How to cope with the 5 common stressors in life

How to cope with the 5 common stressors in life

VIGORBUDDY.COM | Useful Tips for Coping with the Most Common Stressors in Life | Is there anyone who doesn’t long for a peaceful and tranquil life? Of course, having excitement in your life is important as nobody really likes being bored, but having the means and chances to relax is absolutely necessary.

Being young means believing that you’ll be able to relax after you accomplish your goals, but it’s not exactly the case. There will always be something that will cause stress in your life, and it’s imperative that you learn to deal with it in healthy and effective ways. We’ve prepared a list of useful tips to help you cope with stress.

Workplace stress

Even the comfiest office chair and the most awesome boss aren’t enough to lower the workplace stress levels sometimes. Communication and organization are the keys to a relaxed work environment, so make sure you do both these things to the best of your abilities. Many smaller Aussie startup companies don’t have well-defined roles, and it can be a problem. Have a talk with your boss or the HR of your company to ensure that you know exactly what’s expected of you – it will help you avoid plenty of unnecessary tension. Organize your time so that top priority tasks are taken care of first, and after that you will feel much better instead of breaking under pressure.

Not having a job

As if the pandemic wasn’t a major stress trigger in itself, it was the cause of major job losses all over Australia (and the world), which makes things significantly worse . People have been made redundant, and it’s very difficult not to panic, especially since the job market at the moment is flooded with people looking for work and there aren’t enough job offers. While it might be difficult to see a positive side of this situation, you can try to use it to your advantage and make the most of the free time you have at the moment. Make sure you’re busy and productive during the day: try to upgrade your resume, give new skills a try, and look for an online job – it will help you save some money and give you something to do.

Losing a loved one

Losing someone you loved is probably the most devastating and heart-breaking thing anyone can experience in their lifetime. Not only is grief often overwhelming, but it can be downright paralyzing, and you shouldn’t deal with your loss alone. Talking to a therapist is always a good idea, as they are educated and trained to help you cope with your emotions. Dealing with paperwork, will, deceased person’s belongings, or funds during this time is difficult. If possible, find good will lawyers from Brisbane and make sure everything is in order. You don’t want to mess up any legal documents, funds, taxes, or the matters of the estate because of stress and grief, so take time to heal after your big loss.

Stressing over your relationships

Regardless of your age, relationships are commonly one of the greatest stressors in a person’s life. If you’re younger, you don’t have experience and perhaps don’t know what a good and healthy relationship looks like. Allowing your emotions to make decisions for you is perfectly normal when you’re inexperienced, but deeply caring for someone you’re not at all compatible with will result in not only heartache but huge amounts of stress too. Good communication is the key to good relationships, as is being open and honest about your emotions and needs. If you can’t seem to find common ground with your romantic partner, it’s best if you move on before you invest way too much in the said relationship, as it will make it harder to leave later.

As relaxed and unbothered as we can possibly be, we still have stressors in life that make us lose sleep, mess up our weight, and damage our health. While having stressors is perfectly natural, we all have to find healthy and effective ways to deal with them, so that we can protect both our physical and mental health. Once you change your perspective and learn to cope with difficult things, you will notice that, while stress will still be present in your life, it won’t affect you nearly as much as it did before.

Dan is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree he started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Dan writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Technivorz and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.

Stress is an intrusion on your peaceful existence. All of us strive to have orderly and peaceful lives. We tend to develop well when we get into certain routines. Human beings are all animals. If you have ever owned a dog, you may have observed that the dog thrived very well on routine. You had to walk the animal a certain time each day, it had to be fed at a certain time each day and it slept at a certain time each day. The dog depended on a routine.

When the routine was broken, the dog would do things such as have accidents in the house, or behave in another destructive type manner. This is because the dog was actually stressed out. Why was the dog stressed out? The routine had been broken.

Human beings behave the same way.

