How to Cope When Life Gets Too Stressful

Your thoughts are running wild. Your stomach is in knots. Your heart is beating a mile a minute. You’re experiencing the physical symptoms of stress and don’t know what to do about it.

Unfortunately, stress is something everyone deals with. It often comes from health concerns and relationship issues or financial struggles and work obstacles. But one thing remains the same: stress has an undeniable impact on your overall well-being.

Of course, that doesn’t mean stress is something you simply have to accept. There are strategies you can employ to make treading stressful waters easier. It’s just about figuring out what works best for you. Here are a few to help you navigate the inevitable stresses you’ll encounter and still come out on top.

Invest in Your Mental Health

If you want to lose weight, you change your diet and increase your exercise regimen. If you want to save money, you watch your spending and cut back where you can. Dealing with stress is the same concept. If you want to create better stress-coping skills, you invest in your mental health.

The level of investment you choose to partake in is up to you and what you’re dealing with. You could explore physical exertion like running or strength training as a dopamine boost. You might talk to friends about your struggles to relate to others and feel less alone. Or you could go all in and give mental health rehab a try to dedicate yourself to improving your headspace.

The point is to find ways that you can calm your mind and work through stressors. Creating these coping mechanisms allows you to navigate your current stress and prepare for the future. That way, no matter what life throws at you, you’ll have the confidence you can face it head-on.

Break Up Your To-Do List

When you have a lot on your plate, the last thing you need is a mile-long to-do list. It’s overwhelming and will likely only make you feel more frazzled than you already do. That’s why breaking up your list into more manageable pieces is a great option.

Start by thinking through what absolutely has to be done. Timely tasks like bills with strict due dates or appointments you can’t miss should be filtered to the top. Then, you’re left with tasks you could do right now but also would be fine completing later. This is the sweet spot of this process because you can compare your priority list with your flexible one.

If you have five high-priority tasks that require ample time and resources, maybe you leave it at that. Work toward completing those before moving on to the less time-sensitive tasks. Slowly but surely you’ll chip away at your list. And with each item checked off, you’ll feel more in control of your responsibilities, helping calm your stress along the way.

Find an Outlet

No matter what source your stress is coming from, you can’t keep it all bottled up. That’s a surefire way to ensure you stay in a cycle of continuous stress and anxiety. Instead, focus your energy on finding a stress-release outlet you can put to use.

Determining what that outlet may be is a fun experience that can help get your mind off of your stressor. Test out horseback riding, running, or knitting. Give boxing, bowling, and journaling a try. Learn how to bake, cook, and paint. Whatever you choose, aim for an activity that soothes your mind and encourages you to focus on the task at hand.

Once you find what works, you’ll have a built-in resolution for stressful times in life. When you start to feel overloaded with responsibility or lack of control, lean on your activity. You’ll release your stress in a healthy way and get back to facing life’s problems with a better mindset. From there, you can tackle whatever comes at you with a clear mind.

Ask for Help

Sometimes stress makes you want to put your head down and deal with everything on your own. But that’s not a recipe for success when you’re going through a lot. As hard as it is, asking for help is exactly what you need to do when you’re stressed out.

Help can come in all shapes and forms. It may be having a friend get dinner delivered to your door so you don’t have to cook and do dishes. It might be having a loved one watch your kids while you go for a walk outside in fresh air. Or maybe it’s simply taking time to listen as you explain your feelings for an hour.

The point isn’t to hand off your responsibilities to others. However, when you’re in a time of need, it’s fair to lean on your loved ones for support. When all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did.

Take it One Step at a Time

There’s no magical wand that can remove all of life’s stress. So, it’s important to put stress management strategies to work when you start to get overwhelmed. From there, you’ll feel more in control and ready to take uneasiness on head first. Before you know it, your unruly thoughts, knotted stomach, and racing heart will be a thing of the past.

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