Don't Pull Your Hair Out! Here are 4 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

August 07, 2013
by Michael Barber
Don't Pull Your Hair Out! Here are 4 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Stress isn't just a feeling, it's a sickness. Handling stress is like treating any symptom -- it starts with proper diagnosis. Whether your stress comes from family care, financials, or work, there are ways to deal. Here are four healthy ways to cope:

Identify the Source of Stress

Before stress levels get out of control and require urgent care from a professional, it's essential to determine where the stress is coming from including stress triggers. When you first feel stressed, write about it in a journal and make a list that includes:

  • What you were doing
  • Where you were
  • Who was present
  • Symptoms you felt such as anxiousness, nervous, sad, angry, etc.

Keeping a regular log on where and what you were doing when stress levels increased can help you identify triggers. Some triggers can be avoided where others cannot. For example, if you find you are always stressed when you are talking to your boss or supervisor, there are instant stress coping skills you can implement.

Use Instant Stress Coping Skills

Some people experience stress from family, household chores, and work overload. While stress is common, if you do nothing to help ease it, it's also common to shut down or become depressed. 

  • Learn how to breathe and meditate
  • Make a list of things you must do along with when each item must be completed. Often seeing a written list makes your to-do list seem attainable.
  • Ask others to help take over a chore or two.
  • Take a walk or exercise—even if it's just for 15 minutes. Exercise helps calm our bodies and re-energizes our minds.
  • Make schedules and stick to them to avoid that stressful, overloaded feeling.

Long-Term Coping Skills

For some, their entire lives feel full of stress. Some long-term stress solutions include:

  • Seeking professional care now instead of attempting to figure your stress feeling out all on your own.
  • Implementing better time management. The Mayo Clinic offers tips on how to implement these skills including when to say no, how to plan your days, and how to delegate tasks to others.
  • Making sure you are getting enough sleep each night. The average adult requires seven to eight hours per night. Manage better sleep by getting up at the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time every night.
  • Eating healthy foods can also help reduce long-term stress. Eating regularly and not skipping meals is also essential to reduce stress.
  • Treating yourself to what you find pleasurable whether it's a walk in the park, window shopping or getting a massage are all must-dos and help to lower stress levels.
  • Talking to friends and family members about how you feel. You will most likely be surprised you are not alone and others can also help offer tools they use to reduce stress.

Avoid Harmful Habits That Add to Stress

Some of us engage in habits that only add to stress, not relieve it. These include:

  • Drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Smoking
  • Overeating
  • Becoming a coach potato
  • Overuse of sleeping pills

These habits are harmful, but easy to identify if you're honest with yourself. If you have trouble stopping habits on your own, seek professional care.

Stress is something we all experience but these four tips will aid you in reducing and coping with the anxiety and tensions stress can bring.