, or any kind of text and resources.
By nourishing your spiritual self, you can find strength in the most difficult circumstances as it helps you identify some meaning or purpose from your experience.
Engaging in Hobbies
For most people, it’s hard to think of engaging in recreational activity when you have piles and piles of to-do lists. But it’s interesting to note that taking short breaks between your busy schedule to do the things that bring you joy can increase your productivity.
When you take out time for a hobby you love, even if it’s just 20 minutes, you get reminded of the good things in life. This positivity refreshes your mind, making it easier to get back to work.
Keeping a Solution-Oriented Approach
Whenever we’re going through a crisis, it’s not unusual to start anticipating the worst and worrying about it. Sadly, such a problem-focussed approach only increases the production of stress hormones and makes it harder to think clearly.
So, a good coping strategy for stress is to focus less on how bad the problem is and more on what can be done right now. Ask yourself what is within your control, what can you do about it, and what should be your next step.
By concentrating on these aspects of the situation, you become more competent and resilient no matter how stressful the situation.
In this blog, we discussed nine coping strategies that help in dealing with stress. These are skills anyone can develop with regular practice. Readers were first introduced to the concept of stress and how coping strategies work. Then we discussed various coping strategies in detail.
The coping strategies mentioned here were Living a Healthy Lifestyle, Maintaining Sleep Hygiene, Carving Out Time for Rest & Relaxation, Creating Stressor Strategies, Building a Support System, Limiting Substance Use, Finding Spiritual Resources, Engaging in Hobbies, and Keeping a Solution-Oriented Approach.
FAQs (Coping Strategies for Stress)
How does your body feel when stressed?
When your body is under stress, it produces many chemicals to prepare you for the challenge in front of you. These chemicals, or hormones, increase the production of energy, so you start feeling restless. Your muscles become tense and your heart starts beating faster. You may even experience shorter breaths as your body is trying to supply oxygen faster.
What can stress do to a woman’s body?
In women, stress can manifest the following bodily symptoms:
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite
- Allergies/skin issues
- Digestive issues
- Loss of interest in sex
- Hair fall
- Weight changes
- Irregular menstruation
What are the physical symptoms of anxiety?
The physical symptoms of anxiety are listed below:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heaviness in chest
- Increased heart rate
- Blurring of vision
- Hot and cold flushes
- Frequent urination
- Loss of libido
- Sexual dysfunction
- Menstrual problems
- Dry mouth