10 Tips for Coping with Stress
The following tips for stress management can be instrumental in allowing you to take back control. You don’t have to let stress rule you.
- Cut out distractions
- Establish boundaries
- Work on assertiveness
- Improve your time management skills
- Use positive affirmations
- Adopt the ABC technique
- Try cognitive restructuring
- Take steps to improve your health
- Become more resilient
- Talk about your feelings
1. Cut out distractions
Action-oriented: A stressful event, like a tight deadline, will only bring you more stress when you’re surrounded by distractions. If your attention is being divided because of message notifications, loud music, or a noisy work environment, it’s time to take action. Work to reduce the distractions around you, so you can focus on what needs to be done.
2. Establish boundaries
Action-oriented: Part of learning how to cope with stress, including workplace stress or emotional stress, is working to protect yourself from any type of stressor by setting healthy boundaries, including the people around you. Stress management techniques like establishing boundaries can allow you to recognize your needs and ensure they’re met. Whether you ask people not to call you after a certain time or you request that family members let you know before they stop by, boundaries are a great way to reduce the amount of toxic stress in your life.
3. Work on assertiveness
Action-oriented: It can be difficult to speak up about your wants and needs, especially when you want to please the people around you. By learning how to be assertive, you can take action and communicate your needs in a clear, firm, appropriate way. Assertiveness can help you avoid conflict and reduce workplace stress.
4. Improve your time management skills
Action-oriented: It’s hard not to be stressed when you don’t have enough time to get everything done. If you frequently run out of time, focus on finding ways to better manage your days. By prioritizing time-sensitive tasks, you’ll begin to use your time more effectively and complete tasks without the added pressure of time.
5. Use positive affirmations
Emotion-oriented: Learning to challenge negative thoughts is important when you’re taking an emotion-oriented approach to stress management. One way to retrain your brain and focus on the good is by reciting positive affirmations in the mirror at the start and end of each day. Studies show that positive affirmations can reduce the impact negative feelings have on your life.
6. Adopt the ABC technique
Emotion-oriented: Originally developed by psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis, this emotion-oriented technique can teach you how to deal with stress by focusing on becoming more optimistic. The premise is that the more positive you are, the better any outcome will be.
- A stands for adversity, which refers to the sources of stress in your life
- B stands for beliefs, which is the way you think about stress
- C stands for consequences, which is the impact that your beliefs have on stressors in your life
7. Try cognitive restructuring
Emotion-oriented: Cognitive restructuring is a technique that asks you to identify unhealthy or negative thought and behavior patterns so you can work to change them. Cognitive restructuring is the cornerstone approach in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
Research shows that CBT is a highly effective modality in learning stress management. It’s an emotion-oriented stress response that can train you to think about the events in your life in healthier ways.
8. Take steps to improve your health
Acceptance-oriented: A poor diet, a lack of sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle can all make symptoms of stress worse. If you’re working on accepting stress in your life, it’s important to recognize that you need to take care of yourself. Increasing your physical activity and sleep are just a few ways to improve it. Even taking small steps to improve your health can have a significant impact on your stress levels.
9. Become more resilient
Acceptance-oriented: Resilience is a powerful tool. When you’re resilient, you can bounce back from tough or stressful events and learn from your experiences. People who master resilience tend to be happier and have fewer negative outcomes as a result of stress.
10. Talk about your feelings
Acceptance-oriented: Recognizing that you need help can be a huge part of this approach to managing stress. Instead of bottling up your feelings, find opportunities to let them out. You could chat with supportive friends, write about your feelings in a journal, or work with a therapist who can provide you with advice and guidance. If working is adding to your stress, be vocal with your boss or HR department. Asking for a mental health day could do wonders for your stress level (and many companies and organizations now offer this).