How to Deal With Stress


Life can be stressful; sometimes you'll have to deal with ongoing stress positively. Stress can have a variety of causes such as family problems, job problems, financial difficulties, poor health, or even the death of someone close to you. It is important to recognize the causes (some stress is natural), take steps to deal with the root of the problem, and tackle the symptoms. Most importantly, don't battle stress alone — ask for help from a friend and, if necessary, a professional.

Part 1
Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Targeted exercise goes a long way toward freeing your body of stress hormones and increasing your endorphin levels - responsible for feelings of happiness. Carve out time during your busy day to exercise to both keep your body healthy and as a natural outlet for your stress. You should notice the difference.[1] Tip: Walking for even 20-30minutes each day is sufficient ifthat's all that you can afford.Walking isn't just good forstress-reduction: Adults over 40who walked briskly for at least150 minutes a week saw their lifeexpectancy increase by 3.4 –4.5 years.Tip: Walking for even 20-30 minuteseach day is sufficient if that's allthat you can afford. Walking isn'tjust good for stress-reduction: Adultsover 40 who walked briskly for atleast 150 minutes a week saw theirlife expectancy increase by 3.4 –4.5 years.Tip: Walking for even 20-30 minutes each dayis sufficient if that's all that you canafford. Walking isn't just good forstress-reduction: Adults over 40 who walkedbriskly for at least 150 minutes a week sawtheir life expectancy increase by 3.4 –4.5 years.Tip: Walking for even 20-30 minutes each day is sufficient if that's allthat you can afford. Walking isn't just good for stress-reduction:Adults over 40 who walked briskly for at least 150 minutes a week sawtheir life expectancy increase by 3.4 – 4.5 years.Tip: Walking for even 20-30 minutes each day is sufficient if that's all thatyou can afford. Walking isn't just good for stress-reduction: Adults over 40who walked briskly for at least 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancyincrease by 3.4 – 4.5 years.[2] Try to raise your heartbeat to 120-180 beats per minute for about 30 minutes per day. If you don't have time to do all thirty minutes in one sitting, don't worry; you can break up the exercise time however you need to fit your schedule. Swimming, hiking, and biking have been shown to reduce stress as well. A benefit of swimming and biking is that, opposed to jogging, they create far less joint strain, which makes them perfect for people with joint problems or those wanting to prevent them.[3]

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Give your body the sleep it wants, and your stress levels will take a nosedive. Sleep is a mechanism by which your body recuperates and restores its energy reserves. If you're not getting enough sleep, your body will use stress to keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy. Most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.[4] Young children and older adults need more, about 9-10 hours of sleep per night. Get into regular sleeping habits. If you can, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night and morning. Routinizing your sleep cycle will teach your body when it's supposed to go to be tired, aiding in better sleep and less sleep deprivation. 49% of Americans who don’t get enough sleep blame stress as the culprit.[5] If you believe that you're stuck in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation/stress creation, see your doctor for more targeted advice.

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Your body needs to be healthy, strong, happy and properly fueled to help you tackle stress. Like it or not, stress is a bodily reaction to anything that disturbs its natural state, meaning that your body can have a profound effect on producing and relieving stress. Tip: Water has been shown torelieve stress.[6] That's becausea dehydrated body createscortisol, a stress hormone. Anunder-hydrated body createsstress to motivate the owner ofthe body to properly care forhim/herself.Tip: Water has been shown to relievestress.[6] That's because a dehydratedbody creates cortisol, a stresshormone. An under-hydrated bodycreates stress to motivate the ownerof the body to properly care forhim/herself.Tip: Water has been shown to relievestress.[6] That's because a dehydrated bodycreates cortisol, a stress hormone. Anunder-hydrated body creates stress tomotivate the owner of the body to properlycare for him/herself.Tip: Water has been shown to relieve stress.[6] That's because adehydrated body creates cortisol, a stress hormone. An under-hydratedbody creates stress to motivate the owner of the body to properly carefor him/herself.Tip: Water has been shown to relieve stress.[6] That's because a dehydratedbody creates cortisol, a stress hormone. An under-hydrated body creates stressto motivate the owner of the body to properly care for him/herself. Start decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake. In some cases, alcohol intake increases stress response in humans while being linked to substance dependency, a stressful condition itself.[7]Caffeine is also responsible for raising stress levels, especially at work[8], so try to stick to water as a general rule. Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks during the day. It is better to eat several smaller meals throughout the day than to consume three large meals.[9] For a healthy stress-free diet, consume more complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain breads and pasta, foods high in vitamin A such as oranges, foods high in magnesium like spinach, soybeans or salmon, and black and green tea, which contain antioxidants.