We all want to feel safe and secure, but as we get older, we realize that we cannot always count on things being the same. We experience different incidents in our lives that turn our world upside down and cause us to feel stress. Most of these incidents we cannot control, others we can control to a certain degree. Some of us are fortunate enough not to experience these stressors until adulthood. Others experience stress as young children.

Some of the more notorious causes of stress are the following:

Death of a loved one

This can be a spouse, parent, child or friend. Death is part of life, but the death of a loved one is something that causes significant stress. Our hearts are broken as we grieve for our loved one and our lives are seriously disrupted. This is something which we can do little about, unfortunately, and also something we all have to deal with, sooner or later. Many people recover from this stressor and continue with their lives. Others never fully recover. Death of a loved one can cause a number of serious illnesses that we take on ourselves, including depression.

The death of a child is probably the worst pain anyone can endure and many people never fully recover from this type of stress, however, they do manage to go on with their lives for the sake of others around them. Despite the fact that the death of a child is enough to put anyone over the edge, most people have more of a life force and feel compelled to go on. However, this is one stress factor that can be completely devastating to someone emotionally and is one from which one never fully recovers.

Divorce

Even if we are glad to get rid of our ex-spouse, divorce is a major stressor in our lives. In addition to causing us to feel stress, it can also stress out our children. Many couples are so wrapped up with their own emotions during a divorce that they fail to notice the impact of the situation on their children. Chances are that the kids are feeling quite a bit of turmoil, even if they are too young to understand what is really going on. In fact, younger children can experience even more stress than older children in the case of their parent’s divorce because they cannot put their emotions into words, nor can they understand that daddy or mommy going away has nothing to do with them. To a young child, everything in the world has something to do with them.

Moving

Even if you are moving from a shack to a palace, this is still stressful. It may be a happy occasion, but it is still a disruption of your routine. And any disruption of your routine causes stress. Moving disrupts the entire family. And it is a real pain in the neck. Plus you have to deal with the packing.

Everyone hates moving. Packing up all of your belongings and then unpacking them is just a hassle. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to have someone do all of this labor for us so it tends to be stressful. However, even if we do not have to lift a finger, moving is still a disruption of our normal routine.

It will take a while before you can get established into your new home. Until you do, you should try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible, especially if you have children.

Major Illness

Any type of major illness is a significant stressor for the entire family. One person being ill does not just affect that person, but everyone around him or her. A major illness is one of the worst stressors we can endure as it can go on for years, taking its emotional toll on everyone around, especially children.

Many people who experience a major illness enter into a depression. This is usually due to the dramatic change in their life. Others will most likely also enter into a state of depression or exhibit unusual behaviour. A young person who has a very ill parent may start turning to drugs, alcohol or other behaviour to alleviate the stress he or she feels due to the parent’s illness. They will be unable to deal with the stress and chances are that the rest of the family will be emotionally unavailable for help. Self medicating with drugs, alcohol or even promiscuous sex is a way for some young people to cope with the illness of a parent.

Job Loss

In addition to being humiliating, the loss of a job will most likely through you into financial turmoil. Losing a job often results in depression as well as anxiety. Not only did your self esteem take a hit, but you are also worried about money. You will probably experience stress until you get a new job or reconcile yourself to the fact that you will have to get by on less money.

Until you get your bearings, you will face a disruption in your lifestyle as well as your financial status. The uncertainty the surrounds getting another job also affects us when it comes to stress. Losing a job and having to find another job is very stressful.

Even if we quit a job for a better job, this is still considered a stress factor. Starting a new job, while a good thing, is stressful for most individuals. Why? It breaks our routine. And anything that breaks our routine causes stress.

These are just a few of the major stress factors that we, as a society, face. There are other things that can lead to stress, but these are among the worst.

In some cases, happy events such as the birth of a child, marriage, or even a new job can lead to stress. Even though these are joyous occasions, they are stressful. Why? They disrupt our lifestyle.

