More than ever, people need to know effective methods for coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. The COVID lockdowns and other changes we’ve endured have dramatically increased our reasons for concern. Some people learn to adapt and take things in stride, while others don’t know how to handle stress effectively.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are not only mental and emotional experiences, they also affect a person physically. Experts in the field of psychology believe that building resilience is an effective approach to managing the various physical and mental symptoms.
Resilience is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as: “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”
The ability to bounce back after adversity involves finding ways to gain an improved state of being. If you are interested in building resilience and developing healthy coping skills, this guide may prove helpful.
A Practical Guide to Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
The purpose of this guide is to help you avoid using alcohol or drugs to escape dealing with current problems. You may be surprised to know that the number of prescriptions for antianxiety drugs and antidepressants have increased significantly since the virus pandemic began. Alcohol abuse has also increased dramatically.
So, here are 10 healthy coping skills that may help you handle today’s increasing challenges without resorting to those substances.
1. Engage in physical activity regularly.
Physical exercise is a great way to help your body release the feel-good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These chemicals help neutralize the build-up of the toxins that lead to stress-related illness.
Simple activities three or four times a week can make a big difference in your stress levels. Try taking walks, riding a bicycle, swimming, dancing, roller skating, doing yoga, or going up and down the stairs. All of these are healthy coping tools not only for stress but also for anxiety and depression as well.
2. Get some sun.
One of the easiest ways to improve symptoms of stress or depression is to spend time in the sun. The Vitamin D you absorb from the sun is a necessary nutrient that boosts immunity and bone health, and improves cognition.
3. Spend time near water.
Being on or near a body of water helps you quiet your thoughts and shift your focus. Try practicing mindfulness techniques while laying on the beach, swimming, or drifting in a boat. Take time to listen, see, smell, and feel what’s around you and keep your mind in the present.
4. Practice breathing exercises.
Breathing techniques are proven to decrease symptoms related to anxiety and stress. The exercises are also helpful in regulating sleep if practiced regularly. The most popular breathing technique is the 4-7-8 routine.
Sit up straight or lay down on your back. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds keeping your chest and shoulders down. Expand your diaphragm, hold for 7 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Do 4 repetitions at least once a day. The increased oxygen benefits your body in many ways.
5. Limit sugar, caffeine, and nicotine.
The chemicals in sugar, caffeine and nicotine have stimulating effects. If you’re already feeling stressed or anxious, these products aren’t helpful. Try drinking chamomile tea to promote relaxation. The tea will also help you sleep better.
6. Try digital detox.
What is a digital detox? It is a proven tip for managing stress that helps you recharge. When you hear distressing or fear-provoking information on the news or social media, it causes you to release stress hormones. So, once a day, disconnect and take a digital detox by spending time doing something more enlightening and positive. Try listening to music, gardening, or reading that book you never had time to read.
7. Meditation and scented candles.
Meditation and aromatherapy are holistic practices that can help you relax and center yourself. Your mind needs relief from daily stress, which can be provided by regular meditation. It is a coping tool that will improve many areas in your life. Light some scented candles or other aromatherapy and give your mind and body time to regroup.
8. Use grounding techniques.
Similar to mindfulness techniques, grounding is a way to increase awareness of your surroundings. This awareness will improve your sense of being in the present. Start by using the Five Senses technique. You’ll identify 5 sights, 4 sounds, 3 physical sensations, 2 smells, and 1 taste. Say each one out loud to enhance the effects.
9. Try progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
This relaxation technique helps you focus on one area of your body at a time. Start with your forehead and tighten the facial muscles. Hold for ten seconds as you breathe in slowly and exhale. Then work your way down to your shoulders, arms, hands, and so on using the same process. This tip for managing stress will also help you sleep better.
10. Do some housework.
Yeah, this one probably isn’t your favorite. But, you may be surprised at how good you feel after tackling that junk room or doing some other tasks you normally avoid. You’ll exert some pent-up energy, relieve stress, and feel that you’ve accomplished something.
If Stress CausesYou to Abuse Drugs or Alcohol, Reach Out to Design for Change Recovery
It’s not easy to manage stress when things keep happening that upset you. Society is going through many changes today, and some people seek solace by turning to drugs or alcohol.
If you are struggling with substance use, reach out to us at Design for Change Recovery. We provide an evidence-based approach to treatment that incorporates a range of therapies to help you develop healthy coping skills.
Contact us at our Lancaster, CA facility today to learn more about our programs. You can talk to one of our representatives about the best treatment plan for your situation.
- merriam-webster.com/dictionary – Resilience