Wellness Toolbox

Dealing with Stress

Stress is unavoidable. And though there is good stress, the kind that can motivate you, there are far more instances of bad stress. Stress is your body’s response to negative stimuli. Big changes often cause stress; things like moving to a new city or losing a friend can create long-term stress in your life. I am not a doctor so I can only give you the solutions I have learned to deal with stress rather than the medical side effects of it.

Now, let’s jump into some de-stressing, shall we?

Step one: Acknowledge it. When I feel stressed or negative emotions I tend to want to fix it. I try to problem solve however when you do that. You might find that there’s more stress in it than anticipated. So one of my former therapists taught me that by acknowledging my feelings first, I could better solve my stress-related problem. Without acknowledging the problem, addressing it directly, how can you fix it? So you need to give it a name. Right now I feel… what? What physical sensations do you have? What emotion or emotions can you name that relate to how your feeling?

Step two Take a breath. Humans require air to breathe, it’s a fact! Now, this may just be personal to me, but I find that when I have oxygen in my lungs I feel a little less stressed. It takes the bite out of whatever stressors I am facing. Not always the biggest bite but at least a chunk or two. I try to get my heart rate down, and my oxygen levels up by taking a deep breath usually at the count of five for the inhale and three for the exhale. I do this as many times as I need until I reach a state of calm or relaxation.

Step three: Take a break. Now that my heart rate is down to a normal level, and have I acknowledged where I am on an emotional level, I tend to take a 5-10 minute break. I try not to take too long a break because I want to remain productive sometimes I journal, sometimes I read a blog or article, other times I write or work on a different project for that time.

Positive coping strategies

So we all have coping skills we have learned to deal with our stress, some like drinking or doing drugs can be harmful to our bodies, minds, and mental health recovery. If you find yourself reach of that negative coping strategy whenever you are stressed or are experiencing a drug and alcohol problem I encourage you to reach out to a professional or seek treatment.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Kati Morton has a video called 25 Amazing COPING SKILLS Everyone Needs for a list of therapist-approved positive coping skills that you can use to help yourself feel less stressed.

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