Life is stressful, always.
If you’re struggling to manage anxiety and stress, or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed, there’s no better time than the present to learn some healthy coping strategies.
Implementing these 16 coping mechanisms, like snuggling your pet, can be helpful to anyone who just needs a few more tools in their tool belt for handling the stresses life throws their way.
1. Try Square Breathing
Square breathing is a type of breath work that can help decrease stress in your body.
Start by inhaling for four counts, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and resting for four counts. Then repeat!
2. Do something simple to focus your mind:
Sometimes simple tasks like folding laundry, doing the dishes, or mowing the lawn can be an opportunity to focus your mind on something other than the stressors in your life.
A mini yet productive break from everything else on your to-do list.
3. Take a walk
If you can, get outside and take a walk. Sometimes a change of scenery can really help us reset, especially if you live near a park or in the midst of natural beauty.
Plus, the fresh air and exercise will be good for you!
4. Play a video game, like Stardew Valley:
If you can’t get outside, try the next best thing.
Playing a game like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing can transport you into a beautifully animated world where you can grow and harvest fruits and vegetables and decorate your own fantasy home.
5. Watch a familiar movie or TV series:
When getting outside or doing dishes does NOT sound appealing, try tuning into a favorite TV series or rewatching a favorite movie.
It can feel like spending quality time with close friends, without the pressure of exerting energy in actual conversation.
6. Try journaling:
Journaling is a tried and true way of processing our thoughts.
Sometimes the simple act of writing down our fears and anxieties can help us gain perspective. At the very least, it allows us to release these stressors from our mind for the time being.
7. Snuggle your pet:
If you have a pet, whether they’re furry, scaly, or feathered, section off time in your schedule every day to spend quality time with them.
They need this attention of course, but you can also benefit by disconnecting from everything else to snuggle and play with your special friend.
8. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique:
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, this five-step exercise can be very helpful for grounding you in the present if you’re experiencing anxiety or panic.
9. Find an anchor:
A comfort object like a stuffed animal can help in moments of stress. But it doesn’t have to be a stuffed animal.
A grounding object can be any object that holds a strong, positive memory for you or soothes you in stressful times. Consider a photograph, a piece of jewelry, or even a smooth rock.
10. Escape into a world of fantasy:
Escapism is a valid outlet for coping with difficult times. Try getting lost in a good book series, or create your own world and imagine the stories of the characters who live there.
Playing role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons can also be a great way to escape into a fantasy with friends.
11. Allow yourself to take a nap:
If you have the ability, allow yourself to lay down and take a nap.
If your stress is a result of exhaustion or pushing yourself too hard at work or at home, this might be exactly what you need to feel less overwhelmed.
12. Try EFT Tapping
Emotional freedom technique (EFT) has been used to treat people with anxiety and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It utilizes the meridian points to restore balance to your body’s energy.
There are plenty of online videos that will teach you how to practice this on yourself.
13. Create a playlist for when you’re stressed:
Find a song, or create a whole playlist, that will help you recenter yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
It could contain classical music and Tibetan singing bowls, or it could be nothing but death metal. Whatever works for YOU.
Coloring books are for adults too. Coloring can be a simple, meditative task that allows you to be creative while you de-stress.
Check out Amazon for a variety of comical or beautiful options.
Counting to ten or counting down from one hundred forces you to stop and focus on something else other than whatever is making you upset.
It might seem rudimentary, but it can really help.
16. Watch cute or funny videos:
When all else fails, one easy way to distract yourself from everything that’s making you anxious is watching funny or inspiring videos on TikTok, Youtube, Facebook, and all the rest.
It may feel like a waste of time, but isn’t stress spiraling an even bigger waste of time?
If you feel that your life is being significantly impacted by stress, finding a licensed therapist is highlight recommended. Try Betterhelp.com for an affordable, socially distant option.
These coping strategies are just a handful of tools you can easily implement into your everyday life to better handle feelings of stress and anxiety. They won’t solve your problems, but they can help you build up the strength to handle your problems.
Do you have any additional tools for coping with stress? Let us know in the comments!