Are you sensing any sort of pattern here with regard to stress? Each of the aforementioned stressors all has one thing in common – they disrupt our lives. We don’t like to have our lives disrupted and when it happens, even if it a good disruption, it causes stress.

We cannot go through life like robots and expect for nothing to ever change. We are going to experience stressful situations throughout our lives. How we handle the stressful situations will determine how well we can manage stress. There are both good ways and bad ways to manage stress.

When people are faced with difficult or stressful situations, they’re often left wondering how to deal with them. Sometimes the negative emotions from these situations can feel overwhelming and solutions seem elusive. It is these life challenges that present people with the greatest opportunity for personal growth.

While these challenges might not have easy solutions, you can still learn and grow from the experience. It can teach you to look honestly at your situations, experience the emotions the situation brings up, and search within yourself for the answers. This process can bring surprisingly positive outcomes.

Each situation is different and may call for a different response, but some of the basics of how to deal with stressors or challenges can apply to many situations. Here are some ideas on how to deal when you are facing a challenge in life.

Stay Calm

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A vital first step in dealing with a stressful situation involves calming your body’s stress response. Use stress relief techniques to help reverse the fight-or-flight mechanism that your body uses when stressed.

If you are truly in physical danger, this stress response can help you stay safe. If the threat you face is more psychological, or can’t be fought off physically, a perpetually-triggered stress response can leave you feeling drained and more emotionally reactive, not to mention more susceptible to illness.

Feel Your Feelings

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Negative emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, and anger are unpleasant. However, such emotions can be useful in that they give us information about the situations we’re in and inspire us to take action in our lives.

Sometimes these feelings can be so strong that they feel overwhelming, or so unpleasant that, unsure of how to deal with them, we turn to unhealthy coping behaviors to avoid feeling them. But if you’re able to sit with them, really feel them, and even notice where in your body they show up (tightness in your chest, soreness in your throat, headache), they can actually be easier to let go.

It’s also important to identify what you’re feeling, and become aware of why you’re feeling this way. What are the precipitating factors? This can help you know what area of your life needs action, so you can have a clearer picture of what needs to change.

As you feel the tension in your body, learning to relax with progressive muscle relaxation can help you minimize and manage your stress.

Process Your Feelings

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For many people, it’s very helpful to get feelings down on paper. For those wondering how to deal with stressful emotions, processing your emotions in a journal by writing about what you’re feeling and why, and then brainstorming solutions can have many positive health benefits.

This is probably because the process of journaling in this way helps in letting go of negative emotions, can feel empowering, and can help us figure out how to deal with stress more efficiently. It’s not about wallowing in negative feelings. Instead, it’s about being able to identify what your feelings are and where they are coming from. Then you can address the problem with some viable solutions.

In working through how to deal with challenges, once you’ve calmed your body and attended to your emotions, processing it all on paper can really help. However, as you’re processing your feelings, you may be more pessimistic about things. Your view of your life may be more negative than normal.

It’s important to be aware of pessimistic thoughts and cognitive distortions and work on seeing things in a more optimistic light before coming up with solutions.

Make Positive Changes

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Now that you’re calm, you know what you’re feeling and why. The next step is to plan on what changes you will make and follow through as the opportunities present themselves.

Ultimately, the strong emotions that come with stressful situations can inspire you to take action and learn how to deal with the challenges you face. After you’ve analyzed the situation and your feelings about it, take wise steps toward positive change.

Even small changes can lead to significant results. For example, if you’re stressed about needing a new job, spending 30 minutes networking or searching can help you feel more empowered than spending 30 minutes paralyzed by stress, fear, or depressive thoughts.

Moving in the right direction, even if slowly, can help alleviate some of what you’re feeling in a stressful situation.

After you’ve taken the steps you can take, or if there’s nothing you can do immediately, get engaged in an activity that will take your mind off of what’s got you down. You’ve dealt with the problem as much as you can for now, and it’s time to move forward.

