Dealing with stress can sometimes feel, well, stressful. From having to worry about work, school, kids, and a million other things that you have to deal with daily, life can be stressful. Interestingly enough not all stress is bad. There is such a thing as good stress. And when triggered, good stress can help you make decisions or motivate you to get a task done. But, stress becomes a problem when you have too much of it that stays around for long periods of time. Too much stress on the body can lead to a weakened immune system, cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease (ULifeLine). So it’s important to know how to help manage your stress levels so you can stay happy and healthy! This is why in honor of April being Stress Awareness Month, we have put together some healthy strategies and coping mechanisms that when paired with therapy, help you better deal with and manage stress.
While this may seem like a strange thing to do at first, positive self-talk can make a huge difference in your mentality if you have never tried it. It can help you feel more confident about what you need to accomplish, calm you down, and control your stress levels (American Heart Association). This is because instead of speaking to yourself negatively and telling yourself, “I can’t do this” or “everything is going to go wrong” you are instead changing your thinking to be more positive. So tell yourself, “I can do this” and “This is going to be a great thing!”. It will help you feel more positive about a situation and feel more in control. And the more positive and in control you feel, the less likely you are to stress about it.
Journaling can be a great way to handle your stress. In fact, many studies show writing things down can be a great tool in dealing with stress. For example, say you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things you have to do this week. Instead of trying to keep a running list of everything that needs to be done in your head, write them down. Visualizing what you have to accomplish can help make it seem like it’s not as much. And then once you have accomplished a task, you can check it off and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with that. There a lot of different approaches to journaling that can help, the Hope for Healing Foundation provides an extensive list of different journaling techniques that you can use to help manage stress.
Taking Care of Yourself
While this may seem like the most obvious tip, it’s also one of the most overlooked ones. Taking care of yourself properly can help greatly reduce your stress levels. But, we know sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in trying to accomplish everything that needs to get done. So to do that we may skip a meal or two or maybe not get as much sleep as we should, just so we can have more time to be “productive”. And while these may seem harmless or even a necessity to get the job done, they are affecting your stress. Getting enough sleep and taking care of your basic needs can help trigger your relaxation response, which in return prevents chronic stress (American Heart Association). Also the more well-rested you are and the better you feel, the more likely you are to feel able to handle everything that comes your way. Very Well-Minded does a wonderful job at providing different ways you can implement self-care into your daily lives and the benefits it can have! So whether it’s going for a walk and getting exercise, or taking one day a week all for yourself, make sure you are taking care of yourself.
In addition to these resources we also strongly encourage therapy. Here at Mathews Counseling, we are here to help you whenever you need us.
At Mathews Counseling, all of our therapists are highly qualified with a minimum of a Master’s degree in a mental health field, licensed by a state board, and experienced in the areas listed on their bios. We are sure there are a number of other questions you may have with regards to starting therapy and we are happy to answer any of them.