Four Strategies for Dealing with Stress

Stress is part of life. But too much of it can lead to anxiety and depression, and eventually take its toll on your health. When you’re feeling stressed, these proven strategies can help you stay positive:

1. Distract yourself

Go for a walk or jog; plant a flower; take some pictures; clean your house/apartment; listen to your favorite music; work on a hobby; do something kind or thoughtful for someone else; treat yourself to a healthy meal; take a relaxing drive; call a friend or relative; write a letter to a friend or relatives.

2. Use self-soothing skills

Look at calming nature scenes (e.g., oceans, rivers, forests); apply lotion to your skin; light scented candles or incense; listen to soothing music; put on your most comfortable clothes or shoes; spray your favorite air freshener; listen to natural sounds (e.g., rain falling, birds); sit in a comfortable chair.

3. Change your thoughts to be more adaptive

Can you substitute a positive thought for a negative one? Instead of thinking “I can only run on the treadmill for five minutes before I’m totally exhausted. I’ll never be able to do this on a regular basis” — try “Today I was able to run for five minutes. If I can increase that by just a minute every day, soon I’ll be running a mile!”

4. Accept what you can’t change

Some stressful situations are long-term or permanent, requiring you to adapt. You will feel worse if you choose to deny the reality of the situation. Instead, you can accept your limitations, set realistic goals and make a plan to achieve them.