Healthy and Unhealthy Ways to Manage Stress!!! |

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23 June 2015
Category:
Self Improvement
Comments: 1

What do you do?

In a previous blog I discussed the signs/symptoms of stress.  While perusing the web, I came across this interesting article that discussed positive and negative ways of coping with stress. The article is on Helpguide.org titled Stress Management and written by  Melinda Smith, M.A. and Robert Segal, M.A.

The article uses life stressors to make it point. The overall point, stress will occur but you are in control!!!

How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with stress.

It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.

Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Start a Stress Journal

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

  • What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
  • How you felt, both physically and emotionally
  • How you acted in response
  • What you did to make yourself feel better

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

·       Smoking·       Drinking too much

·       Overeating or undereating

·       Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer

·       Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities

·       Using pills or drugs to relax·       Sleeping too much

·       Procrastinating

·       Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems

·       Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Learning healthier ways to manage stress

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

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Thenessa, an LPC-Intern, is a graduate of the Masters of Arts in Professional Counseling program at Amberton University under the supervision of Megan R. Lee, LPC-S. Thenessa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Biology from East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas.

Latest posts by Thenessa Mack-Palmer, B.A. (see all)

One response on “Healthy and Unhealthy Ways to Manage Stress!!!

  1. Great article! One more idea I would add to that list is to allow yourself to feel the anxiety for a set 10 minutes. After that allotted time, you are no longer allowed to worry about whatever is bothering you for that day. By doing this, it allows us to set aside a specific time for us to feel that specific emotion and not ignore it or consume us. Thanks for the tips on looking at our stressors!

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