Stress: Successful Coping Strategies

Relieve the Effects of Stressors by Draining Off Part of It

  • Relaxation exercises
  • Physical exercise

Stop Adding to It

  • Increase your awareness of stress and its effects on you

  • Use a journal
  • Evaluate your habits

  • Identify precipitating events and establish a plan for coping
  • Use a journal
  • Change one thing at a time

Change Your Thinking About Stressful Events

  • Practice thought-stopping
  • Change negative thoughts to positive, for example change "I should" to "I want" or "I would like"
  • Make a want list . . . are these your wants?
  • Stop trying to live up to everything you read, see and hear; learn to become comfortable with yourself; be kind and gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to fail
  • Establish a positive strength list and post it

Stop Stirring It Up . . . Learn How To Worry

  • List your worries
  • Schedule a daily worry time (15 minutes)
  • Contract not to worry at other times; practice thought-stopping
  • Establish a set of comforting thoughts that works for you:
  • "I won't let them get me down."
  • "I do what I do because I like to do it."
  • "I will not should upon myself . . . enough others do it for me."

Attacking Daily Stressors

  • Begin by organizing yourself and making better use of your time
    • Pacing -- the art of controlling your tempo; stress comes from attempting to do too much
    • Commitment -- be selective when saying "yes" . . . what good is "yes," if you can't say "no"?
    • Valuing -- choose between alternatives so you feel committed to your decision
    • Time Use -- learn to set priorities
    • Personal Planning -- set goals and markers; avoid perfect standards

Change the Scene

  • Control what and who is surrounding you at any particular point in time and choose how you will respond to them
  • Assertiveness -- the art of saying "yes" and "no" in a direct, positive manner
  • Aggressiveness -- the art of courteously expanding your territories
  • Fight -- learning to stand your ground and change what's around you
  • Flight -- the art of retreat . . . knowing when to leave or creating another setting to meet your needs
  • Listening -- the art of empathy . . . carefully tuning into the feelings of others
  • Contact -- the art of making friends and seeking supportive relationships
  • Nest-building -- the art of setting up living space and turning it into a home
  • Strengthen your Vocational Qualifications -- people with strong qualifications experience less stress when crises come, because they have more options available to them

Change Your Mind

  • Take control of your attitude, use your beliefs and values to help yourself
  • Relabel -- the art of seeing a diamond-in-the-rough and the silver lining in every problem
  • Surrender -- the art of saying good-bye, of letting go and closing some doors
  • Faith -- the art of accepting your limits and choosing beliefs that will help you deal with the mystery and unknowable in your world
  • Imagination -- the art of creativity and laughter, the ability to see the humor of life
  • Whisper -- the art of talking to yourself and giving yourself quiet, positive messages; build and maintain an adequate sense of self-esteem and when you do experience a setback or defeat, re-establish your self-confidence by remembering past accomplishments

Body Building

  • Exercise -- the art of strengthening and fine-tuning your body
  • Eating -- the fine art of feeding your body the building materials it needs to be strong and healthy
  • Gentleness -- the art of wearing kid gloves and treating yourself kindly and softly
  • Relaxation -- the art of cruising in neutral and of replenishing your energy; take sufficient vacations . . . a break is long enough, if one returns feeling rejuvenated as well as relaxed
  • Regular Pattern -- the art of building a consistent rhythm to your life so your body can anticipate and prepare for the efforts you want it to make