Coping With Stress, Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety is a serious mental problem which if left untreated can lead to extremely high stress levels. What happens when a person gets too stressed out? Usually, they tend to not want to go out anywhere or see anybody till they �snap out of it�. But every person is unique and each may have a different threshold of finding relief. As I’ve gotten older I found that treating myself�by myself was not a wise choice. My family and friends could probably have helped, had I let them. Most people don’t like discussing their anxiety, stress and depression for various reasons. This, unfortunately just amplifies the problem more times than not. The sooner you can admit to yourself and others that you have a problem, the sooner you can begin to resolve it.

Here are 12 positive ways of coping with stress, anxiety and depression.

1. Listening To Music
Music offers us relief from stress in several ways. It often helps us to open ourselves emotionally and let loose feelings that may be causing the stress. Music inspires us to examine our lives, ourselves and our relationships.

2. Playing With Your Pet
Having pets often provides one of the greatest stress relief techniques known. Research shows having a pet can help improve your health and even your marriage. According to researchers, when people interact with their pets, it lowers their blood pressure and slows their heart rate reducing stress levels.

3. Laughing or Crying
Whenever we are under stress the limbic system is activated and it is one of the major centers responsible for emotions and feelings. The parasympathetic system is stimulated, with the symptoms sometimes being low blood pressure, slower respiration and relaxed muscles.

4. Going Out With a Friend (shopping, movie, dining)
Humans are social animals and our social interactions and social behaviors are some of the most important and interesting features of our lives. Simply spending time with a friend doing something pampering can be stress relieving.

5. Taking a Hot Bath or a Hot Shower
Generally, hot water quiets and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal organs. It calms the lungs, heart, stomach, and endocrine system by stimulating nerve reflexes on the spinal cord. Water seems to have special powers in getting rid of stress and rejuvenating our body.

6. Writing, Painting, or Other Creative Activities
One of the factors which may be lead us toward a stressful lifestyle is not being able to express our creativity. Many people find that creative activities help them safely release their stress. You don’t have to be formally trained and you don’t have to have special, expensive equipment. And, it certainly doesn’t matter if you’ve never done these things before.

7. Praying or Attending a House of Worship
Recently, psychologists have become more aware of the positive effects that a person’s faith may have on his or her life. A relatively large amount of literature is devoted to the stress-buffering role of different religious variables in coping with significant negative life stresses and daily stress. Though research has shown that stress can have negative consequences on a person’s life, stress may actually help one advance in his or her spiritual walk. Faith can also positively affect stress and help a person to cope.

8. Exercising or Getting Outdoors to Enjoy Nature
Exercise can decrease the production of stress hormones and counteract your body’s natural stress response. The same regular exercise routine that helps prevent disease and builds muscle can also help you better manage stress. It pumps up your endorphins, can be considered meditation in movement and it improves your mood.

9. Quiet Discussions With a Spouse or Close Friend
Take a break from the stress and talk out your problems with a trusted listener. Sharing burdens with a loved one helps reduce your stress load, even if just temporarily.

10. Gardening or Making Home Repairs
Gardening is work, but it is satisfying work. It can be a great antidote to stress. It helps a person to unwind after a stressful day at work by concentrating on picking out weeds or pruning the plants is great.

11. Practicing Deep Breathing, Meditation, or Muscle Relaxation
Meditation, or if one prefers, conscious breathing. is an age-old remedy that can actually counter the body’s response to stressful stimuli. The body reacts in the same way for all stressors, real and imagined. In point of fact, the mind can play a significant role in turning off the stress response as well. All one needs do is begin to breathe, consciously.

12. Having Sex (a great stress reliever)
Brace yourself for some startling news: Having sex is relaxing. Participants in a recent study were less stressed out by public speaking or a math test if they’d just had sex than if they hadn’t. In addition to effectively taking your mind off of your worries for a decent period of time, sex provides some other stress management benefits such as mood enhancement, reduced blood pressure and heart rate, deep breathing, a physical workout plus a sense of touch and social support.

Some negative coping responses for stress, anxiety and depression are listed below.

1. Criticizing Yourself (negative self-talk)
Negative thoughts may be mild or mean, and when mean, it’s difficult not to believe them. When thoughts are mostly negative due to low self-esteem, feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness are experienced more often.

2. Driving Aggressively
Aggressive driving can be caused by your own mood, reactions, and ability to deal with stress on and off the road. Aggressive driving is triggered by anger…yours or another driver’s. Aggressive drivers are more likely to speed, make unsafe lane changes, ignore the right of way, and violate traffic signals.

3. Chewing Fingernails
Nail biting is generally described as a common stress-relieving habit. The habit of biting one’s fingernails occurs especially during periods of nervousness, stress or boredom.

4. Becoming Aggressive or Violent (hitting someone, throwing or kicking something)
Scientists have found biological evidence that stress and aggression feed off of each other, contributing to a �cycle of violence� that can be tragic.

5. Eating Disorders or Drinking Excessive Amounts of Coffee
When we encounter stress, we tend to seek things that are less stressful. A common theory is that eating disorders are (unhealthy) ways to regulate difficult emotions. These emotions include anxiety, sadness, loneliness, boredom, anger, shame, guilt, hopelessness, and more. The eating disorders themselves are self-destructive but yet offer the sufferer some perceived relief.

6. Smoking or Other Tobacco Use
If you smoke to reduce stress, you are only adding to your stress, according to psychological studies in the October issue of the American Psychological Association’s American Psychologist. Evidence shows that the apparent relaxant effect of smoking only reflects the reversal of the tension and irritability that develop during nicotine depletion. Far from acting as an aid for mood control, nicotine dependency seems to increase stress.

7. Consuming Excessive Amounts of Alcohol
Stress is considered a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of addiction to alcohol as well as to relapse. In addition, the younger someone starts drinking alcohol, the more likely he or she is to reach for a drink to relieve stress when older.

8. Yelling at Your spouse, Children, or Friends
Some people attemp to rid themselves of stress by yelling at others. Some yell at those closest to them. Other yellers randomly choose different victims for each stressful event. Although it may relieve the yeller, yelling causes a vicious ripple of stress in anybody within hearing distance.

9. Taking Recreational Drugs
Certain drugs, both recreational and medicinal, can lead to symptoms of anxiety due to either side effects or withdrawal from the drug. Such drugs include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cold remedies, decongestants, bronchodilators for asthma, tricyclic antidepressants, cocaine, amphetamines, diet pills, ADHD medications, and thyroid medications.

10. Avoiding Social Contact
Data from a new Swedish study shows strong new evidence that high levels of stress combined with a lack of close friends or family can significantly reduce life expectancy. The researchers propose that stress, if not buffered by emotionally reassuring relationships, may lower resistance to disease.

Think about your responses to see how you cope with stress and anxiety. What positive ways of coping can you choose instead of negative ones? Negative methods of coping have harmful side effects. By choosing positive ways to control stress and anxiety, you can avoid harmful side effects and improve your overall quality of life.

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