How Can I Deal most Effectively with Stress?

Major events in our lives can bring on stress: events like new jobs, getting married or becoming a parent. Ongoing worries about finances or your children's future can cause stress. So can day-to-day irritations, like car repairs or being late for work.

Not all stress-provoking events have to be negative. How we approach these events greatly affects our physical, mental and social well-being. We can either welcome these events as challenges enriching our lives, or we can view them as "stressful", taking away from our enjoyment of life.

You can enhance your life by getting stress under control. You can use some or all of these approaches to help you cope better with stress in your life:

  • Balance your work and leisure time. Arrange your life so that you're not feeling guilty when you rest, and not "goofing off" when you should be working.
  • Set aside some time for laughter.
  • Learn to delegate tasks to other people. You don't have to do it all yourself.
  • Learn to use relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Expand your spiritual life.
  • Get plenty of exercise. If you have to, combine it with physical tasks that need to be done (gardening, house cleaning).
  • Learn how to manage your time. Set up priority lists.
  • Eat healthy foods. Alcohol, caffeine and fats make it harder to deal well with stress. Other foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains make it easier.
  • Get the rest and sleep your body needs.
  • Discuss your problems openly with friends, relatives or counsellors.
  • Get away once in a while. Take a complete break. Have some fun!
  • Know you don't need to 'win' every argument. Let up on being competitive.
  • Don't try to be perfect and don't expect others to be either.

For more information about stress and other related mental health issues visit the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) online.

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