Don’t get caught in the trap of rumination. Take a walk with a friend, watch a funny movie, do something nice for someone else, or find some other way to stay busy. The key is to get your mind away from the situation.

Get Support If You Need It

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There are many health and stress management benefits to having a supportive circle of friends, so utilizing social support can be effective as part of your strategy in how to deal with life. Having some supportive friendships that include not only good listening but honest communication and good advice is key.

You want to nurture relationships that provide a supportive ear when you need to feel less ‘alone.’ When you’re stumped on what to do, an honest opinion can help you see things in a way you haven’t considered. Having someone to help you have fun and get your mind off of your stressors once you’ve worked on how to address them can also be helpful.

if you’ve tried these suggestions and find yourself still needing support, it might be a good idea to see a professional. Consider talking to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How to cope with the 5 common stressors in life

Everyone experiences stress, but many don’t know how to manage it. When major life stressors come up, it’s important to handle them properly to avoid getting hurt. The top five most stressful life events include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Major illness or injury
  • Job loss

It might feel like stress is an emotional issue – something that lives strictly inside your head. But stress can become a physical issue as well, especially when dealing with the most stressful things in life.

Your body instinctively responds to changes and perceived threats, says Francoise Adan, MD, ABIHM, Medical Director, UH Connor Integrative Health Network. Your body reacts by releasing stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol to switch you into fight-or-flight mode.

After experiencing stressful life events, Dr. Adan says stored-up stress can contribute to symptoms and issues related to:

  • Digestive health
  • Inflammation
  • Immune system
  • Bone density
  • Sexual health
  • Sleep
  • Anxiety

“Day-to-day stress takes its toll on everyone,” she says. “We’re constantly bombarded by threats and changes, but because we don’t usually literally fight or run, we stay reactive. We’re bathed and flooded in stress hormones.”

How to Manage the Most Stressful Events in Life

When stress strikes, you can take steps to reduce the impact on your body. To alleviate symptoms and manage even the top stressors in life, Dr. Adan recommends these three steps:

1. Take Action

  • Your body is primed to act, so go ahead and get physically moving.
  • “Contract your muscles, release and shake it out. You can march in place or wring a towel – 30 to 60 seconds will reboot your body and return you to physical stability,” Dr. Adan says.

2. Breathe

  • Hit the pause button and tune into yourself. Consider using guided imagery and mindfulness to engage in the moment. Being present will realign the body.
  • “Think: ‘I am here; it is what it is.’ It’s about acceptance, not control,” she says.

3. Feel Good

  • Take at least 30 seconds to just feel good. It’ll release the same endorphins you get when you exercise.
  • “Think about what you’re grateful for,” Dr. Adan says. “Tap or sing along to a song. I tell my clients to keep Play-Doh at their desks and take a minute to play.”

Research shows that using this type of framework for roughly five to 10 minutes a day will improve your health, longevity and productivity. While this is particularly important following stressful life events, it’s better to make it an everyday habit.

“Not one of us can’t spare five minutes a day,” Dr. Adan says. “It’s a choice for health.”

People go to therapy for a variety of reasonsquite often they have a vague sense “that something isn’t right,” or feelings of sadness or depression. They might be worried that they or someone they care about might have a mental illness, or they’re having problems with significant others.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who was stressed out about doing his taxes. He joked, “Hey, is there therapy for tax-related stress?”

Sometimes the answer is yes.

Those who’ve been reading Therapy Soup know that I believe in the value of psychotherapy, but that I also strongly believe that therapy isn’t always suitable for every person or every situation. However, sometimes even relatively minor stressors, such as doing your taxes, can trigger significant symptoms. Anxiety, fear, panic, insomnia, mental confusion, hysteria, depression that doesn’t seem to lift, and more can be triggered by major (and in some cases, minor) stressful events.

In many cases, relaxation methods helpbreath work, exercise, meditation, prayer, making time for family leisure activities, music, art, and so on.

