How can we handle stress in healthy ways?

|| Post On > Mar 19 2022 ||

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand. 

Stress serves an important purpose—it enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties (for example, anxiety and depression) or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover. The stress response includes physical components such as an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts and personal beliefs about the stressful event, and emotions, including fear and anger. Although we often think of it as being negative, stress can also come from positive changes in your life, like getting a promotion at work or having a new baby.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:

  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It's good to be informed but hearing about the traumatic event constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, TV, and computer screens for a while. 
  2. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
  3. Take care of your body:
  •  Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate 
  •  Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. 
  •  Exercise regularly. 
  •  Get plenty of sleep. 
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use. 
  •  Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider. 
  •  Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible; get a booster shot if you are age 18 or older.

4. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. 

5. Talk to others. Talk with people external icons you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor. 

6. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. 

7. Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.

8. Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.

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