What’s your coping quotient?
When you experience overwhelming changes that knock you out of your routine, a multitude of frustrations that block your goals, infuriating conflicts that test your patience and internal pressures that make you choke, you have experienced what psychologist call STRESS.
How do you cope with stress? One woman said, “chocolate, shopping, and wine therapy.”
It’s unfortunate but in excess these strategies can be unhealthy. We call it “indulging.” In moderation they are self soothing strategies but in excess they cause obesity, debt, and addiction.
Here are some top healthy strategies to cope with stress.
1. Have a supportive family environment.
When you genuinely feel connected, unconditionally loved, heard, encouraged, and appreciated then you have a safe place to fall and recharge. Remember just because you have a family doesn’t automatically create a supportive environment. If you can’t have a supportive biological family be sure and create a family of friends, coworkers, church, and community.
* Give yourself 10 points if you have a supportive family.
2. Bursts of physical activity for 30 minutes.
Exercise and physical activity are still one of the best ways to decrease stress. You increase cardio, deep breathing, and release tension in your muscles.
* Give yourself 5 points for each 30 minute’s of 30 minute burst of physical activity you get in an average week.
3. Stay at your ideal weight.
If you are more than five pounds over your ideal weight for your height and frame you are adding stress physically, mentally, and emotionally.
* Give yourself 15 points if you are within your ideal weight of 5 pounds.
4. Consistent deep relaxation.
Being still and doing yoga, meditation, prayer and deep breathing have been shown through research to lower stress.
* Give yourself 15 points if you engage in some form of deep relaxation at least 3 times per week.
5. Eating nutritionally balanced meals each day.
Starting with a healthy breakfast, eating low fat, a variety of food groups, proper amounts strengthen the immune system, raises energy, and decreases stress.
* Give yourself 5 points for each nutritionally balanced meal you eat each day of the week.
6. Drink alcohol in moderation.
Over use of alcohol increases depression, slows metabolism, inhibits sound sleep, and is expensive.
* Subtract 5 points for each day that you drink more than two drinks.
7. Watch television wisely.
(Also applies to surfing the Internet and playing on technology.) Too much TV wastes time, increases sedentary behavior, and creates isolation therefore leading to more stress.
* Subtract 5 points if you watch more than 10 hours of TV per week.
8. Give yourself something you enjoy.
This sounds contradictory yet there is great value in nurturing yourself with something weekly that you truly enjoy.
* Give yourself 5 points if you do something weekly that you enjoy that is just for you.
9. Relax in your favorite room or place at home.
Having a special room or safe haven in your home reduces stress.
* Give yourself 10 points if you have a special place at home you truly relax.
10. Practice time management daily.
Planning your days and weeks, having a scheduling system, staying focused on your priorities and continuing to improve time management add productivity and decrease stress.
* Give yourself 10 points if you practice time management techniques in your daily life.
11. Eliminate smoking cigarettes (or weed).
Smoking has a short term positive effect of giving stimulation or euphoria but long term creates health problems that create more stress.
* Subtract 10 points if you smoke less than one pack per day. Subtract 10 more points for each additional pack you smoke a day.
12. Eliminate caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine like nicotine has short term benefits and long term consequences. Drinking more water helps your body and mind cope with stress.
* Subtract 5 points for each days you drank 2 cups or more of a caffeinated drink.
13. Separate work and home time.
Bringing work home and taking home to work both increase stress.
* Subtract 5 points for each evening of an average week that you bring work home or 5 points for taking your personal problems to work.
14. Eliminate and decrease medication and chemicals.
Taking sleep medication, chemicals, or any medication increases side effects and potential stress.
* Subtract 10 points for each evening you take any form of medication or chemical substance to help you sleep or calm yourself down.
Add up your scores.
20 and below: Ball of stress!
21-40: Stressing sometimes
41-60: Holding it together
61 and above: You’re phenomenal!