Stress Management: Ways to Cope

Every year on October 10, World Mental Health Day is observed with the goal of raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for overall mental well-being.

Practicing stress management techniques that help you process and cope with stress is a key way to maintain mental health. Coping is a natural process everyone does throughout their lives and some methods are more helpful than others. This article offers questions you can ask yourself and helpful coping strategies to manage stress.

How do you look at stress?
One important step in managing stress is to be aware of how you look at the stressful situation. People who cope well with stress usually have a positive outlook on life. They see a situation as a challenge instead of a problem. They see the glass as half full instead of half empty. Beliefs about the situation are very important and may actually have more of an impact on stress than the stressor event. Adults who are optimistic have higher levels of mental and physical health than those who are more negative.

If you can change your negative thoughts into positive ones, you will find it easier to manage stress. One easy way to do this is to reframe the situation. When you do this, you look at things in a different, more positive light. This technique often helps a person feel better.

Are you in control of your stress?
Do you feel you can handle stress? People who are able to overcome stress have a sense of personal control. They feel independent and in charge of their lives.

People who feel in control believe they can handle tough situations. They think of themselves as problem-solvers and take steps to handle difficulties. This prevents problems from becoming worse.

Think Positive. Say to yourself:
• “I can do it.”
• “I’ve done this before; I know I can do it again.”
• “It only lasts a little while. This will be over soon.”
• “We can work this out.”
• “I’ll feel great when this is over!”
• “This problem is not going to get me down.”
• “I can get help if I need it.”

It is also important to know when you can’t control a situation. This helps you avoid getting more frustrated and tense. What to do when a solution is out of reach? Change your outlook by “letting go” rather than forcing a solution. Accept that this may not be something you can change.

Behavioral Health Systems is the parent company of Safety First. BHS offers Mental Health and Substance Abuse benefits to employers along with Employee Assistance Programs.