The overloaded demands of our modern lifestyles have left many of us living on the edge, trying to balance demanding work schedules, competing for opportunities, worrying about money, and raising our children all within a very combative world.
No wonder stress is more the rule than the exception today.
And that’s why it’s imperative that we cultivate healthy coping strategies to help us manage and minimize its debilitating effects on our well-being.
In this article, I will be sharing with you 7 coping strategies, to help you effectively manage and overcome stressful life events and upheavals.
But before we get started, we’ll first need to understand what exactly coping strategies are.
Coping strategies are the mechanisms by which we attempt to minimize, tolerate, or master the stressors and problems in our lives.
They can be negative or positive.
For example, using alcohol or drugs to escape a situation is a negative coping strategy, whereas talking to someone about your problems is a positive strategy.
It’s important to note, that when it comes to coping strategies, there’s no one-size-fits-all. What works for one person, might be a stressor for another.
So, try the following strategies and discover what works best for you.
1. Reframe How You Interpret Your Experiences
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
― Dr. Wayne Dyer
It’s not what happens to you, but your reaction to what happens that causes your suffering.
For instance, if you lose your job, that is a traumatic and stressful situation and understandably so.
But, the real suffering comes when you personalize this event and start asking yourself questions such as;
- Why me?
- Why do bad things always happen to me?
- How come I’m never appreciated?
If you were to reframe your questions to;
- What lessons can I learn here?
- Does this create new possibilities for me?
- What new skills can I master to strengthen my position in my following job?
You would optimistically shift your mood and create an opportunity to re-evaluate your life’s vision and goals.
2. Cultivate A Meditation Practice
Meditation is a set of techniques that promote focused attention and a heightened state of awareness.
And it’s one of the most rewarding coping strategies, whose myriad of benefits including stress and anxiety relief, have been backed by scientific research.
Meditation enables you to cut through the identification with your thoughts, that keeps you in a guaranteed state of agitation and disharmony, by helping you realize that you are not your thoughts and that they are just a byproduct of your mind.
Through meditation, you can start to observe your thoughts without accepting them as concrete truth, freeing yourself to experience life as it really is, rather than the version created by your mind.
3. Spend Time In Solitude
The seeds of your greatness are sown in solitude.
Spending time alone is one of the best coping strategies that you can implement to experience lasting stress relief.
Reading a book quietly, journaling, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or praying are all wonderful ways to spend time alone, and stimulate your healing and creativity.
Time spent alone is as important as socializing when it comes to your well-being, that’s why it’s important that you plan to spend at least an hour every day in solitude.
It’s in the expansive space of stillness that you can effortlessly access your ever-present inner guide―your intuition, to help guide you through the demanding pressures of your life.
4. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh
Laughter is indeed the best medicine, and that’s why it’s often listed as one of the many coping strategies freely available to us.
It’s a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, pain, and conflict.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals that promote an overall sense of well-being.
Nothing works faster to lift your mood and bring back balance into your mind and body than a good laugh.
And it’s contagious too!
So, get laughing today.
Boost your mood instantly by watching funny video clips and laugh out loud.
It will give your internal organs a wonderful massage, your heart a good workout, and wash away the knotted tension and fears in your body and mind.
5. Get Creative
Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.
It’s a wonderful form of meditation and when practiced regularly, can help calm your mind, relieve stress and anxiety, and help you strip away limiting beliefs and draining emotions in a healthy way.
Many of us were creative as children, we drew, painted, acted, made toys out of scraps and pieces, and spent joyful hours bringing the imaginations of our minds to life.
But, growing up stunted this natural instinct as we wanted to fit in with society’s expectations and not appear frivolous and dreamy.
It’s time for you to reawaken this life-enhancing ability and draw, color, write, paint, dance, to help yourself perceive the world in a new way and generate authentic solutions to your problems.
6. Make Time For Play
In these stressful times we live in, it’s essential that we counteract our uptightness with activities like adult play.
Do you remember the sheer joy of making cartwheels as a child, climbing trees, playing with a dog, acting, dancing, standing on your head, or skipping rope?
What’s stopping you now cutting loose from other people’s opinions and playing just because you can?
Adult playing has been shown to help;
- Couples rekindle their intimacy and relationship
- Facilitate deep connections between parents with their children
- Improve brain functionality
- Stimulate creativity
- Boost productivity and so much more!
So, get playing, better yet, make it a family affair and help soften any tension and conflict with your loved ones.
7. Set Your Boundaries
For you to live a joyful and contented life, it’s necessary that you limit or stop spending time with anyone that antagonizes your character, values, or sense of self-worth.
We are all grumpy and irrational sometimes, but there are those amongst us, whose sense of purpose is derived from provoking and making others feel small.
I encourage you to generously utilize one of modern life’s best inventions―the Ban, Block, and Delete functions on your digital devices, and apply these functions too, in all other areas of your life.
Reclaim your right to a peaceful existence.
Don’t let your need to be accepted and liked override your sense of well-being.
You can’t completely get rid of stressful people and situations, but you can choose how you respond to them, and that makes you the powerful creator of your own reality.
Have fun incorporating in your life the coping strategies I’ve shared with you.
And please share with us in the comment section below any other coping strategies that you have found to be effective in aiding stress relief.