Everyone deals with some sort of stress at some point in their life. Some people seem to brush it off easily, while others are always under a cloud. The difference isn’t necessarily the severity of the stress. More often, it is how the person in question deals with stress. When it comes to coping mechanisms, some can have a positive impact and others do quite the opposite. Stay healthy and happy with a list of healthy coping mechanisms for stress that will keep you on the right track.

6 Coping Mechanisms for Stress

1. Ask for Help and Support

Asking for help is a great way to beat stress, but for many people, it is one of the hardest. Help can take many forms. Asking a friend to lend an ear, asking a family member to help with the kids or a difficult task or recognizing the need to hire a professional therapist or counselor are all ways of asking for help. Asking for help does not indicate weakness, though it does show vulnerability. It can feel scary to be vulnerable, but family and community can offer valuable support that you need most during stressful times.

2. Make Yourself a Priority

The term “self-care” can sometimes lose it’s meaning through overuse, but it is an important concept. Taking care of yourself is an invaluable stress-busting strategy that everyone can always do more of. Making sure to sleep enough, eat healthily, exercise and do something you absolutely love at least once a week are important aspects of self-care. Some think that self-care has to be physical care activities like a face mask or luxurious bath, but it could be as simple as curling up with a good book for a few hours or bingeing on that TV show you have been meaning to watch.

3. Choose Healthy Strategies Over Unhealthy Ones

During stressful times, it is very easy to turn to coping strategies that feel good in the moment but could lead to more stress later on. These include things like overindulging in alcohol or drugs, binge eating or even something as simple as staying out too late and not getting enough sleep. In the long run, these coping mechanisms can lead to more stress if they turn into long-term habits. So, avoid these unhealthy ideas and choose healthy coping mechanisms for stress instead to stay positive and kick stress to the curb. Examples include exercise, reading, going to a spa or having a spa day at home, and taking a day trip somewhere beautiful.

4. Learn to Identify What Stresses You Out

This is easier said than done for many, but working with a professional to identify life stressors can help someone avoid them. The things that cause stress, triggers, are different for every person. For some, it might be family matters, and for others work problems give them anxiety. For some, being late causes them an extreme amount of stress, while for others showing up early to a party might give them social anxiety. Each person’s stressors are different, and they also show up as different reactions to the stress. Some may become visibly upset when stressed while others turn their anxiety inwards resulting in teeth grinding, ulcers and other physical symptoms. Learn about stressors and how they show up helps people beat them. Awareness is the first step!

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5. Focus on the Positive

The field of positive psychology has shown that there are several relatively easy things people can do to relieve stress and live an overall happier life. Something as simple as keeping a gratitude list and adding three things to it every day has been scientifically shown to increase happiness. Other studies in the field have shown that spending money on other people, volunteering for an important cause and thinking about something that makes you smile can all help to make life more positive and less stressful.

6. Exercise & Meditation

Exercising helps the body release important chemicals that make us feel happy. Endorphins are supposed to help minimize pain, but they also make us feel great. Serotonin is another important chemical in the happiness equation that gets released through exercise. In order to feel the maximum benefits, you should exercise for at least an hour. From an evolutionary perspective, these neurochemicals were probably supposed to help humans endure in a harsh natural world, but today we still benefit from their release after exercise. Meditation also helps to release these chemicals, as does eating chocolate.

Move Beyond Coping

These tips are great points for counselors and therapists to recommend to clients, but there’s still much more to dealing with stress than learning to cope with it. Learn the latest in mental health treatment and earn your master’s in clinical mental health counseling online from Malone University.

Our program is the only of its kind accredited by CACREP, and it was the first online clinical mental health counseling program in the state of Ohio. In both our on-campus and online programs, we’ll prepare you with hands on training that will qualify you to work almost anywhere in the country — and our pass rate regularly exceeds the national average, hovering around 90 percent.