Stress and anxiety can be an everyday challenge for almost everyone. Jobs, financial responsibilities, family obligations and issues, and health problems can all be contributing factors when it comes to heightened stress levels.
Unfortunately, sometimes the stress and anxiety that comes with everyday life can become overwhelming enough to be a threat to your mental health. Therefore, finding ways to cope to combat overwhelming feelings is undeniably important. Find out more about the factors that often influence stress and anxiety, as well as important coping strategies that can help navigate the complexities of a stressful life.
Factors That Heighten the Vulnerability of Stress and Anxiety
All people contend with stress and anxiety to some degree. However, certain individuals may be more likely to be vulnerable to high stress levels. A few factors that may heighten stress and anxiety risks include:
- Not enough social support
- History of trauma or abuse
- Socioeconomic status
- A certain profession
- Dealing with discrimination of any kind
- Poor work/life balance
Signs You’re Dealing With Significant Stress and Anxious Worry
Dealing with more than your fair share of stress and anxiety can lead to a number of concerning symptoms. These symptoms can be physical or emotional in nature. If you are not coping well with stress, you may experience:
- Feelings of frustration, anger, fear, sadness or numbness
- Changes in your appetite
- Physical manifestations such as body pain, headaches or stomach problems
- More desire to use alcohol, drugs or tobacco
- Difficulty getting enough sleep
- Poor concentration or problems making decisions
- Worsening overall health
Healthy Coping Strategies for Stress and Anxiety
1. Get Active
Moving may be one of the simplest ways to improve moods and lower stress levels. If you haven’t been very active, set aside a little time in your day to take a walk, go for a short bicycle ride or go to the gym to work out some stress.
2. Journal to Let Out Your Emotions
Journaling is commonly recommended for those struggling with anxiety or stress. Writing down your thoughts helps you spend some time with those emotions and sort through how you’re truly feeling. Regular journaling may even support a higher quality of life.
3. Create Work/Life/Obligation Boundaries
Examine your circumstances in life. Are you devoting too much time to your job, obligations or things that don’t bring you joy? If so, you may have to practice saying “no” to reserve some rewarding time for yourself.
4. Spend Time With Your Support Network
Reaching out for social support is one of the best coping strategies when you are dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety. Spend some time with your close friends, coworkers or loved ones. If your social network is lacking, consider getting involved in a club, class or volunteer opportunity to surround yourself with others.
5. Take Care of Your Physical Self
In addition to remaining physically active, be sure to take good care of your body. Follow a healthy diet and make sure to take in the nutrients that support you mentally and emotionally. Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and avoid reaching for substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with stress.
6. Step Away From Negative Influences
Maybe you spend a lot of time on social media, watching the news or even with people who have a generally pessimistic outlook. Sometimes these influences can encourage stress and anxiety, but stepping away from negativity may help you settle into a more positive, calmer space.
7. Know When You Need More Help
Even with the implementation of coping strategies, you may recognize that you need more help. If you continue to face excessive stress, worry or symptoms of anxiety to the extent that it is disrupting your life, consider seeking advice from a professional at a mental health rehab center.
Coping With Stress and Anxiety Requires a Personal Approach
All people navigate stress and anxiety uniquely. Coping strategies that work well for one person may be ineffective for another. Learning ways to cope gives you a full repertoire of tools to try when you feel overwhelmed. In many cases, these strategies can return you to a good emotional place, but there is no shame in needing additional guidance from a mental health professional.