Label & Identify Your Feelings
While the fight-or-flight response associated with stress can immediately send us into a panicked spiral, Dr. Ring says its important to pause and identify what, exactly, youre feeling. Is it acute stress, ongoing anxiety, or something else? Are you experiencing a relationship conflict that might be contributing to your current feelings? Do you have a big midterm coming up? Maybe you have a big presentation coming up, or theres an important deadline looming and youre struggling to find time to complete your assignments. Noticing what is causing your stress can be the first step in learning how to best cope with it.
Identify and name what youre feeling as stress and anxiety, Dr. Ring says. If these issues are significantly impacting your quality of life and ability to cope, its important to know that and seek out the resources to support you. Dr. Ring also mentions that its important to be gentle on yourself during difficult times after all, stress is universal, especially in college, and youre not alone in what youre going through. Self-compassion is key, she says.
Write A Letter And Tear It Up
If youre wanting to relieve stress that is clouding up your mind, write a letter to whoever is causing you the stress or write down all of the reasons why youre stressed and then tear it up.
It sounds very Buddha-esque, but it truly can help in letting you physically and figuratively push away your worries.
Not only does the act of getting them down on paper help you to organize things in your mind, but tearing it up and throwing it away can also help your mind release them.
Just make sure you dont actually send the letter, because hateful and rant-filled letters are going to cause you more stress, not less.
When Should One Seek Counseling For Emotional Distress
If you are experiencing any of the characteristics of psychological pain and have attempted one or both of the cures discussed in this report and are still experiencing discomfort, get professional assistance. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle your emotional distress on your own, get professional help. Avoid being “frozen” or as if you’re retaining your breath, waiting for your sensations to pass. If you find yourself in a rut and are unable to break out, seek professional assistance.
Psychologists and mental health professionals are skilled specialists that can assist you in coping with emotional stress, reducing its effects, feeling better, and becoming more productive in your daily activities.
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Taking Steps To Manage Stress
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Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .
Specialist mental health services
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You Get Sick A Lot And The Illnesses Stick Around
The American Psychological Association says that three out of four people experience physical problems caused by stress. When we are stressed out our bodies work overtime to release cortisol, a hormone that is helpful when were being chased by a tiger but harmful when we stay in a constant state of fight or flight. Too much cortisol weakens our immune systems and makes us more likely to get sick. A change in the way you view stress, along with habits like meditation and exercise, usually helps.
Rely On A Strong Support Network
Keep in touch with trusted friends and family members to help cope with stressful work situations.
If youre struggling with an especially challenging work week, try asking parent friends if they can help out with carpooling your kids to school on certain days.
Having people you can rely on during the tough times can alleviate some of the built-up tension.
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Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Its good to be informed but hearing about the traumatic event constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Continue with routine preventive measures as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible get a booster shot if you are age 18 or older.
Stop Putting Off Exercise
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed in the short run and build your resilience toward stress in the long run. Many people know this but have a difficult time getting off the couch on a regular basis, especially when stressed, or too busy to get onto the couch in the first place.
It’s ironic that sometimes when we would most benefit from exercise, that’s the last thing we want to do. Push yourself to do it!
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Stop Leaning On Frenemies
Relationships can be fantastic sources of stress relief. When we experience times of stress, the emotional support, the helpful resources, and the stability that friends bring us can be quite a buffer against the challenges we face.
Additionally, many people find themselves looking to relationships the most when under stress. This response, like the more commonly discussed fight-or-flight response, can help us to get our needs met when we are experiencing stress. This response drives us to connect with others and share support.
That said, the stress of a conflicted relationship can take a heavy toll on your health and well-being. Relationships that are sometimes supportive and sometimes unpredictably conflict-riddled can be particularly difficult because there’s an underlying sense of uncertainty and tension.
Because of this, it is very important not only to know when to let go of a toxic relationship but to know how to keep all the relationships in your life as healthy as possible.
Create Your Own Hand Scrub
If your hands have a lot of dead skin, lotion alone wont be able to soothe it. Consider creating hand scrub at home that has the same beneficial effects as the expensive stuff sold in stores. The Beauty Departments blend of lemon, sugar, coconut oil, and Argan oil is instantly enriching while exfoliating skin.
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Recognize When You Need More Help
If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety wont go away, it may be time to talk to a professional. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.
If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Read more about getting help.
Erligpowht Light Therapy Lamp
- Price: $
- How it may help with anxiety: Sun lamps help decrease anxiety and improve the moods of those with seasonal affective disorder.
A study found that a sun lamp which mimics natural outdoor light may help to improve mood and decrease depression and anxiety in those with major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns, or seasonal affective disorder.
The lightweight and rotatable Erligpowht Light Therapy Lamp is highly rated on Amazon, with four different time settings and three dimming brightness levels.
Its compact enough to put in a cubicle and has a simple, neutral design that can blend into most home decor.
Before buying a sun lamp, be sure to speak with your doctor. Look for one with an intensity of 10,000 lux, and be sure not to look directly at the light. Try to use it at the same time every day.
