Life can be stressful. The source of stress can be varied – both positive events (e.g., planning a wedding) and negative events (e.g., loss of a family member) can be stressful. We may often wish we could get rid of the stress in our lives entirely, however this is not realistic. It is more realistic to develop skills to manage stress effectively. Stress managed ineffectively can have a profound impact on our health and quality of life. Here are a few tips that may help with effective coping with stress:
- Identify your stressors and stress symptoms so that you can put into place strategies that may help you to manage the stress. Symptoms of stress are different for different people and may include changes in mood (e.g., increased irritability), changes in sleep, racing thoughts, feeling overwhelmed, changes in appetite, headaches, nausea, stomach aches.
- Engage in relaxation practices. Sometimes it is helpful to remind ourselves to just take a minute to focus on our breath.
- Pay attention to your thinking. There is a relationship between thoughts and feelings. When experiencing stress many people are likely to engage in negative thinking. When we catch ourselves engaging in negative thinking it can be helpful to ask ourselves what we would say to a friend if he/she was in a similar situation.
- Ask for help. It is okay to ask for help and sometimes delegating tasks or just venting to a friend can be helpful. Cognitive behavioural and mindfulness based strategies can also assist with effective stress management; if you are interested in these strategies consider getting in touch with a psychologist.