If you find that during stressful times you seem to struggle with persistent symptoms more than you feel is acceptable and that cannot be relieved by usual relaxation methods, therapy might help. Sure, your belief system, personality, mental and physical health, and other factors determine how you respond to life stressors, but sometimes the sheer magnitude of stressful conditions or times where these situations seem to pile on top of each other, can be overwhelming.

Whether or not you might benefit from therapy is a personal decision that no one can make for you.Brief therapy or, if necessary, longer-term therapy with a highly focused treatment plan, can help you deal with stressful events and the emotions they trigger.

Below, I list twenty life stressors that can trigger emotional symptoms. It’s also helpful to note that in some cases, if you are having some minor symptoms that you haven’t had before, by recognizing that, “Hey, I’m dealing with a major life stressor right now,” that recognition might even alleviate some anxiety and you might find your symptoms lessen on their own.:

Death of a family member

Terminal illness (one’s own or a family member)

Physical incapacitation, chronic pain, or chronic illness

People go to therapy for a variety of reasonsquite often they have a vague sense “that something isn’t right,” or feelings of sadness or depression. They might be worried that they or someone they care about might have a mental illness, or they’re having problems with significant others.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who was stressed out about doing his taxes. He joked, “Hey, is there therapy for tax-related stress?”

Sometimes the answer is yes.

Those who’ve been reading Therapy Soup know that I believe in the value of psychotherapy, but that I also strongly believe that therapy isn’t always suitable for every person or every situation. However, sometimes even relatively minor stressors, such as doing your taxes, can trigger significant symptoms. Anxiety, fear, panic, insomnia, mental confusion, hysteria, depression that doesn’t seem to lift, and more can be triggered by major (and in some cases, minor) stressful events.

In many cases, relaxation methods helpbreath work, exercise, meditation, prayer, making time for family leisure activities, music, art, and so on.

If you find that during stressful times you seem to struggle with persistent symptoms more than you feel is acceptable and that cannot be relieved by usual relaxation methods, therapy might help. Sure, your belief system, personality, mental and physical health, and other factors determine how you respond to life stressors, but sometimes the sheer magnitude of stressful conditions or times where these situations seem to pile on top of each other, can be overwhelming.

Whether or not you might benefit from therapy is a personal decision that no one can make for you.Brief therapy or, if necessary, longer-term therapy with a highly focused treatment plan, can help you deal with stressful events and the emotions they trigger.

Below, I list twenty life stressors that can trigger emotional symptoms. It’s also helpful to note that in some cases, if you are having some minor symptoms that you haven’t had before, by recognizing that, “Hey, I’m dealing with a major life stressor right now,” that recognition might even alleviate some anxiety and you might find your symptoms lessen on their own.:

Death of a family member

Terminal illness (one’s own or a family member)

Physical incapacitation, chronic pain, or chronic illness

by From Mayo Clinic News Network

Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause.This article is written by Mayo Clinic Staff.

Common effects of stress

Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

  • On your body: Headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems
  • On your mood: Anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, sadness or depression
  • On your behavior: Overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, exercising less often

Act to manage stress

If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have many health benefits. Explore stress management strategies, such as:

  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or massage
  • Keeping a sense of humor
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways to manage stress—such as watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games—may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.

And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol, and the use of illegal substances.

When to seek help

If you’re not sure if stress is the cause or if you’ve taken steps to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. Your healthcare provider may want to check for other potential causes. Or consider seeing a professional counselor or therapist, who can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.

Also, get emergency help immediately if you have chest pain, especially if you also have shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, sweating, dizziness, or nausea. These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.

©2021 Mayo Clinic News Network
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Stressful situations are events that disturb the body’s equilibrium state.

Stress can be a form of our body’s reaction to both positive and negative events. Those events in our life that affect the normal routine our body is adapted to are referred to as stressful situations.

Research suggests that stress isn’t always bad, in fact, it can be good. But when we let the negative effects of stressful situations bother us to an extent that we’d cling onto it for days or even years, that’s when it can take a toll on our mental and physical health.

