Seven healthy ways of coping with stress

May 16, 2024

We all get stressed and find it hard to cope sometimes. When emotions are high and we start to feel anxiety in our stomach, blood pressure rising, or painful headaches, there are some quick and easy things we can do to feel better.

Stress Management
Stress Management


  • Breathing exercises 

People often underestimate the power of deep breathing and the impact it has on our nervous system, blood pressure and stress levels. If you find yourself feeling anxious, angry, or overwhelmed take a slow deep breath in through your nose, hold it for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds then inhale for four seconds. Keep repeating a few times and you will notice the difference. Here are nine more breathing exercises you can try – see which one you like best. 

 

  • Gentle exercise 

Movement and exercise can relieve stress instantly. You don’t have to go to the gym if you can’t or don’t want to. You could simply go for a walk, or find a short no-equipment home workout on YouTube. Go at your own pace, and try to enjoy it. The aim is not to de-stress, not to punish yourself. A lot of people I know love at home yoga with Adriene. Slow and gentle stretches combined with controlled breathing can really help ease the tension from your body.   

 

  • Meditation 

Meditation is about creating space to be calm and still. When you meditate you breathe deeply and gently notice all the thoughts rushing through your mind. You might also notice lots of different feelings and sensations in your body. You can meditate in five minutes – you don’t have to take a long time to feel the benefit of it – so you can even do it at your desk at work if you need to. Meditation and prayer go hand in hand. If you are someone who prays, you might find that the practices have an impact on one another. You can get some helpful meditation tips here.

 

  • Stop scrolling through news and social media 

It is ok to take a break from news and social media. When you are stressed, consuming content which will make you feel more upset is not going to help. Instead try to focus your attention onto a more positive and uplifting distraction. For example, pick a topic you are really interested in and read an article/ watch a video/listen to a podcast about it. We recommend setting yourself a limit on the time you spend on news sites and social media apps (you can set up a time limit on most phones). And don’t forget to mute, unfollow or block any accounts that negatively affect your mood. You could even try deleting all your apps for one week to see what difference it makes to your mood and stress levels. Here are a few more tips on taming your social media habit. 

Social Media
Social Media

 

  • Talk about your feelings 

Talking about how you feel can help lift the weight from your shoulders. Sometimes you don’t need or want advice, you just need to express yourself and feel supported and listened to. And that’s ok. Seeking comfort in others is not a weakness. It can be a relief to talk to someone who understands what you are going through. It might help you find a new way of looking at a problem. Think about who makes you feel safe and loved. Here are some tips on preparing for a conversation about your feelings. And here are some tips for dealing with cultural mental health stigma.

 

  • Write a journal

Grab a pen and notebook, or your phone or computer if you prefer, and write about how you’re feeling. Don’t overthink it, just write from your heart – everything you are thinking and feeling. Many people find this a helpful way to untangle different thoughts and worries. When you see something written down it can help you find a new perspective on a problem. This is especially helpful if you’re not sure who to talk to, or you don’t feel ready or able to speak about your problems with others. Here are some more tips on different ways to journal.

  • Cry 

Crying is healthy and normal and we all need to do it sometimes. And yes, that includes grown men too! You do not have to cry in front of anybody else, but remember, tears are a blessing. There is no shame in this normal bodily process which relieves so much tension from our bodies. Tears trigger feel-good hormones and they also help flush stress hormones out of your body. Crying sends an increased blood flow to the brain, which can give you a sense of physical relief as it literally cools the brain down. Crying is also proven to help you sleep better. If you feel the urge to cry then don’t hold back the tears, they are there for a reason. Read more about the health benefits of crying. (If you find yourself crying all the time, you might need to seek professional support for depression.) 

We’ll be sharing more mental health and wellbeing tips on our blog. Stay tuned!