Helpful Ideas for Coping with Stress
How to Get Help When You Are Struggling With Stress
Helpful Ideas for Coping with Stress
Stress is a common emotion, especially for most people in the United States. It’s likely you or someone you know struggles with stress or anxiousness in your life. The good news is feeling anxious is easy to help, and there is hope for those who are struggling.
Understanding Your Struggle
The first step to managing this emotion is understanding it. The more we know about something, the more empowered we feel when we experience it. Anxiousness is the body’s response to perceived danger. In ancient times humans learned to survive dangers by recognizing them and responding to them; this occurred when the body went into a fight versus flight response. Immediate danger meant immediate decisions needed to be made—do you fight the danger, or do you run away from it? That choice could mean life or death. Unfortunately, when anxious feelings strike, for most of us it isn’t a life or death situation. It can be as simple as someone potentially being disappointed in you, overwhelming noise in a crowded area, or receiving a new project from your boss.
When experiencing this response, there are several things happening in your body. Most likely notice how their heart is pounding, they can feel their blood pumping. That is the adrenaline preparing you to survive. Your body is trying to protect you, but it's confused, and its response unnecessary. This can be a comforting thought that your body is trying to look after you, and rather than grow angry at the experience, you can acknowledge it for what it is. And after it’s been acknowledged, and you’re aware of the changes going on in your body, it’s time to practice coping strategies that work best for you.
Mindfulness, a key component of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, has been proven to reduce stress. The empowering feature of mindfulness is that it does not necessarily focus on changing our thoughts, which can be so hard in those moments of stress. Mindfulness instead focuses on honoring those triggering thoughts and feelings of anxiousness, and then grounding yourself by means of meditation, journaling, or other grounding techniques.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to meditation, you might consider a guided meditation, audio online, or perhaps even an instructional yoga video. A great way to enhance your relaxation experience, and decrease stress is adding essential oils to your grounding routine. For example, copaiba oil can help soothe those anxious feelings and stress. Try adding a few drops to a diffuser, while practicing yoga and experience the relaxing effects.
Another great mindfulness activity is journaling; it’s way to understand where your anxious feelings come from, and track how it is affecting you. Bullet journaling in particular is a great option for those who do not have a lot of time, and would like to track their moods. It is also a great way to increase positivity by doodling positive quotes and meaningful memories, pasting pictures or notes from others. If you want to dive more into bullet journaling and traditional journaling, consider viewing inspiring prompts to get you started!
Physical vs Emotional
Meditation and yoga can impact both the physical and emotional response to anxious feelings, whereas other grounding techniques or journaling,\ tend to tackle the emotional aspect. It is good to consider a mix of these coping options. Sometimes simply going out for a walk or exercising at the gym can relieve stress, and boost hormones such as serotonin or dopamine that not only help with stress, but other sad emotions as well. Music is also known to boost dopamine levels, so put on that fitness playlist and hit the gym!
There are many that could benefit from these techniques to help relieve stress in your life. While these techniques are helpful, it is recommended to see your doctor or a mental health professional as well, especially if your stress and anxiousness worsen.