How to cope with stress

Life can be challenging at times with demands and expectations for everything you have to manage. Many people struggle to get through their everyday lives.

It is easy to feel inadequate and feel guilty about everything you should have done, and in that way end up in a negative spiral.

Stress is not only negative

Stress is a natural reaction that we humans need to mobilize. Among other things, we need some adrenaline in the body before doing a presentation to perform better.

Stress is therefore not harmful in the first place, but it will be if it exceeds your coping ability and persists for a long time. There is a difference between being normally stressed and having prolonged stress that settles in the body.

If you want to deal with stress in a good way, it’s important to understand what you are going through.

Having insight into what is going on, and acknowledging what is happening provides the opportunity for better stress management in everyday life. There are over 300 different symptoms of stress.

The most common are:

  • Tension / muscle tension
  • Impaired immune system / disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy
  • Reduced performance
  • Hurried / unable to calm down
  • Feeling guilty
  • Dissatisfaction / depression

Ask yourself:

What triggers stress in me?

  • Which situations are most challenging?
  • What stresses you / drains your energy?
  • How do you react: What emotions, physical reactions and negative thoughts arise in the situation?

Once you understand and accept what is happening, you can find coping strategies that works for you.

Some people find help in using relaxation exercises, breathing exercises or going to yoga. The most important thing is that you have to find a coping strategy that suits you.

Turn your thoughts outwards

Finding alternative thoughts is another way to manage. If something at work didn’t go as you expected (for example giving a presentation), you can find other things you managed in a very good way that day. It can be simple techniques, such as turning your attention to something else.

Do not give your inner critic free rein

We are often very self-critical, but self-compassion can be practiced. You can practice listening less to your inner critic and having a more friendly tone to yourself. Challenge yourself on the negative assumptions you have.

Ask yourself:

  • What facts contradict thinking like that?
  • What would a friend say to me?
  • Does the negative thought you have reflect the actual situation?

You have to accept that things will not be perfect

  • Acknowledge that life is demanding.
  • Focus on what you actually achieve.
  • Find situations where you have achieved something or been praised during the day – how did you manage?
  • Make active choices about what you want to spend time on, and set specific goals for mastery.
  • Be active, do exercises and sleep well.

In challenging situations, it can be useful to focus outwards instead of inwards on your own discomfort. You can achieve this with attention training.

Breathing exercise can, for example, have a relaxing and calming effect, while relaxation exercise can be helpful for tension in the body or worries.

A good tip is to familiarize yourself with different coping strategies. Try them and find out what works best for you.

We have assembled diffefent help techniques that you can use when you find yourself in a challenging or stressed situation. 

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