How to Handle Stress?

How to Handle Stress?
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 23-03-2023

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Recent events have taken a significant toll on our mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us overthink our family, finances, health, and future. Stress has increased as a result of an increase in overthinking. Managing workload, personal life, and others becomes too stressful.

Many factors play a role in  increased stress levels. As it can get too overwhelming sometimes, everyone must pull out some ‘me time’ for their mental health and wellbeing.

There are several ways to overcome stressful situations:

  • Meditation

  • Focused breathing

  • Writing thoughts

  • Sleeping it off

  • Spending time with loved ones

  • Indulging in house chores

  • Listening to music

While some of these ways are effective, most of them are not long-lasting. Managing stress requires you to learn certain skills. Such skills can be lifesavers! If managed rightly during the required time. Mismanaged stress impairs your thinking abilities, increases ineffective functioning, and does not allow you to enjoy the little things, it can bring imbalance to your emotional and physical wellness.

Efficient management of stress allows you to take hold of your life making it more joyful, wholesome, and fruitful. Stress management takes time but helps you in the long run. Below are 5 ways to manage and handle stress.

Avoid stressors

Avoiding a stressful situation is different from avoiding stressors. There are probably many unnecessary stressors you can easily omit.

  • Learn to say no. Do not take more responsibility than you handle.
  • Resort to Plan B. If shopping for groceries in a supermarket is a stressful task, try ordering them online.
  • Stay away from negative people. Spending less time with such people gives you unnecessary stress.

Take care of yourself

Being physically active can be a great and healthy distraction. Endorphins (the feel-good hormone) are released when  we are engaged in physical activity. Research shows that physical exercise of at least 30 minutes is beneficial. The most easy exercises are:

  • Walking

  • Dancing

  • Cycling

  • Swimming

When indulging in such activities, your attention should be on your body and breathing. Sense the movements and connect them with your breathing. Such mindful groundings help you calm down. Mindfulness helps in breaking the chain of negative thoughts/ overthinking that come along with stress. Following are some ways to begin being mindful.

  • Guided meditations

  • Feel and appreciate nature

  • Listen to calm music

  • Practice Yoga

  • Take time during Prayers

  • Practice Gratitude

Enjoy some alone time

All work and no fun make you dull inside out. Hustling in life makes us feel that enjoyment and leisure time is a luxury. It is crucial for everyone to stop and catch a breath to feel as if we re not always running. 

  • Plan weekends to take a break

  • Indulge in hobbies

  • Watch comedy movies

  • Learn self-care and self-love

Healthy eating habits

A good, healthy, and fulfilling meal will set you in a good mood instantly. Balanced diets enhance our mood significantly. Incorporate the following eating habits to keep your stress levels in check:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast

  • Reduce caffeine intake

  • Quit smoking

  • Cut down sugar 

  • Reduce alcohol consumption

Connect with someone

Last but not the least, find someone you can share your issues as well as achievements with. This person should be trustworthy, so you can share and discuss your issues with them. It is essential to spend time with someone who makes you feel heard and provides a respite from the fast paced life. Be it a friend,partner,colleague, parent, or even a therapist.

Sometimes managing stress may not be easily possible. This may also build foundations for other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, if not given immediate attention. If stress is something you cannot handle on alone, professional help is the right way to manage it.

An online therapist can help you find the root cause of your stress and guide you to betterment. It is never late (or shameful) to seek the help of a therapist.

Do not suffer in silence, begin to work on your stress now to avoid further complications.

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