How Do You Cope with the Stress in Your Life?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
One of the toughest challenges of this journey we call life is dealing with those issues that are not within our control. This year has certainly been one of those years. Not only has the economic situation hit close to home, but recently hearing news of friends and family members fighting for their lives has certainly caused me to step back and re-examine where I am at this point in my life.

While we can’t control many of the events in our lives, we do hold the power in how we deal and react to these stressors. We have the choice to let the stress control us or we can learn ways of helping us control the stress.

The sense of helplessness is certainly at the top of many of our lists of stressors. But there are ways that can help us through these obstacles. Below are a few measures I have incorporated into my life to help make the transition a little less stressful. I hope they will help you as well.

  • Have a plan: Planning is crucial for me in order to get through these tough times. Making a list of things to do and accomplish each day gives me a sense of control. Checking these items off my list at the end of the day allows me to experience a sense of achievement.

  • Take time to breathe: Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and helps our bodies to relax. Just taking a few deep breaths can help calm our emotions and bring us back to center.

  • Allow yourself time to go through the emotions, but don’t allow these emotions to define you: Suppressing emotions will not and does not change the situation. Sooner or later we must come to terms with where we are. Being angry or sad doesn’t change our situation but allowing ourselves time to go through the emotions is what will eventually allow us to release them.

  • Use these events as an opportunity to learn: I believe every obstacle that is thrown in our path is the greatest opportunity to learn about who we are truly meant to be. When we are never faced with obstacles then how do we change the path which we are on? This is how we grow into the people we are meant to be.

  • Lean on others: So many of us, me included, shun help because we don't want others to view us as weak. But the older I get the more willing I am to allow my friends and family to hold my hand and walk this journey with me. Life is too short to have to walk it alone.

  • Enjoy the moment: For the past few months I have been setting aside a few minutes every morning to make a promise to myself that I will find one good thing to be thankful for each and every day. It doesn’t have to be grandiose—even the simple things in life such a friendly smile or a beautiful song can bring us great comfort.

    These are just a few ways I am learning to deal with the stress in my life. One of my all-time favorite inspirational quotes reads:

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    This quote embodies the true essence of not allowing stress in our lives to define us, but instead allows us to define who we are by surviving the challenges in our lives.

    How do you deal with stress in your life? What measures do you find are most helpful?

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    CHERYLHURT 10/10/2019
    Great Report
    FISHGUT3 9/23/2019
    thanks Report
    DRAGONFLY631 3/23/2019
    Thanks Report
    ALEXTHEHUN 10/27/2018
    Helpful advice. Thanks Report
    Thank you Report
    Very good ways to cope and there is so much stress in our lives Report
    It is well documented that physical activity plays a key role in reducing the effects of stress on the body. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. A brisk walk can do wonders to reduce stress. Bottled-up emotions increase frustration and stress. Sharing feelings with trusted people such as sponsors, supportive friends and family members is vital. If necessary, seek professional help.