4 Most Common Types of Stressful Situations and Coping Mechanisms

Stressful events can be categorized into two: short-term and long-term. Some of the major stressors of life are:

Death of a loved one

If we’ve been through this, we know it. Nothing about death can be controlled by us, and it can leave extreme pain and agony residing in our hearts. It’s in human nature to mourn and remain gloomy for some time, but there comes a point where we have to recover and move on with our lives.

How to cope:

The memory of a painful event will remain forever, but the pain would certainly heal with time. If you’re willing to move on from this terrible stressful situation over time and find the purpose to go on, everything will be okay once again.

Cherish the memories you had with your loved ones and do things that would make them proud. Accept the reality and pain, feel it and remember that with time, you’ll be okay.

Life won’t be the same, but you can make it better once again with support and willingness.

Becoming a Parent

One of the best feelings in the world is when we hold our child in our arms for the first time. While having a child brings all the joy to our homes, it can mess up our routine. Things won’t be the same anymore.

New parents experience extremely stressful situations — from changing diapers at midnight to forgetting what silence is for months.

How to cope:
  • Express your gratitude and the love you have for your child.
  • Construct a new routine that is parent-friendly.
  • Ask for help.
  • Sneak in a little ‘me’ time.
  • Understand that soon things will change and you will actually miss these beautiful days, so cherish the babying phase while you can.

Not so surprisingly, work is one of the major stressors in our lives. According to research conducted in the U.S., 40% of the workers in organizations were stressed out.

Whether it is a sour boss or a conflicting relationship with our colleagues or anxiety associated with an event that has occurred or is likely to happen, things can get bitter. When companies don’t pay on time, the employees are likely to sink into a whirlwind of stress.

How to Cope:

The best way to resolve work-related stressful situations is to critically analyze the situation and remove the source of stress.

If it’s a colleague who’s bothering you, figure out a plan to resolve the situation or avoid any contact with them. If it’s a matter of paycheck, demand your right. Never settle.

School

School can be the cause of a number of stressful situations. Some students experience difficulties in keeping up with the academics. Some others might be going through a traumatic situation at school such as bullying — which involves both physical and verbal abuse.

No one deserves to go through such pain and fear, hence, situations like this require immediate attention.

How to Cope:

There are people out there who are willing to help. Find a friendly tutor if you’re performing poorly.

If it’s a bully bothering you, raise your voice and speak to your parents, teachers, school counselors, or even a friend (at school or elsewhere). Help is out there. Just ask for it. It can be difficult, but stay courageous and talk about it with the people you trust.

8 General Tips to Help You Cope with Stressful Situations

We all go through different stressful situations. Nonetheless, here are a few ways to cope with them (whatever it is that you are going through):

1. Write down what you feel

Give a name to everything you feel and write about it.

2. Take long walks

Take the time to cut yourself off from the world even if it’s just for a little while. Choose the best hour of the day and go for a walk.

3. Try meditation or breathing exercises

Incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Alternatively, you can try some simple breathing techniques. Take deep breaths, count to ten, and chin up.

4. Eat your comfort food

Pamper yourself. Eat what you love. Keep your portions in check, but get that comfort food into your system.

5. Have reward days

If you are overworking your body, take some time off and reward yourself in the best way you can.

6. Spend time with people who make you feel good

When you are stressed, the moments of laughter can help you release that tension. Go out, talk to the ones you love and trust, or make new friends and have some fun.

7. Watch or read something inspirational

Whether it’s a motivational video or a movie that’s going to affect you positively, watch that good stuff. Alternatively, you can read an inspirational novel or a motivational story.

8. Remind yourself that stress is temporary

At every opportunity, remind yourself that things will get better. You can use positive affirmations and say them a few times a day.

You might be having an internal conflict or going through a dooming event. Stressful situations vary, but no matter what you’re going through, remember that things are going to get better.

