All of us experience stress on a daily basis and some degree of stress is absolutely normal as well as necessary to keep us alert, occupied and moving forward towards our goals. In fact, many perform best under mild to moderate degree of stress. However, we all know that significantly high levels of stress can become debilitating and problematic.
With everyday factors such as work, school, children finances and other obligations, stress can easily become unmanageable. Although at times it may feel like we do not have control over the stress, the truth of the matter is that we have more control over our stress than we might think. Stress management is all about taking charge and the way we deal with problems. No matter how stressful our lives seem, there are steps we can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.
There is a high degree of variability on how we respond to stress. Some cope adaptively with stress and others may respond to stress in maladaptive ways. This may include use of substances, binge eating, procrastinating, sleeping too much, avoidance behaviors, and even taking the stress out on others. This blog will focus on providing some strategies to cope with stress more adaptively.
In case you are wondering when you should consider using adaptive stress management skills you should evaluate if the coping strategies you are currently using is contributing to your emotional and physical health.
Here are some examples of adaptive stress management techniques:
- Physical Activity: Any form of physical activity can help relieve stress, tension, and frustration. Exercise releases endorphins (INSERT OUR EXERCISE ENDORPHINE BLOG LINK) that boost your mood and make you feel good.
- Increasing Social Interactions: Social interaction is the quickest, most efficient way to rein in stress and avoid overreacting to internal or external events that you perceive as threatening. Reaching out to others, volunteering, or going out to coffee, lunch or dinner with friends can help reduce your stress.
- Learning how to say “No”: Some stressors arise at predictable times and therefore you may be able to get a bit more control over these situations. Although it is not healthy to avoid stressful situations altogether, you may be surprised by the number of stressors that you can eliminate. Learning how to say “no” is one way to gain some control over environmental influences.
- Time Management: Managing your time more efficiently can help reduce your stress level. To do lists can be helpful in assisting with time management as well as reducing stress levels.
- Make Time for relaxing, fun and meaningful activities: Set aside some time to meet up with friends and family and do something fun. Being in nature such as going to the park or hiking can help reduce your stress level.
- Engage in Self-Care: Engaging in self-care such as eating healthy and getting adequate amount of sleep can help reduce your stress level.
Dr. Tina Alexandrian is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine. She has extensive experience in working with children, adults, and families. Her approach to psychotherapy involves a combination of cognitive-behavioral and solution-focused methods. She has cultivated an eclectic style that is individually tailored and effective for treating a multitude of emotional and psychological problems. Having the opportunity to be exposed to many different cultures in her personal life has led Dr. Alexandrian to gain a deep level of understanding and appreciation for the impact of cultural factors in the therapeutic process. She has worked extensively with individuals and families from diverse backgrounds and practices therapy in Armenian and Spanish as well as English.
Please feel free to call the Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine for further information 818-446-2522 or email