    Getting enough sleep, sipping greet tea throughout the day and exercise are my best stress busters... Also is gratitude. When ever things seem to be getting out of control I go back to keeping a gratitude journal. It has a great way of clearing the mind and putting life into proper perspective. Great blog! Report
    I stopped watching the news except for maybe the last 2 minutes. I don't read the 1st section of any newspaper. Report
    I stopped watching the news. Actually, I do check the major headlines just to keep informed. There is so much bad news plus so much of it is laced with opinions. I do a lot of exercise - either at the gym or cycling, skiing etc. It is the best stress reducer. I try to get outside as much as possible and stay away from the TV. Report
    Great Post! Dealing with stress has been a big obstacle in my life, but lately I’ve been making it a priority to not let stress and anxiety control my day to day life. One thing that has really helped with my stress is exercising. When I first started working out I hated it. Now I look forward to it because I have time to clear my head. If I have a lot on my mind, I just focus on the movement of my body so I don’t think of anything else. I also usually run to my favorite music, and this helps me relax as well. Not only is working out great for your mental health, it’s great for your physical health as well. Natural endorphins also make working out great, because you feel great afterward. Another thing I do is focus on the positives in my life. Instead of complain about the things going wrong, or things I don’t have, I try to give thanks to God for everything he has given me. Even if it’s something as simple as having food to eat, and clothing to wear. Because when you think of the bigger picture, do you realize how many people in the world don’t have even this? Report
    Don't have a healthy way to deal with stress except work-. Breathing exercises help, reading, and when I can go for a run. Report
    HALT will now become an important part of my goal vocabulary. Thanks for the great advice - I am such a mindless eater. Report
    great post.
    One day I was so down that I could not stop to cry. I went to gym.
    I used different equipment but with one requirement - nobody would see my face. I cried. Finally set by set I calm down. I finished my work out later then usual, but I was good. I could go out and do not hide my face. Report
    Great tips! You can never have enough advice on handling stress! Report
    This couldn't have come at a better time for me! GREAT BLOG! Report
    Thanks for sharing your insights and tips in how to deal with stress... my life or everything I though I had accomplished went downhills and it was very difficult and stressfull for me but I learned "to stop and smell the flowers"- I learned to embrace life and to have peace of mind and yes I believe in taking five minutes a day and meditate and appreciate all the things that do go right and thats were i put all my energy, I try to focus on the positive and learn from the negative... Report
    Unfortunately I have no success in this matter. It is to hard for me to control stress. Report
    "On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand...." I find comfort and hope in the old time hymns and in the words of Christ my Lord, who said: "Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." And "In being careful for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving making my requests known unto God ." What a blessing to KNOW that God is on my side and that He knows the beginning from the end. So even in time of insecurity, I know He knows...and cares. Report
    i take a nap sleep it off so my head will quit hurting if i can rest my body at the same time seems to help me the best better than advil or tylenol if not completely gone i will take a walk outdoors alone for some fresh air and relaxing nature from the country side helps me best Report
    I really don't allow situation to stress me. ( At least I believe I am not stress).
    When I reach that point I always Pray. I ask for wisdom, strength and peace of mind. Then I move on to something else. Report
    Exercising helps as I'm doing it but it seems to come back when I'm done. I have found that the only way that I can truly deal with stress is with prayer. Report
    I find that I have stopped running from stress and just accept what is happening. For instance, when I am stressed out at work and realize I haven't had a day off in 6 months, I take a few days off and just realize WHY I'm stressed out. If my husband and I aren't connecting as much as we'd like, we take a time out to do something fun together. Doing yoga and getting "outside" time also help to reduce stess. And they say pet owners are the least stressed out people! I love to pet my dog! He's always happy, not matter what is happening! Report
    I find that handling stress in positive and healthy ways is a constant challenge. I believe that one's stress relieving choices can become habits that are no longer as effective as they once were. I find myself continually looking for choices or opportunities in relieving the daily stresses in my life. Report
    I don't really have a good stress reliever!!! I just try to walk away from whatever it is and try to calm down...I need to start with my running and have my own time!!! Report
    Good stress relievers are deep breathing and exercise. I clean house to relieve stress. Report
    godsangel when i get stressed out i set down and put it in gods hands becasue he said to, and with my 5 grandkids you do get stressed. Report
    I know when I'm in a stressful situation....because my bp rises so I have that dizzy feeling and my heart starts racing. Getting on the track to walk ALONE to think will help, getting a shower, taking a tranquilizer and hitting the bed.....things will look clearer in the morning
    I used to suppress my feelings and cover them with food. Lately I've turned to walking or running when I'm stressed. It's much more productive than eating, and not only do I get the good feelings from the exercise endorphins, I also have the satisfaction of knowing I've done something good for me rather than bad for me. Another thing I've started discovering is gentle yoga - it's very calming, and all the breathing and stretching leaves me feeling calm and relaxed at the end. Report
    Hello, I'm new to SP and these are very suggestions on how to deal with stress. I Pray and read GOD's word daily because no one or nothing can quiet my troubled soul like JESUS can! HE is the lifter of my head and the healer of my heart. I've been very slow about changing the way I eat and reluctant about using this website but I'm beginning to realize that I need help from others like me because I know GOD does not want us to do this life alone. I can use all the encouragement you guys will give me. Thanks a bunch! Report
    "Have a plan" What a concept, one I would've never thought of....I'm going to devise my own plan to de-stress . Thanks Report
    Long ago I coped with stress by complaining and not taking action. Then I transitioned into complaining and taking too much action. Eventually I moved to not complainin much at all and over eating. Now I talk to the individuals involved whenever I feel that they will work productively with me and I work hard to give myself credit for my constuctive efforts. It really helps me let go of a lot of the stress. Report
    Positive thinking and looking for the right motion for the situation. Stop, breath and regroup before taking action. a few of my methods. and of course the happy music. Report
    I agree. The tough times are coming, it's just a matter of that's the way life goes and statistics. I'm so grateful for my friends - here on SP and in my neighborhood. Music, running, yoga, my dog - these are my stress relieving activities.
    Great writing Nancy! Report
    When I'm badly stressed, I step back from the situation, sit down, relax, close my eyes and think of all the good things in my life while I do some deep breathng for a few minutes. This allows me time to get the situation into perspective and suddenly it's not such a big deal anymore. Report
    I am having a hard time with stress. Work is announcing lay-offs and my boss and I don't have the best relationship. I am newly off my anti-depressants as well as beginning work on my abusive/neglectful parents. And how did I deal with that as a child? Eating. Fast forward, recently divorced from an addict. Been rebuilding pockets of my life, now the wholistic approach make little sustainable gains in all areas: finances, health, wellness, being in a positive living + working environment, happiness. After three years of learning coping skills, getting and practicing them for extended periods I now have the training wheels off. I feel like I am in limbo. I know good ways to react and sometime that works and a tad more often the old habits pop up. (I had to go off the meds to take a medical exam, otherwise after 2 weeks of this, I think I would went back on).

