Cope with Stress

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin

Whether we want to admit it or not we can all agree that stress can play a big part in our lives. Even when we don’t mean to let it happen, it still manages to find a way to crawl into our lives and fester inside us. I’ve dealt with stress a lot in my life. Whether it be people, events or deadlines, I know how it feels to be so overwhelmed to a point where it seems like you’ll never go back to a time where you were more carefree.

Since being out of school this past year, I’ve found myself becoming stressed with where my life is going, and how it hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would. It’s common to feel unsure about where your life is going, like you’re walking on a path that is engulfed in fog, but when it gets to a point where the stress of it all starts to consume you, that is where the problem starts to arise.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Life faces us with situations everyday, big or little that can affect us. Maybe there is a big test that’s coming up, or you are meeting your significant other’s family for the first time. These instances are new, exciting, rewarding, and stressful. Usually you’ll feel the stress at first, but before you know it the stress melts away and you get to experience the more positive feelings. However, if you feel the stress is overpowering, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Speak up about your stress because when left untreated stress makes it hard for us to live a healthy life. Since stress can lead to several health problems, ranging anywhere from anxiety to severe depression, from mild acne to life-threatening heart attacks. It’s easy to see why it is so vitally important to keep life’s major stressors in check.

With April being National Stress-Awareness Month, what better way to celebrate than by sharing some tips on how to respond to stress in our lives and keep our own stress levels in check. Here are 9 ways to manage the stress.

1. Make up your mind to get better
Taking control of your personal health can make a big difference in the amount of stress you feel. The best way to reclaim control of your body is by taking charge of your body. Whether it be through diet, exercise, or getting that checkup you’ve been cancelling/putting off, make this month the one where you make a difference within yourself.

2. Be the change you want to see
It can be as simple as cleaning out your closet or going on a vacation. Whatever the case, the important thing is that you’re doing something different. I know change can be hard and we all adjust differently to it, but even a small change can make a big difference when it comes to stress.

3. Focus on the now
Most people, including myself, tend to live in the past or focus too much on the future and what’s to come instead of focusing on what’s happening right now. By only worrying about right now it provides an escape from the disappointment of what was and the fear of what might be.

4. Are you talking to me?
Sometimes a good pep talk is all you need to keep your stress maintained. It’s something I find myself doing when I feel overwhelmed and I find it helps a lot, especially when I don’t always have someone to talk to about it.

5. Laugh out loud
It’s true when they say laughter is the best medicine. So, watch a funny show, movie, tell a funny joke or read some funny cards. Whatever it takes, give yourself time for laughter each day.

6. Find your center
A still mind is a stress-free mind. So, take a deep breath, quiet your thoughts and let the stress melt away. Try meditating for ten minutes a day everyday for a month; it can do wonders for releasing stress from your life.

7. When in doubt, journal it out
One thing I’ve always had trouble with is expressing my emotions and feelings out loud. So, I turned to writing them down in journals instead. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it’s helped me with my stress. Jotting down some things you enjoyed about your day and reflecting on it can bring a positive outlook on your life when all you see is negative.

8. Turn your negatives into positives
No matter what challenges or obstacles you may be facing in your life, do your best to think about it positively and then let that new positive mindset become your focal point.

9. Help others out
Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is by providing relief to someone else. Putting your focus on others takes the focus off your own challenges leading to less stress. So, look around you, see who needs a helping hand, and offer yours. You never know who needs your help, and it can be so rewarding.

By focusing on some of these tips you can begin to see a change in your stress level. I’m not saying it will magically all go away, but there’s no shame in trying and that’s what I continue to do every day. Just remember even when there are tough days and you feel like your light is diminishing out, there is always a way to get it back.

Written by: Kirstie Devine