An element of stress in our lives is necessary to keep us motivated and enthusiastic, however too much stress can be harmful to your health. Some people use smoking or too much alcohol to help them manage their stress, this can increase their risk of heart disease.
There are lots of ways of dealing with the everyday stressors of life
Some people seem to be able to roll with the punches and cope with life’s challenges easier than others. These people also seem to have a number of common characteristics which help them manage stressful situations and crises.
All these characteristics can be learnt or developed and they include:
- Take things one step at a time; prepare and organise yourself, set realistic goals, ask for help if you need it and deal with one problem at a time
- Practice a positive attitude and positive self-talk; this will remind you that you can handle difficulties; e.g. telling yourself, I am strong, I can deal with this etc.
- Know that you can control how you respond to stressful situations; e.g. either by anger or not, by worrying or taking decisive action etc.
- Connect with others; surround yourself with supportive family, friends, co-workers; join groups, volunteer, socialise; having support and being with others lifts your mood and helps you better deal with stress when it happens
- Get physical; any type of exercise releases feel-good chemicals into the body, helps you sleep better and contributes to your overall physical health, making you better able to cope with difficulties
- Do something that gives you pleasure; get involved with something that you enjoy; reading, gardening, fishing, music, fixing cars, etc. and do a little bit every day
- Eat healthy; some foods make us feel energised and able to cope and some don’t; develop a balanced and healthy eating pattern that will help you build a strong body able to cope with pressures
- Relax and get in touch with your spiritual side or inner you; relaxation, meditation, yoga, faith, are all known to contribute to people’s ability to ‘roll with the punches’
- Laugh; if you are able to laugh at life’s little frustrations you can have increased immunity to stress. Laughing costs nothing and releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals into the body
- Seek help; if you feel you just can’t cope, ask your doctor for professional help. If stress goes on for too long it can lead to serious health problems including pain, heart disease and depression.
Try some of our exercise tips
This website is sponsored by the Ministry of Health and provides more understanding about depression and how to find a way through the condition.