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Things To Do When Depressed Include:
- Engage in an enjoyable activity like going to a baseball game or attending a social gathering, even if you donât initially feel like it.
- Avoid spending long periods of time alone.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Take care of yourself. Pamper yourself.
- Break tasks up into small chunks spread out over time to make them more achievable.
- Spend time with friends or family. Talk to a trusted person about what youâre going through.
- Postpone important decisions until youâre feeling better. If you have to make an important decision, discuss it with others because feeling depressed can cloud your judgment.
- Get professional help when needed.
Remember, no matter what you do when youâre depressed, feeling better takes time. You may have to get weeks of depression treatment before starting to feel better, but trust the depression will lift over time.
How Can You Help Yourself
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.
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Rehash The Issue With Anyone Who Will Listen
Do yourself and your friends a favor: dont beat the proverbial dead horse. Youre stressed, they get it. Really, how many times can you discuss the same problem with the same people? Find one person who can be your sounding board and lay out the issue one time. Only go back to it if youve found new insight. By discussing it repeatedly, youre not only driving your friends bonkers, youre keeping the source of stress at the front of your mind. This makes it difficult for you to focus on new ideas.
A Case Study Of Stress Leading To Depression
Lets look at an example of how stress can careen into full-blown depression. Say someone, well call her Janet, is so stressed by her job promotion she starts putting in extra hours to prove she can handle it. This makes her tired, and she start being snappy with loved ones, feels disconnected from her friends who are able to go out and have fun while she is too stressed, and feels she has no time now to exercise but instead starts overeating as a way to numb her stress.
Her energy levels lower because of her poor self-care. Shes sleeping less as she is worried she isnt doing well in her new position. She has nobody to confide in as shes pushed away her support system . Instead of talking to her manager and explaining she is feeling overwhelmed or hiring a coach to help her, she pushes herself even harder. Low level anxiety begins.
So stress has rolled into a body image issue, low self-esteem, and feeling unloved and lonely. In other words, stress has led to anxiety which has led straight to depression.
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Try Mindfulness & Mind
Practicing mindfulness and mind-body approaches like yoga and meditation are popular stress relief activities these days, and according to research on mindfulness-based stress reduction ,mind-body interventions can be beneficial for reducing your stress levels over the long term. One of the most profound aspects of these practices is that they can help you deal with uncertainty and decision-making, which according to the APA, are issues plaguing Americans as the pandemic rages on in 2021.
Mind-body approaches like mindful meditation help by practicing the skill of being able to sit with uncertainty, says Dr. Ring. Explore some free apps available like Smiling Mind, UCLA Mindful, and the Healthy Minds Program. If youre interested in exploring mind-body practices like meditation but are short on time, apps like Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm are fun, user-friendly, and easy to play from your phone in between classes a major plus for any busy college student these days.
Take Care Of Yourself
Setting aside time for self-care is a must if you regularly find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work. This means prioritizing sleep, setting aside time for fun, and making sure youre eating throughout the day.
Feel like you dont have the time? Keep in mind that youll likely be able to tackle work issues more effectively when your core needs are being met.
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Why Do I Feel Depressed
Sometimes there is a direct cause for feeling depressed. This could be a life event, a circumstance or simply feeling lonely and depressed. Most times, depressed feelings begin due to a stressor. Example stressors that might make someone feel depressed include:
- Stress at home, work or school
- Death of a loved one
- Social disruption
- Being diagnosed with an illness
Sometimes knowing why you feel depressed can help begin the process of relieving the depression. If, for example, you feel depressed because of the loss of a friendship, it may be helpful to spend time with other friends and talk about thateventâs impact.
Sometimes people feel depressed for no reason. This happens more often in people with severe or chronic depression. However, even if feeling depressed for no reason, you can still take action to try and stop the depression.
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Find A Healthy Supportive Community
Speaking of not being alone, one of the most underrated ways to reduce stress is to find a supportive, healthy community to lean on. Connecting with others can remove some of the sense of being alone in what youre experiencing, Dr. Ring says. Whether its one-on-one with a friend, through online social groups, or with a college-offered student wellness program, sharing what youre feeling and hearing how others are coping can ease the burden.
While college can be a great opportunity to make social connections, it can also be daunting to carve out a community for yourself. If youre experiencing social anxiety or having trouble making friends, try attending a new extracurricular activity or simply seeking out what youre passionate about on campus. Youd be surprised at the people youll meet with common interests, not to mention the number of people who are probably searching for new friends, too!
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Cook Your Favorite Meal
For some people, cooking is a huge stress buster.
Use it as a way to reduce stress if this is you, and get into the kitchen with all of your favorite ingredients.
The act of mixing, mashing, beating, stirring can help release pent up stress physically, and the anticipation of having your favorite meal when youve finished cooking can keep you focused on that goal rather than whatever else is going on in your life.
If you find cooking stressful on a good day, then this does not apply to you!