Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Coping With Stress


Stress is a part of life. But it can affect health if the stress becomes persistent. Learning to relieve stress not only makes you feel better, it decreases your risk of medical illness. Here are some ways to reduce your stress.

Adjust your attitude.

You may find it easier to cope with stress by focusing on three ideas: challenge, control and commitment.

  • Try to interpret stressful situations as challenges, not as threats.
  • Determine what you can control; sometimes the only thing you will be able to control in a stressful situation is the way you respond, but that’s a start.
  • Make a commitment to be good to yourself by eating healthfully, thinking positively and maintaining relationships with people you care about.

Learn to problem solve.

A good method is to think through difficult situations systematically.

  • Break problems into smaller pieces to make them less overwhelming
  • Focus on problems that really need your attention and leave the rest
  • Know your limits
  • Learn to be flexible
  • Be realistic about your choices


Keeping your troubles inside only adds to stress. Find someone safe to talk to about your worries; it will reduce stress and help you deal with practical problems. Consider participating in a support group.


Regular exercise reduces stress. It helps protect the cardiovascular and immune systems from the consequences of stressful events. Whether it’s swimming, walking or another form of exercise, find time to do the activity on a regular basis.

Take control of your diet and your sleep.

An unhealthy diet and poor quality sleep add to the negative effects of ongoing stress. It can be a cycle that’s a challenge to break. If you’re stressed you are more likely to not eat well and have difficulty sleeping. Take time for relaxation techniques, especially before getting into bed.


  1. Jim

    There is some amount of stress in everyone’s life but we can cope with low levels. Over the years, even low levels of stress can build up and hamper the way we act and feel.
    You might be going off to work on a sunny morning and feeling just right. You stop for a traffic light and the light changes to green. You don’t react immediately. Well now, the vehicle behind you is equipped with a driver who is running late and doesn’t want to get chewed out by his car-pooling buddies, and later his boss, because he started his day on a late note. He immediately lays on the horn to give you a jolt of “get with it”. You haven’t pulled away yet but were just about to. After hearing the horn, and before you pull away you look around and into the rear view mirror to check that the way is clear for you to proceed and curious to know if it was you that was getting the blast. You take another quick glance at the light, see that you have the right-of way and drive ahead.
    This all happens in a few seconds but it’s not only you who felt that initial charge through your body when the nasty horn let go, but everyone within listening range went through the same cautious “I hope it’s not me” feeling. That’s an added small level of stress for anyone in the area.
    This is just one possible stressful occurrence and there can be many throughout our day…it’s how you deal with things like this that makes the difference. If you were stopped at the light, all stressed from the day before, had a lousy nights sleep, had small problems in the morning with the kids and then the scene at the stop light….well… things might have slapped you in the face and you would have reacted more negatively. It would also last much longer during your daily chores.
    Stress can be a bad thing when it it’s not addressed and dealt with.

  2. Martha

    As obvious as it sounds, stopping to think about what stresses you can help you cope — for several reasons:

    Uncovering the roots of your stress helps you avoid that stress.
    Knowing where your feelings come from makes you feel more in control, and helps lessen stress.
    Recognizing that stress causes your behavior, not something else, can reduce your anxiety about the behavior itself. For more information, see Sources Of Stressors.

    To identify the source of your stress and its severity, see The Stress Scale.

    This scale, known as the Social Readjustment Scale, ranks the severity of stress caused by ordinary events, such as marriage and divorce, birth and death, going to college and changing employers. Events near the top of the scale — those related to death, injury and illness — are associated with greater risk of stress-related physical illness than those at the bottom of the scale (for example, obtaining a mortgage, retiring and receiving a traffic ticket). People at highest risk, those with more than one high-ranking stressor, need the most help with stress management.

  3. Rachel

    You’re at your wit’s end. All day your boss was on the warpath, and all night your kids screamed and fought with one another. Now it’s 10 p.m. There are piles of bills crowd the counter and dirty dishes line the sink. All you want to do is relax. You plop yourself in your favorite chair, reach for the remote and start surfing.

    Sound familiar? Tuning out the world is one of the most common responses to stress. But it’s not necessarily the most effective one. In fact, stress-management experts say stress reduction requires attention and discipline. Activities that actually reduce stress include daily exercise, finding constructive outlets for your emotions, socializing, performing relaxation exercises and eating a healthy diet.

    None of these methods may eliminate your stress entirely, but they can help you balance your stress with positive experiences, to help you maintain a healthier mind and body.

    Research shows that practicing stress management is not merely about helping you live a more pleasant life. It also can help you live a longer one.

Medically trained in the UK. Writes on the subjects of injuries, healthcare and medicine. Contact me

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