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coping

Back to Stress home

Stress
coping

1-avoid

1 avoid

2-alter

2 alter

3-adapt

3 adapt

4-accept

4 accept

5-relax

5 relax

6-lifestyle

6  lifestyle

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Start a stress journal

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure).

How you felt, both physically and emotionally.

How you acted in response.

What you did to make yourself feel better.

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

Smoking

Drinking too much

Overeating or under eating

Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer

Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities  Using pills or drugs to relax       

Sleeping too much

Procrastinating

Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems

Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)  

Learning healthier ways to manage stress

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Coping with Stress