How to Cope with Stress: A Basic Primer

Stress is our response to situations, which occur almost every day, and we find it difficult to handle. Getting late to arrive at work, falling ill, facing an exam, failing to achieve a goal, breaking of a relationship, passing of a loved one, having to do a lot in a little time, being burdened with outstanding bills, are a few to mention. A certain level of stress is needed for us to be productive. Otherwise we do not tend to put any effort into what we do.


The problem occurs when your stress factor increases far beyond the level it has to be. So, we must learn what bad impacts it can have on us, and how to keep it on a moderate level.
There are some signs that tell you that your stress factor is too high. Irritability is one. If you find yourself snapping at everybody, take caution. You may also feel that what you used to enjoy no more pleases you.

It’s difficult for one to concentrate on something when one is too stressed. Loss of appetite, overeating, lack of sexual drive, sleep disturbance, reduced efficiency in work, increased use of tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee, or any other addictive substance, symptoms of illness with no underline physical cause [psychosomatic symptoms] are such warnings too.

Suppose you have some of these warning signals. What will happen if you do not take action? It might affect your family and social life. It is likely that you would not be able to perform your best in your career or education. Your physical and mental health may become at risk. More than anything, your happiness will be stolen away from you.

But, cheer up! There are so many stress coping methods, which can be used to bring your stress factor down to the level where it should be. It is only a matter of knowing them, applying them to see which works for you best and practice them until they become habits. They are all very simple and easy. Let’s go into some detail about some of them, one by one.

Be organized

Always work towards a goal, whether it is a matter regarding your job or education or family life or social life or what ever. Make sure that your goals do not clash with your values. For example, if you are very fond of spending a lot of time with your children, having a carrier goal that requires hours and hours of office deskwork will be problematic. Plan each of your days according to your goal. It is not possible always to stick to a plan, but nevertheless, a plan will help you to do more and better with less time, taking a lot of stress off you.

Feel free to make changes to your goals and plans as you see fit. Flexibility is important until you get things fairly shaped.

Tidy up your home and workplace

Seeing everything neatly arranged in their places gives you a significant relief from stress. It also saves time. The mere action of cleaning and arranging things in order will have a very good effect.

Try to approach any problem you face in life, in a systematic manner

Ask yourself, how, why, when, it happened. Gather as much information as possible, regarding the nature of the problem, and how to solve it. Then do your best to solve it. Accept what you can’t change, as it is.

Exercise regularly

In addition to improving fitness, an exhausting physical workout makes a lot of serotonin secreted into your blood. Serotonin gives you a feeling of satisfaction and well-being. Include aerobic, flexibility, and, resistance exercises to your program in good balance. Consult your physician, discuss with a personal trainer, and do a bit of reading, about what combination of work out in what intensity suits you best.

Eat healthily

Make your meals consist mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw, whole grain, lean meat and small fish. Take fat, oil, sugar, salt, and spices sparingly. Avoid junk food at all costs. A wholesome diet will always give a better shape to your body, improve your health, and that means less stress for you. Healthy food also pumps harmless, “feel-grate”, substances to your systems.

Have social support

When you feel stressed, talk to someone who listens well without judging you. Even if that person does not put a solution to your problem, emptying your heart of troubled thoughts will make you feel relieved. Trying to help someone who is in need will also help you to cope with your own stress. A sociable person is less vulnerable to stress.

Do something you can enjoy

Read a good book, listen to some soothing music, go for a nature walk, watch a movie you like, draw a picture, compose a song, go out and meet friends, have a party, any thing that is fun and relaxing to you.

Learn to relax

There are so many easy relaxation exercises that may help you to stay calm in spite of all life’s burdens. You can learn them on the net, from books, from a clinical psychologist or a yoga instructor. You can download relaxation music mp3s from the Internet for free.

Give up any stimulating substances, which you are addicted to

Try quitting cold turkey, or reduce the intake gradually. However, if you find it difficult to do on your own, you may have to get help from a team of professionals consisting of a physician, clinical psychologist, and probably a psychiatrist.

So, you have touched upon a few of the numerous strategies of coping with stress. If you do some research yourself, reading, surfing the net, consulting professionals, you will get to know much more. Not only that but also you will be able to form your own techniques, depending on your knowledge gained by exploring. So, go ahead, learn them, apply them, be less vulnerable to stress, and be happy.

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