What Is Habit Stacking? (And How to Do It)
What Is Habit Stacking? (And How to Do It) By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Supporting our mental health is one of those goals
While I hate to say it, stress is something that will pretty much always be there in your life. You certainly have it in your life, whether it is due to life events, daily stressors, or other factors. Stress is a problem that has become especially significant during the pandemic. Poor coping skills can lead to depression and anxiety. In this article, I will talk about what stress is and discuss 15 stress management coping skills and healthy strategies that you can use to manage stress more effectively.
Stress is your body’s response to pressure. It can be caused by so many different things. It can be both good and bad for your body. On the short term, limited amounts of stress can help you stay alert. It gives you the power to push through a difficult situation. Moreover, it also helps you respond to danger and face challenges.
However, the problems with stress come in two different scenarios. First, is when stress is too intense. Imagine an accident, an act of violence, or something similar. Even if it is a short event, it can have a lasting impact. Second, you might face a problem with stress when it’s continuous. Over time, stress wears you down, both physically and emotionally.
In addition, when you experience stress, your brain releases specific hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. These influence your body. You can feel these effects too. For instance, they interfere with digestion or make your hearts beat faster.
Undoubtedly, these are useful for the short-term responses of running away or just dealing with the situation at hand. But, stress is not so great when it overcomes your body’s ability to manage it, or when it lasts too long. It’s meant as a short-term response.
Finally, the link between too much stress and unhealthy outcomes is well-documented. But, it’s not just how much stress you experience, but also how well you handle it. In conclusion, healthy stress management coping skills can minimize the impact of stress.
Overall, stress is a complex situation that affects your body, your mind, and your emotions. The strategies I will discuss below focus on different aspects of your well-being. Below are 15 different stress management coping skills separated by different categories – physical, social, and emotional.
Undeniably, different situations call for different tools. The more tools you put in your toolbox the better. Try a few of these out at your leisure.
The first category I’m going to discuss are some different physical stress management coping skills. Below, I’ve got 6 different coping skills for you that I’d clump into this category.
A short walk can reduce your stress and relax your body. A little exercise burst can help you center once more. If you can go outside, that’s even better. Natural environments reduce our stress and promote well-being.
Breathing deeply is almost a cliche piece of advice, but that’s for a reason. Breathing deeply is the best way to “shut off” your body’s fight or flight response, triggered by stress. It signals that everything is fine and helps you relax. Plus, it’s very easy to do.
Hot beverages, like tea, can make us feel better and more relaxed. It’s been suggested that they feel like a touch of someone’s hand, so that’s comforting. Coffee and drinks with a lot of caffeine can make you more jittery, so watch out for that.
Cuddle with a pet or hug your significant other. Physical contact is a great natural antidote to stress and relaxes us right away. It helps release hormones that counteract cortisol.
Sleeping properly every night or almost every night can help you resist stress. But taking a nap or just lying down can also reduce stress a lot. Likewise, sleep is a great way to bring down your frustration if you are able to wind down. If not, just lie down, close your eyes, and try a relaxation exercise or meditation.
A quick burst of exercise can help you get rid of some of the stress and produce endorphins, which feel good. Exercise can be a way to express the nervous energy and tension that often accompanies stress. Having exercise as a habit in general can help reduce the impact of stress on your body.
For the most part, stress can feel worse when you are alone or if you are experiencing some fear of missing out (FOMO). Others can help you feel better just by simply being there. Below are 4 different social strategies that you can use to decrease stress.
Something that feels overwhelming for one person can be easy for a few. Ask for help from those around you. It might surprise you how many are willing to help. This can be a constructive way to approach the situation. Being vulnerable is hard. But it can be rewarding. How do you expect people to help you if you are unable to communicate to them that you need help?
Talk to someone else. Social contact can be a great solution for some stressful situations. You don’t have to focus on what’s worrying you, and even a bit of small talk can feel nice. Send a text message, a meme, or just an emoji to someone who is distant. Chat with a colleague or a person in your vicinity. A little social interaction can cheer you up.
If you find your stress is getting out of hand, you can always seek support. It doesn’t have to get really bad before you are “entitled” to support. A counselor, therapist, or doctor can orient you on how to manage your stress and if there is a bigger issue in play at the moment. Besides, there are a lot of benefits of attending therapy with a therapist. If you are interested, learn more about if you should attend therapy and how to find a therapist.
If you are facing a specific situation, it helps to know others have faced it too. Look up online people who discuss similar cases and see what they have done. It can make you feel connected to others rather than isolated by the situation.
Some stress management coping skills, focus directly on the mind and on your emotional state. These can help address feelings of anger, fear, or any other situation that’s linked to your stress. Below are 5 different emotional strategies to help you cope with stress more effectively.
Meditation is a technique that helps you find peace. Meditation relaxes your body and your mind. To meditate, all you need to do is to focus on something specific. It can be your breathing or a phrase or your sensations. Let your thoughts come and go. If you find your mind wandering, bring it back gently to the present. Meditation is a great tool for stress and can improve your emotional well-being.
It’s important to stay informed. But you don’t have to be 100% informed all the time. Steer clear of social media and any news sites that can make you feel worse. Focus on entertainment that comforts you. Better yet, turn off your screens and do something else instead. Reading or walking can do wonders for your emotions. The important thing is to avoid anything that might make you feel more stressed and toxic to your mental health. You can also learn how to get over fomo by attending counseling with a therapist.
Laughter might not always be the best medicine, but it still is a good one. A funny clip or image, a comedy or a joke can help you feel better and relax quickly. Amusement is a good emotion to feel when stressed. If you can make fun of whatever is making you worried, it can appear in a different light as well.
Write about the experience and all the things it makes you feel. Don’t worry about making sense or spelling mistakes. Allow yourself to write freely until you are done. You can also adopt journaling as a practice. Putting your thoughts down on paper gets them out of your head. Things can seem different from this perspective. If you are needing some journaling prompts for mental health, look no further.
A hobby is likely to relax you and bring positive emotions. Do art, music, games, or whatever other activity that helps you escape temporarily in a healthy manner and brings you pleasure. Focus on something that is not the problem for a while. Having fun is a good way to counteract stress. Do you have 15 minutes today to give to a hobby? You can find the time if you want to. Learn more about the top ten stress relieving hobbies.
There are many stress management coping skills and healthy strategies that you can use to reduce the negative effects of stress and get through difficult times. Even if they don’t solve the underlying issue, they can help you manage it better. Choose the strategies that are most effective for you and that are available at the time. You might be too busy to meditate, for example, but have time for a few quick deep breaths.
At the same time, it is worth looking into whatever issues are causing you chronic or intense stress. But you can’t just get rid of stressors entirely. Learning to manage the underlying causes and coping strategies can both help a lot.
Some unhealthy coping strategies include using drugs and alcohol to deal with the effects. Undeniably, these bring more trouble in the long run. Binge eating and eating unhealthy foods are also coping strategies that can result in trouble down the line. Discover the healthy strategies that work best for you and turn to them when you need help with a stressful situation.
Maintaining good habits, like a solid sleep schedule, exercise, and nutrition, can make you more resilient and better able to handle stress. They sustain better physical and mental health. Also, pay attention to your emotional well-being. Above all, try to leave situations that are almost constantly stressful and toxic.
Do you want to stay up to date on what is new at Fort Wellness Counseling? You can follow us on the social media channels of your choice: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn.
What Is Habit Stacking? (And How to Do It) By: Rane Wallace, MS, LPC, LCDC, SAP Supporting our mental health is one of those goals
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