You’ll make it through this — better and stronger than you were before.

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Keep anxiety and isolation from paralyzing your life.

THE BASICS

  • What Is Stress?
  • Find a therapist to overcome stress

The escalating outbreak of the coronavirus has created a perfect storm for anxiety, isolation, and depression in our communities. Identifying constructive ways to address these mental health challenges is important not just for short-term health, but for long-term health as well. Here are five tips that we can each incorporate into our daily lives to help cope with pandemic-created stress.

1. Remember You Are Not Alone

Human beings are social animals by nature, but the coronavirus has threatened us with social isolation. Especially for those living alone, this absence of human connection can exacerbate stress and create a level of anxiety that is unhealthy. To help bridge the disconnect and foster a greater connection to others, please try:

  • Reaching out online. Create or join an online support group that allows you to connect with neighbors and discuss shared challenges, experiences, and interests in an open forum.
  • Socializing digitally. Use cellphones, text messaging and video calling to continue to feel connected to friends, colleagues, and family while maintaining safe social distance.
  • Regular check-ins. Keeping in contact with the ones you love and having the reassurance—however temporary—that they are okay can help reduce stress in an already stressful situation.

2. Establish Healthy Habits

When we take good care of our bodies, we optimize our ability to think clearly, solve problems, and manage our emotions. Healthy habits that you can control while dealing with pandemic-created stress include:

  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Allow yourself enough time to get adequate sleep each night and create an environment that promotes rest. Avoid habits that can adversely affect your quality of sleep.
  • Stay active. Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy mindset. Try to start the day by getting fresh air and exercise, if possible.
  • Focus on nutrition. Eating high-quality foods that contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help nourish the brain and protect against oxidative stress. Eat right and regularly and be sure to stay hydrated.

3. Don’t Dwell on Grief

Right now, people are feeling grief over the loss of routines, certainty, and a perception of themselves as being generally healthy and protected. Growing uncertainty and an ever-evolving news cycle of bad news have people feeling increasingly unsafe. Here are some thoughts on how you can process grief in constructive ways:

  • Practice gratitude. Many of us continue to be safe and healthy. For some, self-isolation means spending time with family that you might otherwise not have had.
  • Exploring new hobbies. Broadening your horizons through new interests can prove therapeutic.
  • Expressing feelings to friends and loved ones. Having an open dialogue with friends and family can help you process what you are grieving about and reinforces the understanding that you are not alone.

4. Remember to Laugh

There is mounting data to support the positive impact that laughter has on our health, both in the short-term and in the long-term. When you begin to laugh, it doesn’t just enhance your mental state—it induces physical changes in your body including:

  • Stimulating organs. Laughter enhances the body’s intake of oxygen, stimulating the heart, lungs, and muscles to increase the endorphins released by the brain.
  • Activating and relieving stress response. Laughter activates and relieves your stress response, which can increase and decrease your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Soothing tension. A good laugh stimulates circulation and promotes muscle relaxation—both essential for reducing physical symptoms of stress.

When possible and appropriate, try to share a laugh or a light moment with a friend or loved one.

5. Understand Good vs. Bad Anxiety

Some anxiety is productive—it’s what motivates us to wash our hands often and distance ourselves from others when there’s an important reason to do so. But unproductive anxiety can make our mind spin in all kinds of frightening directions. Remember to:

  • Focus on the present. Staying grounded in the present prevents our anxiety from spinning stories about the future, like worrying excessively that you or someone you love will become fatally ill.
  • Take reasonable precautions. Stocking up on essential supplies and practicing good hygiene and responsible social distancing are all reasonable precautions in response to a pandemic. Avoid the urge to panic.
  • Be aware of distress reactions. Trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of being unsafe are all signs that someone is experiencing a distress reaction.

If you or someone you know are struggling with your mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that you are not alone. Consult with your mental health provider to identify resources available to you from a safe social distance. Let’s safeguard our bodies and minds from this pandemic.