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OKMH1130211 Hiw can I handle stress better especially when I…

OKMH1130211 Hiw can I handle...

OKMH1130211 Hiw can I handle stress better especially when I have several situations in my life which are overwhelming and seems impossible?

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Answered in 9 hours by:
11/30/2017
Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 871
Experience: LMSW, CASAC
Verified

Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am preparing my reply and will post in one moment.

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Your question is an important one. Although a certain amount of stress in our lives is unavoidable, we need to learn how to manage it in healthy ways, especially when we are being overwhelmed with stress. There are several suggestions I can give you that will help you to cope better.

1). The most obvious one I am thinking of which may not apply to you but is often what people reach for when under stress invlve using alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or sugar to cope. You should avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it.

Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful.

Swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.

You should also aim to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars - they are contained in many manufactured foods (even in savory foods such as salad dressings and bread) and can cause energy crashes which may lead you to feel tired and irritable. In general, try to eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet, especially during times of stress.

More in the next thresd.

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2). Exercise/physically move your body. Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.

These are the “fight or flight” hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat. However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response, and so physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolize the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.

When you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.

3). Get more sleep. Stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.

Rather than relying on medication, your aim should be to maximize your relaxation before going to sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that cause you stress. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed so that you give your brain time to calm down. Try taking a warm bath or reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you. You should also aim to go to bed at roughly the same time each day so that your mind and body get used to a predictable bedtime routine. A few more suggestions in the next thread.

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4). Try Relaxation Techniques. Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique. There are many tried and tested methods that you can research online as well as calming guided relaxing meditation apps. that you can research. For example, try self-hypnosis which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as "calm" "love" and "peace" work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”. Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase. Don't worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practice.

5). Talk to Someone. Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it. Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking things through with a friend, work colleague, or even a trained professional, can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.

6). and lastly, learn to Say ‘No’ A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence. To learn to say “No”, you need to understand why you find it difficult. Many people find it hard to say “No” because they want to help and are trying to be nice and to be liked. For others, it is a fear of conflict, rejection or missed opportunities. Remember that these barriers to saying “No” are all self-created. You might feel reluctant to respond to a request with a straight “No”, at least at first. Instead think of some pre-prepared phrases to let other people down more gently. Practice saying phrases such as:

“I am sorry but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
“Now is not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you ask me again at….?”
“I’d love to do this, but.....................

I hope one or all of these are helpful to you. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Linda D., LMSW, CASAC

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If my information has been helpful, please take a moment to rate my service to you. I have noticed from your prior history of questions with JA that several times you have not provided a rating to an Expert. This is how we are given credit for serving you, so we would all appreciate your consideration in this matter so we can continue to be here for you. Thank you, ***** *****

Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 871
Experience: LMSW, CASAC
Verified
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Satisfied Customers: 871
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