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Dealing with Stress

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So, what do we do to address this normal response to any threats to our well-being; that, can eventually, negatively impact our well-being, when they become chronic?

Good question.

We cope.

If that doesn't sound easy, that is because it isn't. Anything, that goes against our evolution/natural state, is not easy, but can be beneficial.

We live in a society with growing acceptance of prosocial emotional management. Meaning, our cultural is recognizing that the attitude of minimizing emotions, mental health, impact of daily and, chronic stress is leading to SERIOUS repurcussions.

Consequences that we, as a society, as less and less willing to accept.

Leading to more people having empathy for themselves and others (hopefully).

Adequate self-care helps us to manage long-term stress; while healthy coping skills help us manage stress in the moment.

Examples of self-care:

Going outside; walks, hikes, swimming, etc;

General exercise; stretching, running, lifting weights

Movement; music, dance, yoga, tai-chi,

Relaxing activities; bathes, spa-treatments, rest, reading

Basic needs; bathing, eating, sleeping, doctor and dental care

Most important is meeting one's basic needs. No amount of coping skills or self-care will matter, if someone has not had enough sleep or eaten all day.

Your world is likely to not end if you make sure you eat several times a day, go for a walk, get 7-9 hours of sleep, and have adequate hygiene. But, it will if you do not ever make time for these things.

If, doing anything for yourself, especially basic needs is a barrier to adequate self-care. One of the first things would be looking at the reason. In the end "Do you believe you are worth it?"

I think everyone is worth it. Yes, even you. We are all worth it. If we can not be worth it to ourselves, how will we ever feel worth any positive treatment from someone else? The answer; Never. We will doubt, and that hurts our relationships.

Yes, it is true. The quality of our self-treatment, influences how others treat us. Loving yourself impacts every aspect of our life. If, you want a better life, focus on the one thing you can control; YOU!

Examples of safe coping skills:

BREATHING, BREATHING, BREATHING

Counting til ten or twent or until you feel calm                   Stay safe

Taking a step back/a time-out                                            Refer to your crisis/safety plan

Journaling                                                                         Call your sponsor

Tapping--Meridian points                                                  Review your options

Venting to someone safe                                                    Take action

Positive affirmations/self-talk                                           Crying

Tolerate temporary discomfort                                          Trust yourself

Grounding techniques                                                       Recognize unhealthy coping skills

Learning to manage stress takes time, try to be patient.

To start with I want to give some information about STRESS...

Stress; is normal and a natural response to stimuli (events) in one's environment. Our response to stress, is meant to keep us safe. That is, to say, when we experience a threat to our safety. I typically give the example of sabertooth tiger chasing after us.

Our stress response, evolved during a time when humans did not have the chronic stress of today. We are not built for it. Many would not trade the comforts of today (and the chronic stress) for the acute/short-term stress of being hunted. If we got away, our stress response would fade away, returning us to a calmer state (baseline).

While our stress response (increased heart rate, rapid breath, decreased digestion, etc) is very helpful in a chase, it is not helpful with stressors that occur daily or multiple times a day. This is a HUGE contributing factor to our overall, mental and medical health, crisis.

To explain further...our stress response gets turned on whenever we experience something that "threatens" us, in anyway. Especially, anything that threatens our survival. For example, living in poverty, malnutrition, limited access to resources, untreated illness, and etc, lead to severe health repurcussions. Those living in these condition have a stress response that is "constantly" activiated.

This contributes to heart disease, depression & anxiety, headaches, inflamatory issues, gastrointestional proglems, and so on. Even those, not living in these conditions can have a stress response that is activated extensively.

Your stress response does not know the difference between a "real" threat to your survival and a "perceived" threat. In addition, nowadays threats to our survival are not limited to physical threats. It can include social, academic, career-based, and financial threats.

So, first of all try to not feel shame for feeling stress. Just because you feel stressed about something and somebody else isn't doesn't mean anything is "wrong" with you. Simply makes you different than that person. More than likely, they have gotten stressed about something that would roll off your back.

If, you feel as if 'everything' stresses you out...1): others feel that same way; 2): I would encourage you to write down every time you get stressed (and rate the level of stress 1-10, 10 being the worst ever). Likely, you would realize that you don't get as stressed as you thought and your degree of stress is not as high as you though.

If I am incorrect, which is possible, professional guidance is recommened. Even if, your stress is not debiliating, but are interested in some support, that is available.