Regardless of the scope of the problem or tragedy, it is important to have a set of coping mechanisms at your disposal in order to deal with the tough times we all inevitably encounter. Whether you’ve going through a breakup or dealing with problems at work, healthy coping mechanisms can be the difference between a hard, but manageable time in your life and a complete disaster.
Managing your stress in a smart and sustainable way can help you feel better physically and psychologically, and generally contribute substantially to your quality of life. However, not all coping mechanisms are created equal. If you are dealing with hardship, try using these healthy coping mechanisms to manage your stress:
1. Rely on your support system
Having a support structure in place is critical for dealing with problems that arise unexpectedly. In addition to friends and family you can trust and talk to, for many people this includes a medical professional. Mental health services would be an incredible resource for many people. This is someone who is removed from the emotions of your situation and is in a better position to provide advice about stress and, in some circumstances, medication.
Another way to build a support structure is to find a support group or establish a group of friends to talk to on a regular basis. Talking on a regular basis helps you and the people who care about you better understand your stressors so they can provide insights and possible solutions.
2. Never underestimate the power of humor
Of course, there is not comic relief to be found in every situation, but more often than not changing the point of view with which you approach something can be a lot of help. Stress can also be a state of mind, and there are usually alternative ways to consider things. Some healthy coping mechanisms can be humorous and help to lighten the situation.
Meditation can bring invaluable relief in moments of crisis or indecision. Although not technically a logical or analytic tool, many people find that meditation can prevent the mind from wandering towards unproductive and anxiety-inducing thoughts.
For many, anxiety is the result of runaway thoughts that can escalate quickly when left unattended, meditation helps mediate these effects while helping the mind to wind down and take rest.
4. Weighing the pros and cons
Stress can often be compounded by the tendency to overthink or fixate on a specific aspect of a problem. Sometimes developing a structure through which to make sense of a situation can bring a lot of comfort. There are pros and cons to everything in life and determining what these are can do a lot to put the mind at ease.
5. Physical exercise
Exercise is one of the best healthy coping mechanisms that radically reduces tension and provides relief for the body and mind. One of the most effective methods of engaging in stress management, exercise is something you can build into your daily schedule so that you can help manage anxiety before it gets out of control.
A consistent way to elevate endorphins and let your body know that you’re doing something positive for yourself, maintaining physical health goes a long way in adaptive coping.
6. Working on a new skill
Like exercise, taking a proactive approach to stress or anxiety can be extremely effective for many people. Especially if the cause of tension is due to not having enough experience or knowledge about a subject, a practical approach to dealing with it can be extremely useful is rebuilding confidence and self-esteem.
7. Taking time to reflect on and process your experiences
Another effective method for controlling overly emotional reactions is to confide in a friend or write your thoughts down in a journal. Often just saying something out loud can do a lot to minimize its potential to do harm. Having someone validate your fears and anxieties or provide comfort can also be huge relief, or they might even be able to offer a solution.
Either way, writing in a journal can also help a person put into words their feelings and the emotions that they are experiencing.
8. Taking a philosophical approach
Whether this means turning to faith by way of organized religion or incorporating philosophical teachings into your daily life, looking at things from a wider perspective can often be very helpful. This approach helps you understand that you’re not alone and are part of a broader system of ebbs and flows.
It can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of destructive thinking but stepping back and seeing things as a whole can help cast light on the fact that in life, things are always changing. Nothing bad will last forever and time really can do so much to heal wounds and provide new opportunities.