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Relaxing your body, by whatever natural means, is a great way to reduce stress. Don't expect your stress to immediately dissipate; it can take time. In most cases, try not to fixate on the stress itself while you're relaxing. Think of something placid and tranquil, or think of nothing in particular. Let your body tell your mind that everything is okay. Listen to calm and soft music. Music really gets you relaxed and happy. Try listening to music with no vocals and pick music with instruments like the flute, piano, or violin. Classical, jazz, or folk tunes generally work well, but if that's not your cup of tea, choose music that puts you in a good place. Take a bath. Add Epsom salts or other fragrant bath salts for a luxurious touch. Indulge in your private time and relax the body. Get a massage. Either having a professional massage or con a loved one into giving you a stress-relieving massage. Use lotions or oils and dim ambient light for the most relaxing atmosphere. Start a diary or journal. You don't have to write in it every day. Writing down what's bothering you, what you've been busy with, and how you feel may help you to expel your negative emotions.

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Although you could technically consider yoga your daily exercise, practicing the deep stretches and slow body movements will help you to clear your mind. Meditating - clearing your mind - while practicing gentle yoga will give double the relaxation effect to ease your stress. Use guided imagery to imagine a place that makes you feel at peace. Imagine somewhere that you feel happy; focus on the details to fully remove your mind from the present. Do yoga alone or in a group setting to help you learn new poses. As you advance in your yoga, you will be able to form complex stretches that force you to focus and take your mind off your stress. Practice deep relaxation by doing progressive muscle relaxation. This is when you work through your body by tensing your muscles, holding the tension for ten seconds, and then releasing it. This will soften and relieve all the muscles in your body.

Treating Stress with Lifestyle Changes on How to Deal With Stress

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Often when you're stressed, you can look at your schedule and see that you are lacking time for doing your favorite activities. Whether that be drawing, writing, reading, playing sports, or cooking, set aside time on a daily basis to do those things you enjoy. Tip: Try picking up a new hobbyto help you relieve your stress.If you've always wanted to learnhow to ride horses or build modelairplanes, then do it! Learningsomething new will take your mindoff of whatever is bothering you,and give you a new hobby toenjoy.Tip: Try picking up a new hobby tohelp you relieve your stress. Ifyou've always wanted to learn how toride horses or build model airplanes,then do it! Learning something newwill take your mind off of whatever isbothering you, and give you a newhobby to enjoy.Tip: Try picking up a new hobby to help yourelieve your stress. If you've always wantedto learn how to ride horses or build modelairplanes, then do it! Learning somethingnew will take your mind off of whatever isbothering you, and give you a new hobby toenjoy.Tip: Try picking up a new hobby to help you relieve your stress. Ifyou've always wanted to learn how to ride horses or build modelairplanes, then do it! Learning something new will take your mind off ofwhatever is bothering you, and give you a new hobby to enjoy.Tip: Try picking up a new hobby to help you relieve your stress. If you'vealways wanted to learn how to ride horses or build model airplanes, then doit! Learning something new will take your mind off of whatever is botheringyou, and give you a new hobby to enjoy. If you have a very busy schedule, set aside at least just ten minutes per day to do what you enjoy. Although ideally you should spend thirty minutes to an hour, allowing just a small break from your hectic schedule will be enough to lower your stress levels.[10]

