Coping With Stress

Stress can come from a variety of different sources. It is pretty much impossible to get through life without experiencing it at some point. Ultimately, life without stress would be extremely boring. Stress is a by-product of change, and change, even when difficult, is what makes life exciting and challenging.

Of course, some changes can create too much stress. If such stress isn’t dealt with in a positive way, it can lead to serious physical and emotional problems.

To not let stressful situations get out of hand, it is important that you, your parents, and other adults in your life learn how to recognize the symptoms of stress and acknowledge that the stress you are experiencing constitutes a real problem. Many elements in your life can be the cause of your stress: your family; your friends; a relationship; school; a job; living in a violent environment; crises such as death, illness, divorce and pregnancy; and disasters such as fires or hurricanes.
What is essential is to find a way of dealing with your stress in a constructive manner that corresponds to your personality and your needs. A variety of techniques exist that can help you.

Using your mind, you can try to focus on the positive side of the changes you are going through. You can learn to rationalize your problems and, drawing from past experiences, you can learn to keep them in perspective. You can also put your body to work. Eating well, exercising, and learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and yoga can ease stress and make you feel better both physically and mentally.
It is essential not to withdraww from people around you. A big mistake is keeping your problems to yourself. Find a person or several people that you trust, respect, and feel comfortable talking to. Let them know how you feel and what you’re going through, and don’t be afraid to ask for their help. If you can’t speak to family or friends, know that there are plenty of other people—relatives, counselors, therapists, a family doctor, clergy members, hot lines, as well as support groups—all of whom can help you cope with your stress.

Even though they might make you feel better initially, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are not useful options for combating stress. These substances might mask your problems, but they won’t solve them. Often they only create new, more serious ones that will establish negative patterns of dealing with stressful situations in the future.
You can use past experience as a guideline for coping as well. What has worked in the past and what has not? Accept that you can’t solve every problem. Take into account your own physical and emotional limitations and have reasonable expectations.