7 Tips to Manage Stress and Worry

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people.  In fact, 60% of U.S. adults feel stress and worry daily.  Stress is often thought of as bad for your health, however, not all stress is bad.  In fact, some stress is good.  You need some stress in your daily life because it motivates you to take care of the things you need to, like meeting your work deadlines, for example. 

Some stress also helps you not to feel bored or become depressed.  The right amount of acute stress keeps you going every day but chronic stress can cause anxiety and health problems, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.  This post is going to look at ways to help you manage stress so that you can stay within the healthy range of acute stress.

Here are 7 tips to help you manage stress and worry:

  1. Limit alcohol and caffeine.  Too much of either can exasperate anxiety and even trigger panic attacks.
  2. Get adequate sleep.  Experts always say you should eat balanced meals and exercise in order to have good health, which you should, but don’t forget about getting some good quality sleep, too!  Your body will need additional rest when stressed.
  3. Admit you don’t always have control.  Remember, there’s a lot that you can’t change in your life.  Make a list of what you can control to help keep things in perspective.
  4. Don’t set the bar too high.  Keep your expectations realistic and don’t aim for perfection.  Just do the best you can.  Sometimes you just need to do a good enough job. 
  5. Learn your stress patterns.  One way to combat chronic stress is to understand your triggers and learn about what causes you the most worry. 
  6. Learn to say no.  Taking on more than you can handle can leave you feeling overwhelmed as you try to juggle too many responsibilities.  Just say no. 
  7. Practice gratitude.  Acknowledge what’s working in your life.  You might be surprised that you have a lot to be grateful for which can help keep things in perspective.

If you find that self-care practices like the ones listed above don’t seem to relieve your stress then it’s a good idea to seek some help.  If excessive worry interferes with your ability to cope and function in life then talking to a therapist can help.  Professional counselors help to identify sources of your stress and they can teach you new coping tools. 

Christine Holmberg, MFT