Part 2
Treating Stress with Mental Activities

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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Acknowledge the positive in your life and begin to re-establish some balance in your emotional register. Avoid focusing on only the bad things that happened during your day, but consider the good as well. Stop and count your blessings. Write down even the simplest things that you have and enjoy: a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on, quality food, warmth, security, good health, friends or family. Acknowledge that not everyone has these things. Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up every morning. This will keep your energy and mind focused on positive thinking. Be thankful for each day that you have; you never know which one could be your last! Use positive self-talk. Reinforce your resolve through positive statements such as, "I can handle this, one step at a time," or "Since I've been successful with this before, there's no reason why I can't do it again." Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus. Think about success, read about successful people. Don't admit defeat before you've been defeated. You don't deserve to beat yourself down so that you can punish yourself.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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Set goals for what you need to achieve during the day, then write a "to do list". Add some breathing room in the middle of the day that will give you time to recharge. Taking control of your time and priorities will significantly decrease the amount of stress you feel. Know your limits. Be realistic about what you can and can't accomplish in a day. It's not helpful if you bite off more than you can chew and then castigate yourself for not getting it done. Prioritize your tasks. Work on finishing the highest priority (most urgent/important) items first. Put low priority items on the bottom of your list. Try to avoid multi-tasking, as this can decrease focus. Instead, try to focus on important tasks and eliminate distractions.[11] Do your most unpleasant or most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination feeds stress! Emphasize quality in your work, rather than sheer quantity. Take pride in having done something well as opposed to having done a lot of something. Schedule your day, if possible, so that stressful scenarios don't overlap, reducing the number of stressors you must juggle at any one time. Stagger deadlines for large projects. Review your goals at the end of the day and think about everything you have achieved. This is cathartic and will help you sleep better. Check off the things that you accomplished on the to do list.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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Make sure you understand why you become stressed so that you can try to avoid these circumstances. Knowledge is powerful, and self-knowledge is especially powerful. Tip: Rehearse. When you know thatyou are going to face a stressfulsituation, rehearse how you aregoing to handle it. Pictureyourself overcoming itsuccessfully. Create a mentalvideotape that you can play overand over in your mind.Tip: Rehearse. When you know that youare going to face a stressfulsituation, rehearse how you are goingto handle it. Picture yourselfovercoming it successfully. Create amental videotape that you can playover and over in your mind.Tip: Rehearse. When you know that you aregoing to face a stressful situation,rehearse how you are going to handle it.Picture yourself overcoming it successfully.Create a mental videotape that you can playover and over in your mind.Tip: Rehearse. When you know that you are going to face a stressfulsituation, rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourselfovercoming it successfully. Create a mental videotape that you can playover and over in your mind.Tip: Rehearse. When you know that you are going to face a stressful situation,rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourself overcoming itsuccessfully. Create a mental videotape that you can play over and over inyour mind. If you notice, for example, that you regularly get stressed at a certain time with a certain person, go out of your way to prepare your brain for the upcoming stress. If the person is someone you love and trust, tell them how they make you feel in a non-threatening way. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your misgivings, remind yourself that the occasion is momentary, the feeling will pass, and you'll be in complete control soon.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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This especially comes with things such as politics, and often applies to other individuals. Learning to accept things as they are is an important coping mechanism, but not as easy as it sounds. Is the problem a real problem you’re currently facing, rather than an imaginary what-if? If the problem is an imaginary what-if, how likely is it to happen? Is your concern realistic? Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control[12] Admitting to yourself that there's nothing you can do about a particular issue will go a long way in helping you adjust. Acknowledge that maybe you feed off of stress, like an adrenaline junkie feeds off adrenaline, but that in your case, it's becoming unmanageable.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to others' decisions. Decide what you want and go for it! Learn to say no on occasion. You cannot do everything you are asked, and even if you could, you probably wouldn't want to. Resist the urge to be perfect at all times. Perfectionism can cause huge amounts of stress if you hold yourself to unattainable standards. Be realistic about what you can and can't do. Don't set yourself up for failure just because you want to stroke your ego. Don't get down on yourself for failing if you tried your hardest. You gave it your all, and nobody would ask you for more. Hold yourself accountable, but don't make being accountable impossible. Be one of your own best friends. It may sound cheesy, like something out of a Leave it to Beaver commercial, but it's true: Love yourself, depend (mostly) on yourself, and celebrate the things you do well. Loving yourself will ease the anxious question "Am I good enough?" and replace it with "I know I'm good enough."

