We aren’t born instinctively knowing the best ways to deal with stress. Most of us learn over time what will and won’t do the trick. The thing is, stress is a normal aspect of our lives, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. There will be times when we have to deal with things we’ve never had to deal with before too. While a bit of stress can be a good thing, negative and prolonged stress can actually be hazardous to our health. To alleviate that, here’s a quick look at some effective ways to cope.

Watch the Vices

Drowning that stress in a bottle might help at the moment, but substance abuse is never a good thing. Turning to one of a variety of unhealthy vices, such as too much alcohol, smoking, or drugs only leads to you stressing even more once they wear off.

Alcohol, illicit drugs, and even sugar can all make the stress worse and should be avoided when you’re feeling an excess of stress.

Since habits of this nature can increase those negative influences stress has on your body, like making you jittery and increasing your blood pressure, you can easily go into a vicious cycle of being even more stressed and using more substances, ad nausea.

Move

Exercise might just be the healthiest way to deal with stress. Even yoga can rev your body up in terms of producing endorphins that help you to feel good, as well as helping to regulate sleep, and lowering symptoms that are associated with depression, while boosting your levels of energy, and assisting you to remain focused and calmer. All of this goes a long way when it comes to managing stress.

how to cope with stress

Get Out

Did you know that the Vitamin D you get from the sun can elevate the body’s levels of serotonin (the feel-good chemical)? That means that getting outside can help with lowering your stress levels. Also, there’s just something about going outside and into nature that’s excellent for your mental health. It’s a great way to reset the emotional balance in the body. It isn’t just a change of the scenery and a chance to get out of your personal spaces, being outside can be a fantastic way to deal with anxiety and stress.

If you’re unable to get outside you might consider adding plants to your spaces. That could also work to lower blood pressure and stress levels because you will have a beautiful space to relax.

Routine

Whether it’s something like walking your dog to the park each morning, listening to your favorite songs on the way to work, or taking a relaxing bath before bed each night when you’re feeling stressed it can help to rely on your set routines.

Aside from being comforting, a consistent routine can also assist with sleeping. For some, routines help because there’s less time to sit and dwell on those things that are causing stress. The key lies in creating reasonable schedules that include time for fun things, breaks, meals, and sleep so that the actual schedule doesn’t cause stress.

Confrontation

It’s natural to take a mental break every once in a while, to meet your friends for lunch, watch a movie, or some other leisure activity. However, consistently avoiding the stressors in your life can be counterproductive. If you tune in to your stress rather than turning away from it, you’ll be better able to understand it and manage it. The more you tend to ignore it, the worse it will get, whether it’s paying off bills or a fear of losing your job. The best thing you can do is to confront it and ask for help if you need it. Make a plan that will lead to the issues being diminished and this will lower your stress levels.

Finally, if you try all of those things to no avail, try looking at the situation from another perspective. It’s common to immediately jump to a worst-case scenario when something upsetting happens, but when you blow things out of proportion, it only works to make your stress level worse. Try talking to yourself as you would your best friend, in a calming and rational manner. You’ll be surprised how much it can help.