How do you cope with stress at the moment?

Coping with stress

Life in the 21st century throws up stressors from almost every quarter. While there is often little we can do to avoid them completely, we can adapt our lifestyles to help us withstand their negative effects. Eating and drinking habits, whether or not we exercise, our sleeping patterns – such things as these can help or hinder our ability to cope with stress both in the short-term but, most especially, in the long-term.

Take a long, hard look at yourself:

Do you sometimes drink to cheer yourself up or to help you forget the row you had with your boss?
Do you ever take drugs to help you sleep?
Do you smoke incessantly?
Do you bottle up your feelings?
Do you purposefully avoid difficult situations?
Do you ever refuse to open statements from your bank or credit card company?

These are all classic signs that stress is having a negative effect.

These are by no means the only symptoms of stress but if any of them ring a bell with you, it could be that your lifestyle is actually making things more difficult rather than easier. A drink, a smoke, a pill – all these offer, usually unsuccessfully, is a short-term remedy. Would it not be better to change your lifestyle so that you did not suffer so much?

If you are stressed and constantly ignore your lifestyle, the chances are that one day, stress will get the better of you. By making time for yourself and adopting healthy lifestyle habits you will increase your ability to cope with everyday hiccoughs that might otherwise create anxiety. It might sound obvious but it is astonishing how many people ignore the self-evident and carry on regardless!

Regular exercise, a well balanced diet made up of wholefood and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, combined with quiet times for relaxation, will provide you with the armoury you need to deal with the daily onslaught of frustration and tension.

You and your coping resources

You may think that you are locked into a lifestyle that you cannot change significantly. This is rarely true and most of us can adapt or alter our lifestyles to enable us to cope with stress in the long-term so that life’s minor wrinkles do not bother us unduly.

First, however, it is important to acknowledge those things that you do – or do not do – at the moment which could help you and your body deal with daily stressful situations. Complete the questionnaire to find out.

The factors in the chart below have been found to enhance people’s ability to deal with stress. Tick Yes or No to each statement.

Lifestyle stressor Yes No
Getting stuck in traffic
Exhaust fumes/air pollution
Interruptions at work
The weather
Noise at work or at home
Waiting in queues
Poor relationships
Time pressure - too much/too little
Financial difficulties

Your coping resources results

If you have more Nos than Yeses, your lifestyle is doing little to help you deal with stress. If anything, it could be increasing your vulnerability to stress.

The best thing you can do is go to 'Achieving a Balanced Lifestyle' where you will find exercises to help you restore balance and harmony to your life. Taking action demands some determination on your part but the effort is well worthwhile and within a short space of time you will be rewarded by actually seeing and feeling the positive results.
If you take action and repeat the questionnaire in three months time, you should discover that you have more Yeses than Nos.

Now you've completed this section on understanding stress, move on to the next section where you'll learn how to control stress.

Part Two: How to Control Stress >>

Text Copyright © Alix Needham
Find out more about the author here

Find a local practitioner
Search Therapist

Do not copy from this page - plagiarism will be detected by Copyscape. If you want to use our content click here for syndication criteria