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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One of the barriers to stress reduction is the temptation to take things too seriously. It's okay to back off from your intensity and see the humour in life's situations. Laugh a little or better yet, laugh a lot! See the humour in stress. Learn to laugh at yourself. Don't put yourself down, or lash your self-esteem, but try to be playfully deprecating about yourself from time to time. How are you expected to laugh at other things if you can't even laugh at yourself? Help yourself learn to laugh by listening to some stand-up comedy throughout the day. This will help you cultivate humor and keep the tone of your day light.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress. Your friends, if they are true friends, will try to understand what you're going through, and will accompany that empathy with a sincere desire to help out if at all possible. Ask your friends for help. If you want something done but can't find the strength or the time to do it, it's okay to ask your friends or loved ones for help. Express your gratitude and extend the offer of help as a kind of reciprocity. Learn to delegate to help decrease stress. Look for people's respect, not approval — your friends included. Your friends will respect you because they love you, even if they don't always agree with you. Your enemies (if you have any) will respect you because your motivations come from a sincere, heartfelt place. Resist the urge to be loved and accepted by everyone; it's literally a Herculean task. You'll find yourself a lot less stressed and a lot more satisfied if you do. Seek out positive people rather than negative ones. It sounds like a truism because it is: Surrounding yourself with people who are fun-loving, excited, and kind will help you avoid the stress you'd be feeling with pessimistic, cynical, mean people.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities on How to Deal With Stress

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Nothing else helps intensify stress more than negative thoughts. When you start to having the feeling of defeat is the perfect time for a little reminder. You know yourself better than anyone else, and you are the perfect person to give you the reminder that it will get better. Remind yourself of all of the things you have accomplished in the past. All of those small accomplishments add up to very big ones over time. Change the words you use. Instead of saying, "I can't do this," say something like, "I've been able to get through this before, and I will get through it this time too."

Part 3
Stand Up for Yourself

Stand Up for Yourself on How to Deal With Stress

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If someone is threatening you and you have stress and anxiety, stand up to them and tell them how you feel. Be wary of bullying behaviors, which can both create stress and have long-term negative mental health effects. If the person causing you stress doesn't listen when you open yourself up, be sure to reach out to someone for help.[13]

Stand Up for Yourself on How to Deal With Stress

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If you find yourself with ongoing stress, tell someone you trust about everything that is bothering you. Revealing yourself is a good way to express how you are feeling and get feedback regarding how to best deal with the situation. Note: If you find that yourstress persists for extendedperiods or under mostcircumstances, consider talkingto a mental health professional.Stress can sometimes result fromemotional or mental turmoil, anda trained professional can helpyou with the tools to better dealwith that.Note: If you find that your stresspersists for extended periods or undermost circumstances, consider talkingto a mental health professional.Stress can sometimes result fromemotional or mental turmoil, and atrained professional can help you withthe tools to better deal with that.Note: If you find that your stress persistsfor extended periods or under mostcircumstances, consider talking to a mentalhealth professional. Stress can sometimesresult from emotional or mental turmoil, anda trained professional can help you with thetools to better deal with that.Note: If you find that your stress persists for extended periods orunder most circumstances, consider talking to a mental healthprofessional. Stress can sometimes result from emotional or mentalturmoil, and a trained professional can help you with the tools tobetter deal with that.Note: If you find that your stress persists for extended periods or under mostcircumstances, consider talking to a mental health professional. Stress cansometimes result from emotional or mental turmoil, and a trained professionalcan help you with the tools to better deal with that.

Stand Up for Yourself on How to Deal With Stress

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That can help you express your stress and then relax your body. Holding in emotions is not good for your body.