People are feeling more stressed out than ever. The majority of people say they are stressed by things like money, work, the current political climate, violence and crime, and worries about the future of the country.
So how can we deal with all this stress? There are three big ways to cope with stress. Let’s think about stress like weight… but instead of physical weight, it’s emotional weight.
If you are trying to lift too much physical weight, you have three options.
First, you can reduce the amount of weight. Second, you can build more muscle. Or third, you could improve your mental game. We know from sports 90% is how you think about it.
The same is true of emotional weight. When you are stressed, you have three options.
3 Ways to Cope With Stress
First, you might be able to reduce your stressors.
To do this, list all your stressors and put checks by the ones you can take care of later or just get rid of altogether. But the truth is sometimes you can’t reduce your stressors – or at least not enough to really make a difference.
That means you have to rely on the other two options. The second option is to increase your coping. This is kind of like building muscle. The way you build emotional muscle is by using good coping strategies.
Coping strategies are things you do – or could do – that help you reduce your stress. It could be talking to friends, walking your dog, journaling, cooking, building something, listening to music, meditating, or anything else that works for you.
You can always use this option, so it’s a good idea to write down a list of 5 to 7 strategies that can work for you. When you feel stressed, pull out the list and do one of the activities on your list.
“What is your favorite stress management technique?”
The third option for dealing with stress is to change your thinking. Most stress is about the meaning of the stress. Take an example
Let’s say two people have to give a presentation in front of a group of 20 people. The first person is sweating bullets and rates his stress as an 8 on a 10 scale. The second person is cool and calm and rates her stress as a 2 on a 10 scale.
What’s the difference? Well, the first person is probably having thoughts like, “What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone?” “What if I stumble over my words?” “I worry people will see me sweating.” Things like that.
The second person is probably having thoughts like, “It’s only a
It’s the same stressor, but it affects one more than the other because of how he’s thinking about it. Changing your thinking might not eliminate your stress, but it can reduce a lot of the weight of it.
So, those are the 3 big ways you can cope with stress:
- Reduce your stressors (if you can).
- Increase your coping.
- Change your thinking.
None of these will make all your stress disappear, but they can help you cope a lot better. You don’t want your life to be completely stress free.
Just like lifting physical weight builds strength and muscle, the same is true of emotional weight. When you deal with stress, you build emotional muscle and that makes you more resilient. But using these ways of coping can let you manage your stress in healthy ways.
What are your favorite stress management technique?