What are Good Coping Mechanisms for Stress?
Every single one of us will have to deal with stress on a day-to-day basis. Some of that stress will spur us into action and help us achieve things in our life but sustained stress and pressure can have the complete opposite effect. Long-term stress can create mental health issues so it is important to create good coping mechanisms for stress. Let’s talk about what are good coping mechanisms for stress and how they can protect you from anxiety or depression.
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Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress
There are a number of good coping mechanisms for stress so we should talk about the healthy ones first. The aim of a good coping mechanism for stress is for it to have a positive impact on your life, not a negative one. So you should see a lowering in your stress levels and not see a detrimental impact on your physical or mental health from using it.
Here are some great emotional and problem-solving coping mechanisms that you can in your life to help deal with stress.
Time Management & Stress
Sometimes stress is created by others but in many cases, it is caused by people simply not being organised enough. When I talk to my stressed clients about their lifestyles in many cases it is this lack of organisation that is creating the problem.
I give my clients an example of how I resolved this problem many years ago when I started out as a trading assistant. My job was to input the trader’s figures into a database every day and run reports detailing how much profit or loss they made. The only problem is that each trader would hand me the paperwork at different times of the day sometimes making me run the reports multiple times which increased my stress levels.
My solution was simple. They were given a deadline of 11 am for all their paperwork to be handed in. Anything not included after that time was not in the report and they would have to wait until the following day. That simple change helped me gain back hours of time wasted chasing information.
You can do the same. Create blocks of time where you finish a particular piece of work and then move on to the next. Don’t procrastinate or stretch the deadlines and you find you can easily free up time.
Exercise to Help Stress
This is such a simple thing to do but a great stress buster. Go out for a walk, run, do yoga, play tennis, in fact, anything that gets the body moving. Exercise is a known stress reduction system and in most cases, it costs absolutely nothing to do.
Exercise is also great for our physical health which means you are achieving a dual goal. You will feel physically healthier as well as mentally. Just make sure that you timetable your time to do exercise in your diary. It can be so easy to make excuses not to do it but if you commit to it you will see a big difference in how you feel.
One way of dealing with stress that many people don’t think of immediately is walking away from a situation. Sometimes the stress that other people put us under is unacceptable and the only way of dealing with the situation is to leave.
As an example, if you have a controlling partner who belittles you and intimidates you daily no amount of typical stress reduction exercises will make much of a difference. The only way to deal with the problem is to leave the partner and start a new life where you are safe and able to do what you want.
This advice to walk away obviously comes with some caveats. You do need to have a plan. So don’t just walk out of your job with no income coming in and no way to pay the bills. You need to think of what you are going to do as a backup first and then implement your strategy.
Creating healthy boundaries is important for creating good coping mechanisms for stress. When boundaries are blurred it can create problems in your life.
One blurring of boundaries I see regularly is with ex-partners of my clients. The client may share a child with that partner but has since moved on. Yet the partner may turn up unexpectedly at their house asking to see the child or ring or text constantly. They also may cancel arranged visits and then try to ask for a meeting at short notice. In this situation, I always tell my clients to create boundaries.
Tell the ex-partner exactly what times they can ring or call and explain that you won’t pick up the phone outside of that time. Do not answer the door if the partner keeps on turning up unexpectedly. Explain that the matter will be referred to the police or the courts if it continues to happen. Set out what you want to happen rather than let the other person control you.
The same principles can be applied to work. For example, if you repeatedly answer emails in the evening then people will keep on sending you more of them. Agree on a cut-off time with your colleagues for emails to be answered and after that time turn off your work email system.
Therapy for Stress Management
Sometimes when stress is overwhelming you there is a need to call on extra support. That is exactly what therapy for stress management is designed for. As a stress therapist, I help my clients to assess their lifestyles and create positive strategies to enable them to improve their wellbeing.
It is not unusual for my clients to be unable to accurately understand where their stressors are because often they are too close to the situation. As the saying goes you “can’t see the wood from the trees”. A therapist is also a neutral person who can help rather than it being a friend or family member who may not be able to remain impartial.
In my stress management sessions, I also help my clients relax by using self-hypnosis which is one of the most powerful tools there is to help my clients switch off.
Self-Hypnosis for Stress Management
Self-hypnosis for stress management is a fantastic tool for helping you to relax and switch off. It can either be taught to you during sessions with a skilled therapist or alternatively you can use a hypnosis download to help.
I find that self-hypnosis for stress is easily helped with my audio download. All my clients have to do is put the audio on and lie back in a safe place and relax. There is no need to complicate matters by teaching specific techniques.
Generally within only a few listens my clients have completely switched off from the stress around them. It can also help my clients get a good night’s sleep which isn’t always possible when you are stressed and your mind can’t switch off.
You can purchase the guided meditation for stress in my online store for immediate download.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanism for Stress
Even though there are plenty of healthy coping strategies that you can use for stress many people still choose the unhealthy option, often without even realising. My clinic is filled with people who don’t understand why they have unhealthy habits and behaviours but in therapy, it soon becomes apparent that stress is behind many of their issues. Here are some of the unhealthy habits that you need to keep control of.
Eating and Stress
Stress piles on the pounds it is that simple. Why? Because people use food for comfort and if the habit is created it can be hard to stop it. In fact, many of my clients have learned to relieve stress with food since childhood and since then the habit has become a subconscious thought process rather than a conscious one.
This means a bad day at the office translates to a takeaway or a chocolate binge in the evening. A row with a partner sends them rushing to eat a cake. In many cases, the two events are not consciously connected by my clients until I ask them to practice mindful eating.
Weight loss therapy is designed to help you understand the link between what you are eating vs physical or emotional comfort.
Drinking and Stress
Another problem that I am seeing more and more of is alcohol consumption and stress. This is because it is now seen as more acceptable to drink at home so it becomes the go-to solution to unwind after a hectic day. Also, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced people out of bars and restaurants so alcohol consumption in the home has risen even more. Add the stress from the virus into the mix and you have a toxic combination.
Drink less therapy can help you to address the habit before it starts to take control of you. My four-session program to help my clients to drink less alcohol aims to teach new healthier habits and address any emotional problems that may be hiding underneath the surface.
Shopping and Stress
My clients who shop too much may also be using their retail “therapy” as a coping mechanism to make themselves feel better. A little bit of feel-good shopping is never a problem but it does become an issue if you are buying things that you can’t afford or hiding your purchases away.
Shopping addiction is very real and some of my clients can be spending hundreds if not thousands of pounds on items that they will never use.
Other Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
There are many more unhealthy coping mechanisms for stress that you might need to keep alert for. If you see yourself heading in a direction that is not healthy then resolve to get professional help to manage your stress levels. Here are some other issues you may need to be aware of:
- Using prescription drugs to relax
- Using recreational drugs (many of my clients smoke weed as a coping mechanism)
- Sleeping too much
- Watching hours of television
Online Stress Therapy Program
Are you looking to get help to manage your stress levels? My online stress therapy program has been designed to help my clients create good coping mechanisms for stress. The program lasts for four sessions and is usually taken online via Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or Facebook Video Messenger. To get more details of the program or to arrange your session simply fill out the form below.
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