Behavioral Strategies for Dealing with Stress

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  • 0:01 Controlling Stress
  • 0:37 Exercise
  • 1:35 Avoid Stress
  • 2:09 Talk It Out
  • 2:36 Put It into Perspective
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Everyone has varying levels of stress, but being able to handle that stress can really make a difference. In this lesson, we look at behavioral strategies for dealing with stress.

Controlling Stress

It is surely a crazy world that we're living in. Many of us are tethered to our jobs to the point that we check our e-mail when we're on vacation (myself included). We have family concerns, bills to pay, and a hundred other little stresses every day. How can we deal with this?

If you're thinking that this lesson is going to be some brand new way of ridding your life of all stress - a blanket term used to describe anything that pushes your body out of its comfort zone - then you're wrong. I don't have any novel way to make your life better. What I do have are a few tried and true methods that help deal with and avoid stress in the first place.

Exercise

Practically every guide on reducing stress you'll find says to exercise. In fact, I guarantee that at least some of you are rolling your eyes - after all, what could be more stressful than going to the gym and realizing that you're not the most fit person in the world? However, none of that matters. To get the stress relief benefits of exercising, you don't even have to leave your house. Do some light yoga or even dance along to your favorite song. Movement releases endorphins, which make you feel better.

Meditation is also a great technique to reduce stress. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, meditation doesn't have to be about trying to find inner knowledge, although that is itself a worthy goal. Instead, think of meditation as organizing your brain. Sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes and just let your mind wander. Anytime you realize your mind has wandered off onto something that stresses you out, tell your brain to let it go and go back to letting your mind wander. It's easier said than done but can really help you let go of stress.

Avoid Stress

Speaking of letting go of stress, it goes without saying that you should avoid high-stress situations. If your job is giving you a great deal of stress, try to figure out what is causing it and address it. If you're constantly late, leave the house earlier. If you're overwhelmed, find a way to ask for help.

The same can also be said about your social life. If you feel that you don't have any 'me' time because you're being pulled in a thousand different directions by your friends, just say no. You're not rejecting them, you're just saying that you need some time for your own sanity. If they truly care for you, they'll appreciate that you need that time.

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