Stress is something we all encounter everyday. Your stress, the stress of others around you impacting your life. Sometimes it all just seems too much. How do you cope? Where’s the relief?

Bring on the coping skills! The tools and techniques available you can use to identify the sources of your stress, acknowledge them, face them, and develop strategies to ease your way through them in a healthy, positive way.

As much as we hate to admit it, stress is part of life. There’s your internal stress which is brought on by the thoughts and behaviors that affect your emotions. And there’s external stress which is caused by events that you feel are outside of your control. Both types can manifest into experiencing negative emotions like fear, anger, anxiety or sadness. You may have physical reactions such as loss of sleep, loss of or increased appetite, or be prone to headaches. What’s different about them are the methods of positive coping skills and strategies used to minimize the individual stressors you are experiencing.

Emphasis on the positive because there are negative coping skills. Those quick fix soothing skills you use to avoid and distract from what is stressing you out. Maybe you spend an inordinate amount of time on social media or binge watching. Or lose yourself in detrimental activities like gambling, overspending or substance misuse. These are harmful methods of coping and even though it can feel good at the time they can develop into serious problems that get you more stressed out than you were in the first place.

The best strategy for resolving your stress is to face the issues head on so you can resolve and repair. Relieve yourself of those negative coping skills by choosing to adopt good, positive coping skills. There’s a wide range to choose from. Not all of them may resonate with you, but give them a try anyway. There’s sure to be few you can rely on to help you deal better with both the internal and external stressors that are troubling you.

Internal stress can flare up when you’re feeling nervous about the big presentation, have an exam coming up or don’t know what to do with your kids. It can also be when you’re struggling with thoughts and feelings about all the uncertainties in life. When you allow those thoughts and feelings to run rampant through your brain, all that succeeds in doing is increasing your stress. Managing your internal stress is all about self care. By placing your focus on good physical health, and supporting your emotional well being with the use of relaxation techniques, you can calm that inner dialogue down to a whisper.

Eating well, engaging in a consistent exercise program and getting a good night’s sleep all contribute to making you physically healthier. This results in you being stronger and better equipped to deal more proactively with what life throws at you. Incorporate brain boosting foods into your diet like fish that has omega-3, dark green leafy vegetables and berries. Try and stay away from anything made with processed sugar and caffeinated drinks which add extra stimulants into your system. And any exercise is good exercise so don’t be intimidated by engaging in a work-out routine. Consistency is key so choose a physical activity you enjoy doing on a regular schedule. Whether it’s cardio like running or pickleball or mind clearing like yoga or walking it all gets your body moving which releases stress and can help you sleep better.

Peace is what we seek and engaging in peace promoting activities will help to calm your nerves and replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. A great way to do that is setting an intention to write every day in a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a missive, just a few notes about the good things that happened to you and the good people you met throughout the course of your day will do. This simple activity will shift your focus so you have a more positive outlook.

Practice mindful meditation. Meditation stirs up a bunch of hesitation in a lot of people about expectations of demands you don’t believe your mind can meet. All mindfulness means is to stop for a minute when you’re stressed and focus on what you’re feeling in the moment without judgement. It’s a powerful tool you can use to gain a fresh perspective on your stressors. Being engaged in the moment with your feelings is a peaceful meditation.

External stress for most of us seems like a daily occurrence. Family issues, dealing with school or work, being overscheduled, it’s always something. When problems feel too big for you to tackle or you’re at a loss about how to make positive changes, that’s when you need to apply coping skills and strategies.

Start by identifying the sources of your stress. Make a list of everything that’s happening, all the unpleasant situations and actions of others that are affecting your life in a negative way. Put them in order from what you see as the most stressful to the least. Laying out what’s troubling you reveals a clear picture of what you have to deal with so you can devise actionable steps toward feeling better about each occurence.

When that’s done you can choose how to proceed. Some people like to tackle what they see as the hardest, biggest problem first to get it out of the way. Others start at the bottom as a way to knock more off their list at once. You may be surprised at all the smaller issues that can be easily resolved simply by letting them go.

Let’s say you start at the top with the most stress producing issue you have right now. For example, your neighbor plays loud music when you’re trying to work or sleep. What are some things you can do to remove that stressor from your life? One solution may be to knock on their door when the music is playing and ask them nicely to please keep it down or use headphones when they’re enjoying their music. Another is for you to use noise cancelling headphones when you’re working and a white noise machine when you’re sleeping. These are both viable options, and by laying it out and thinking it through you’ve used your coping skills to devise practical solutions for lowering your stress.

Easing external stressors can also be accomplished by practicing time management and setting boundaries. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of achieving a good work life balance, establish and set your priorities. Clarify with your workplace team what is and what is not professional time so time with your family isn’t interrupted by your work life. If you’re so busy with the demands of both work and family you have no time for yourself, rearrange your schedule so that each day includes Me Time. A time where you can do for you whatever it is that makes you feel good so you have a chance to relax and destress.

And as you continue on your stress-reduction journey, take the time to reevaluate the tools and techniques you’re using to assure they are still working effectively for you. You may find that they need some tweaking or you may need to cultivate new skills for changing &/or new situations.

Even when it seems like everything’s coming at you and completely out of control, take solace in knowing that there is always one thing you have control over: You. You may not be able to control what happens to you but you can control how you respond to it. Strive to stay in the present and know you have power to choose to react to stressful situations by utilizing positive coping skills.


Are you, someone you know or someone you work with stressed out? The Recovery Coach NY provides Behavioral Health Coaches who can help you develop coping skills. For more information and additional services, go to our website.

The Recovery Coach NY provides Individual and Family Coaching, Companions & Safe Transport, Intervention and emergency services for you and your loved ones. We have years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find the path to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.


You can reach out to Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach NY via:

Phone or text: 631-921-4085


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