Now let’s talk some science, or at least let’s consider what coping methods seem to be the most effective.
The following come from Gazzaniga
Seligman’s positive psychology movement has shown that positive outlooks on life (laughing often trying to see the bright side etc.) have health benefits that spread through all aspects of life. A happy, or at least positive individual is more likely to thrive in most environments and handle stress.
Another aspect in stress reduction is having a large or at least consistent social support system. Even for introverts knowing and having social support brings a great sense of relief when facing stress. Nothing feels better than knowing you have a friend who will help you move or a professor happy to explain a problem or a boss who wants you to wear his compression belt when your back hurts.
A sense that you can trust others is a sign of good mental and physical health. in the United States there is a direct correlation between states who’s citizens claim most people can’t be trusted and the percentage of people reporting fair or poor health. This actually makes quite a bit of sense, when you can’t trust your neighbor you are constantly on edge when at home- the most relaxing place you go. That constant fight- or flight feeling, even if minor, will take its toll on your health.
Meditate or practice relaxation techniques. A quick youtube search will show you a million types of meditation and relaxation techniques. I personally do not actively meditate, but I recently found out that my reactions to stressful situations are actually a type of meditation I have adapted to calm my nerves. Use it- it works.
Eat more carbohydrates. Depressed individuals have low serotonin levels. Carbohydrates increase serotonin levels and actually do make you feel good. Throw out any diet that limits your carbs- that diet is designed to make you miserable and to cause you to gain weight.
Have safe, consensual, regular sex that is satisfying for you and your partner. I don’t need to explain this one. It’s good for you. Do it.
Stay away from drugs that you don’t need. Alcohol tends to make things worse, and smoking ruins everything.
Stay active, your mind and body are connected- you keep one happy, the other will be happy too. You keep both happy, well things will just keep getting better.
Try new hobbies at every opportunity. There is so much more to life than work and money. Do those things you’ve always wanted to do- write a journal or take a hike! It’s all out there and can make your life so fulfilling.
There are a ton of other ways to reduce stress. If you’d like more let me know I can gather some for a later post.