Last week we talked about stress, anxiety and depression and the various ways many of us have either learned or chose to cope with emotional challenges in our life. Unfortunately, unhealthy coping skills not only make the situations worse, but affect our physical and emotional well-being.
People we love and care about are also affected due to our stress if our ways of coping are negative and unhealthy. I realize making changes in our lives isn't always easy no matter how old we are especially if we have developed negative coping habits and used them for any length of time.
Changing habits isn't easy but no one wants to be miserable or make matters worse either, we just don't realize at the time when we choose negative ways of dealing with depression and stress we just make matters worse. Sometimes the stress in our lives is much too hard to cope with on our own due to illness, the loss of a loved one, divorce, broken relationships, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, and drug or alcohol abuse within the family, a relationship or a friend.
It's understandable that we sometimes choose negative and unhealthy ways to cope on our own especially if we don't seek professional help. In order to deal and cope with the forms of stress listed above it's better to seek professional medical advice for our own health and well-being. Most of us realize that but it's not always the first way we choose to cope, instead we become consumed with depression or anxiety and resort to our negative coping methods.
When stress and depression becomes overwhelming seeking medical advice is always a positive choice because there are times in our life we have to take medications for our emotional and physical well-being. Seeking counseling or therapy can make a huge difference in the way we cope with stress, anxiety or depression.
Healthier Ways to Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression
There are positive ways to help us cope with emotional stress that we don't always think about especially during rough times because our thinking is so clouded. We're all different and what may work for one person doesn't always work for another. There are many things we can do for ourselves that will have a positive effect on us during stressful and emotional times but always remember to seek medical help when life's challenges become too overwhelming.
- Breathe; sometimes we forget to breathe deep which helps to relax our mind and body
- Eat healthier and cut down on fast foods, caffeine, soda and sugars
- Walk, jog, or exercise because it reduces stress and anxiety, helps with fatigue and increases dopamine
- Get enough sleep
- Sounds, listen to music that helps you to relax and feel good, we all have our favorites
- Scents, some people say aromatherapy (scented mixture of oils, flowers, herbs, and trees) helps them to relax.
- Meditation brings calmness and peace of mind
- Yoga is used for a variety of health conditions and reduces stress, depression and anxiety
- Tai Chi (moving meditation)
- Surround yourself with positive people in your life that love and care about you and try not to shut them out.
- If you like to read, choose self-help books that will help make positive changes in the way you cope.
- Behavioral therapy by a counselor or therapist (helps to change unhealthy thinking, behaviors and coping skills)
- Attend a support group
- Anger management counseling
Avoid alcohol even though this is what many people use to cope because it only makes depression and anxiety worse and the same is true for tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs of abuse. Only take prescription medications that are prescribed for you and always take them as directed, never abuse them because this will only lead to more stress and emotional and physical problems.
It's very hard to change bad habits and make positive choices when dealing with emotional stress, depression or anxiety. But making positive changes and adding helpful coping methods can really make a difference in your life and also for the ones you love and care about.
National Institutes of Health