The world is a stressful place, and it’s not always possible to escape it. Whether we like it or not, stress—while unpleasant—is an inevitable part of our lives. We can’t control how it looks or feels, so we must learn how to deal with it. Many of us already have some strategies on hand that we use to cope with our experiences of stress, but they’re not always the most helpful to us. Yelling at a partner to dispel the pent-up tension? Forcing optimism in the face of trying times? All of these examples, including zoning out on your phone, pushing those feelings of discomfort to the depths of your psyche, or using substances to push away your present reality are ultimately going to be unhelpful to you. There is always a chance that we will encounter stress or anxiety, be it at work, school, or home. So it’s time to learn some coping tools in that will actually help you, rather than contribute to the cyclical pattern that’s already proving to be too much. San Diego based therapist, Jordan Zipkin is taking new clients for Stress Management Therapy, and offers sessions online throughout California, Oregon, and Florida.
Why bother with stress management?
Stress can adversely affect our health if it gets out of control, which is why learning how to cope with stress and anxiety is essential. Some conventional stress relievers for adults, such as meditation, running, or listening to a calming playlist, might not be effective for everyone. If you haven’t had much luck with these tips, consider some alternative, more creative coping skills. Keep reading for insight into the mechanism of stress and some valuable strategies that will help you get on track; plus, most of them you can accomplish without too much effort!
Am I Too Stressed?
In a culture that glorifies hard work and “the grind,” we may not be wholly in tune with what is normal stress and what may become a problem. People around us may tell us we’re stressed or overworked, but we don’t believe them. Instead, we continue to push forward out of necessity or with the promise that the more we do today, the better tomorrow will be (even though chances are you will be just as stressed tomorrow). Sometimes, you may not immediately think stress is to blame for your headaches, insomnia, or productivity issues. But, unfortunately, if you don’t admit to or deal with your stress until it’s too late, you can hurt yourself mentally, physically, and behaviorally.
The first symptoms of stress may include:
- Constant or uncontrollable racing thoughts
- Feeling sweatier than usual
- Not getting enough sleep
- Achy muscles
- Heartburn or digestive discomfort
- An existing mental or physical health problem gets exacerbated
- Biting your nails, picking at your skin, or itching excessively
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s possible that you’re experiencing stress. It’s important to note that stress can also manifest itself in different ways for different people, and you may experience symptoms that are not listed here.
What are the Consequences of Too Much Stress?
Chronic stress, especially if left unchecked, puts us at a significantly higher risk for high blood pressure, strokes, depression, weight gain, obesity, memory loss, diabetes, and premature death. First and foremost, the first step to reducing stress is knowing what it is and how it manifests in our bodies. The second step is recognizing, listening, and accepting your body’s warning signs. Once we have identified what alternative stress reduction methods will be most effective for us, the last step is to begin implementing them.
Stress Relievers for Adults
Stress-relieving activities for adults should be hassle-free, simple, and pleasurable. Be careful not to take on anything stressful or something that will take a long time to accomplish. This will likely increase your stress level. If you are having a challenging time thinking of activities, imagine your life before marriage, work, school, or having children. What did you enjoy doing in your free time? The past may be a valuable place to pick up forgotten hobbies or to remember old interests. Keep your body and mind healthy with these fun and engaging activities. Keep in mind that there are many ways to deal with stress, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, some unique ways to manage stress include:
- Taking a “digital detox”: This can involve disconnecting from technology for a set period of time each day or each week. This can help reduce the constant bombardment of information and interruptions that can contribute to stress.
- Engaging in a creative hobby: Activities like painting, drawing, writing, or playing music can be a great way to express yourself and take your mind off of stressors.
- Practicing progressive muscle relaxation: This involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body to help release tension and reduce feelings of stress.
- Spending time in nature: Being outside and surrounded by greenery can help to lower stress levels and improve overall well-being.
- Practicing self-compassion: Instead of being hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned, try to be kind and understanding towards yourself.
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help to make sense of what is causing stress and can also serve as a form of release.
- Mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation or even mindful breathing can help to focus the mind and recenter oneself during times of stress.
- Laughter therapy: Sometimes humor can serve as a powerful stress reliever. Try to find things in your day that make you laugh or seek out activities such as stand-up comedy, comedy videos or cartoon series.
Are There Any Manly Ways to Cope with Stress and Anxiety?
It’s important to recognize that stress is a universal experience that affects people of all genders, and there is no one “right” way to deal with it. That being said, some men may prefer stress-management techniques that align with traditional ideas of masculinity. Here are a few examples of stress-management techniques that some men may find effective:
- Physical activity: Engaging in activities such as weightlifting, martial arts, or team sports can be a great way to relieve stress and improve overall fitness.
- Problem-solving: Some men may find it helpful to tackle stressors head-on by identifying the problem and coming up with a plan of action to solve it.
- Adventure activities: Activities such as rock climbing, bungee jumping, white water rafting etc. that push the limits of what one can do and give an adrenaline rush can help some men to relieve stress.
- DIY projects: Some men may find satisfaction in working with their hands, and taking on a home improvement or other DIY project can be a great way to distract from stressors and feel accomplished.
- Talking it out: Some men may prefer to deal with stress by talking to their friends or family members about their concerns, or seeking out the help of a stress management therapist or counselor.
It’s important to note that these are general examples and there’s no hard rule on what ways of dealing with stress are manly or not. Everyone is different and have different preferences. The most important thing is that you find stress management techniques that work for you and that you’re comfortable with.
Innovative and Unique Ways to Cope with Stress in Under 5 Minutes
There’s nothing better than the weekends for total relaxation, leisure, and filling up your schedule with many of the activities listed above, but not everyone can wait until then to deal with the stress thats piling up. When possible, taking time off from work, family, and friends by instituting good boundaries will help carve out time for stress management. Beyond that, you can keep your stress levels low throughout the week by doing fun and easy-to-do activities on your way to work, at work, on your lunch break, or after work.
- Eat crunchy snacks to divert your attention and reduce the built-up tension in your jaw. Some healthy options include carrots, celery, apples, frozen grapes, almonds, etc.
- Seek out the affection of animals. Consider hugging your pet, playing with them, and letting them love you back! Alternatively, you can pet-sit, volunteer at an animal shelter, or, if you’re lucky. enough to have one near you, grab a drink and a snack at your local cat café
- Have all sorts of coloring books on standby! No, this is not just for girls, and don’t worry; they have adult ones, too! Doodling also works wonders.
- Take your phone or camera with you and start snapping pictures whenever something grabs your attention; get creative with angles, textures, people, and shapes.
- Engage with something tactile. Play or sculpt with clay, kinetic sand, stress relief putty, or bubble wrap. If you don’t have any of that on hand, use an ice cube to bring attention to your fingers and the sensation of frozen and melting liquid.
- Let yourself daydream, outside or inside, for a mental break.
Stress Management Therapy with San Diego Based Clinician, Jordan Zipkin
Despite our best efforts, life’s stresses can sometimes be too intense to handle by ourselves or with the mindless hobbies we enjoy. If your stress levels haven’t changed, or if you notice they are getting worse and more severe over time, you might consider getting help. Helping you learn how to cope with stress and anxiety is our specialty at Stress Solutions. We are ready to collaborate with you to find and provide the stress reliever tools you need to eliminate the root cause of your stress and live the life you want. We offer various therapeutic services, including stress therapy, anxiety therapy, couples therapy, individual therapy, and therapy for men. If you have questions or would like to discuss what options may be most appropriate for you or schedule an appointment, please call (619)-881-0593 or reach us on our website.