    So, I am just going to try and focus on the positive things, the little things, the big things, the big little things. Exercising does help and by this time next week I should have my rowing machine!! Glad I can come here! Needed to spin the wheel and look at all the great folks and wisdom I found. Report
    When I'm stressed, I tend to hold it all in until I'm about to blow...(not good). Lately, I've been playing the piano and reading the Bible. It amazes me when reading scriptures, that God can speak to you and give you just what you need. I try to give all my problems to him...afterall, he wants us to give him our burdens and leave them...don't pick them back up. Try God, he won't fail you.... Report
    Sometimes I have a hard time dealing with stress depending on what it is. Most of the times I take a long deep breathe and count to ten. I remind myself that everything is going to be okay. There are times that a long hot bubble bath are the most relaxing way to releave any type of stress. Report
    I have a great deal of a problem dealing with stress. I am definitely a stress eater, and once in a while can control my impulses to eat when feeling stressed, other times I just blow my stack and usually end up feeling bad about it a short while later. Thanks for the great tips to deal with stress! Report
    Fortunatly I have good coping mechanisims, and I've never been a stressed type person, guess I am a type B personality. I listen to music, watch comedies, and I have a strong helpful support system with my family and close friends, and of course my SP family. If I feel stressed I usually turn up the music and exercise harder, or longer or find some form of diversion. I scrapbook, read and those things all combined keep me sane. Report
    Just like many people here, I use support of family and friends, and laughter (i.e. watching something funny on TV) as good stress-busters! :o) Report
    When I have a stressful day, the best thing I can do is know that tomorrow I can start over again. Report
    It is great to see these key points listed. I know them, and understand how important they are to incorporate into my life. But with making overall significant lifechanges it is just one more list to keep in my mind. So, get it out of my mind and in front of my face !! I've printed copies of this to post in strategic areas where I'll look when stressed. I look forward to seeing this list and getting through the moment, as well as begin incorporating into the routine of my life. Thanks !! Report
    When I get home from work and have had a stressfull day, I go to my room and just relax for 15-20 minutes alone. My son knows this is "mom's time" and not to interrupt me with questions like "what's for dinner" or "can you run me here". Then I'm able to continue with making dinner, doing dishes and other household chores that need to be done. I also turn up my favorite music and sing like I'm a rockstar. I can't really carry a tune, but it makes me feel good! :-) Report
    Thank you for the reminder to breathe! Report
    Thank you for these reminder. Stress is the biggest obstacle to my weight loss in bith over eating and not wanting to exercise. I need to remember these item adnd implement them to make me an overall healthier person. Report
    excellent blog with some very insightful, helpful comments by sparkers! there is good stress and bad stress. when good stress hits me (good family or friend times, promotion at work, hitting lotto [no, i've never hit the jackpot, but a couple of hundred dollars over the past few years is better than a poke in the eye with a knitting needle], getting great feedback about something i did or said, etc.), i smile from ear to ear, relish it, enjoy it, soak it up like desert sand does with drizzle, and let it flow in and through me like healing winds. i regret, however, that bad stress is more of my frequent friend; however, i'm getting better at dealing with it. i favor negativity less, tend to focus on the positive as much as possible (read my sparkpage = personal, daily struggle), think more clearly about what i can and cannot control (i cannot control my genes, but i can control my jeans), and do my best to move forward by making mindful, healthy, positive choices for myself every day. I AM WORTH IT! it is an effort, it does take some brain-power and cognitive realignment, but i'm doing it more and more often. soon, i hope that the positive feelings of goodness, accomplishment, and forward progress will be rewards enough in themselves. stress is just about everywhere these days. good coping skills can't be under-rated in this kind of world we're living in now. nancy Report
    Thank you so much for writing this article. I found myself lost last night & awoke looking for motivation to keep doing what I'm doing & to all in all keep living!! I read this article & just felt so enlightened & all my wonderings were answered! Thank you cuz this was definately a life saver! Report
    I learned to ride a motorcycle last year and bought a Harley. Surprisingly, it is a great way for me to unwind. It can be a bit tense when driving in traffic but because I have to focus completely on what I'm doing, I don't have time to think about how my day went. No radio, nobody talking at me, just me, my bike and the road.

    It's odd because you would think that traffic, dealing with people who aren't paying attention and remembering all you have to do that's different with a bike would be stressful in and of itself, but for me at least, it isn't.

    So perhaps learning something new and completely out of your normal comfort zone can be good therapy. Report