6 Tips for Coping with Emotional Stress
Often, stressful times will improve or pass altogether. You might get out of a relationship, quit a job, make amends with a friend, or otherwise find peace in your life.
When it doesn’t resolve though, it’s important to develop healthy coping skills so you can navigate stress before it takes a firm hold on your emotional well-being. The following 6 tips are expert-approved ways to effectively cope with emotional stress.
“Since emotional stress can impact physical and mental health, it’s crucial to pay attention to the signs of emotional stress in your day-to-day life before it becomes overwhelming. Taking care of yourself when the stress level is lower helps to build strategies to manage emotional stressors over time.”
1. Work with a therapist
If emotional stress is causing you significant distress or making it difficult for you to handle everyday tasks, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist can work with you to reduce symptoms of emotional stress and find healthy coping mechanisms. Therapy can also help you to identify the source of your stress and understand how it’s impacting your life.
“Having a variety of tools in your toolbox is key to managing emotional stress so that you can use different strategies as needed. Simple breathing exercises, talking with a trusted friend, taking a walk, journaling, watching a favorite tv show, or listening to music are all easily accessible options to incorporate into stress management. It’s also important to remember that talking to a licensed mental health professional can be incredibly helpful. You do not have to struggle on your own when things get overwhelming.”
2. Find distractions
When you’re feeling stressed about something, it can be easy to begin to fixate on your worries. Unfortunately, this can have a snowball effect, making your worry and anxiety more intense. Instead of ruminating on stress, try to find a distraction. Exercising, watching a movie, or spending time with friends are all great ways to help you to take your focus off of your stress, ultimately relieving your symptoms.
3. Set aside time for relaxation
Relaxation is essential for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. You should try to make time to relax each day. During this time of self care, you could take a nap, get some much-needed alone time, write about your feelings in a journal, or even take a bubble bath. Even setting aside just 5 or 10 minutes for relaxation each day can have a big impact on your emotional well-being.
4. Practice stress reduction
Try to introduce stress reduction techniques into your life, such as mindfulness meditation or yoga. These relaxation techniques can balance out some of the toxic stress you’re feeling. Can’t seem to find the time to put this into practice? It might be time for a mental health day. Even if you can’t completely eliminate stress in your life, you can change how you react to it. Taking purposeful steps to reduce how you let your emotional distress and stress impact you is a good first step.
5. Improve your sleep habits
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can be harder for your body to be successful in managing stress, according to some studies. Work to improve your sleep habits so that you can get the rest you need each night. Create an evening routine and try to go to bed at the same time each night.
6. Identify unhealthy coping mechanisms
Many coping mechanisms that people use to reduce stress symptoms can be damaging. If you’re relying on caffeine, alcohol, or unhealthy foods to get you through the day, these substances may actually be making your stress worse. Once you identify these unhealthy coping mechanisms, you can work to replace your old habits with newer, healthier ones.