Coping With Stress, Tension & Anxiety

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How Can I Cope With Stress, Tension And Anxiety?

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress and anxiety in your life. There are healthy and helpful strategies or unhealthy and unproductive ones! Many people choose the unhealthy route which compounds the problem.


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What Are Unhealthy Strategies For Coping With Stress, Tension And Anxiety?

Unhealthy strategies for coping may temporarily reduce stress and anxiety but long term they cause more damage. Unhealthy strategies include:

  • Smoking;
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol;
  • Bingeing on junk or comfort food;
  • Sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours on end;
  • Isolating yourself from friends, family, and activities;
  • Using medication or drugs;
  • Too much sleeping;
  • Procrastination;
  • Keeping busy to avoid facing issues;
  • Blaming others by lashing out, with angry outbursts or being physically violent.


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What Are Healthy Strategies for Coping with Stress?

Healthy coping strategies should contribute to your greater emotional and physical well-being. There is no single strategy or technique that works for everyone or in all circumstances. You may need to experiment with various techniques and strategies and focus on the ones that make you feel calm and in control. Healthy strategies include:

  • Regular physical exercise – Choosing something you enjoy. Examples include: dancing; walking; cycling; using the stairs instead of elevators; table tennis; etc.
  • Engaging socially – Communicate with others. Examples include: working with colleagues; volunteering; having coffee with a friend; going to the movies or a concert with someone; getting in contact with an old friend; joining a class or club; confiding in a teacher; coach or the clergy.
  • Avoiding unnecessary stress – Don’t avoid stressful situations that you need to address but do avoid predictable unnecessary stressors where you can by: learning how to say “no;” avoiding people who stress you out; and taking control of your environment.
  • Altering situations – If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it by: expressing your feelings and being assertive; being willing to compromise; or managing your time better.
  • Adapting to stressors – If you can, regain your sense of control through: changing your view of problems to a more positive perspective; looking at the bigger picture by taking perspective of stressful situations; and adjusting your standards by learning to be okay with “good enough.”
  • Accepting things – If you cannot prevent or change stressors try acceptance by: not trying to control the uncontrollable; looking for the positive side and opportunities for personal growth; and learning to forgive an imperfect world where people make mistakes.
  • Active relaxation techniques – Nurture yourself by making time for fun and relaxation so you are in a better place to cope with stressors. Do whatever suits you, such as: walking in nature; competing in sports; chatting with friends; having a restful bath; gardening; playing with a pet; lighting scented candles; reading a book; listening to music; watching a comedy; having a massage; doing yoga or meditation, guided imagery, positive affirmations, mindfulness, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, rhythmic exercise, etc.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle – Apart from exercise, other healthy lifestyle choices that can improve your resistance to stress include: eating a healthy diet; reducing caffeine and sugar consumption; avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs; and getting sufficient sleep.

There are a range of strategies and techniques available for coping with stress. The effectiveness of these strategies and techniques will vary depending on you as an individual and your circumstances.

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