I have a confession. I don’t handle stress very well. In fact, if I don’t do something about it before it becomes overwhelming, it won’t take long before anxiety kicks in. I have another confession. I sometimes don’t take the time to stop and actually do something about it before becoming overwhelmed.
There you have it: an actual therapist with years of education and training and years of experience, and much like many of the clients I see, I too experience an anxiety that intrudes upon my life when I’m stressed. It might seem strange that a therapist wouldn’t know how to handle stress very well, but the truth is that I do know how to handle stress. I can just never seem make time to actually handle it.
So what’s a human to do? That’s right. Human. That’s the thing. We all feel stress, maybe some more than others, but it’s human! It happens to everyone! Some people just handle, or cope, with it better (and more effectively) than others.
Here’s the thing, I know that if I would just stop and listen to my body, I could prevent, or at least better cope, with that anxiety that will soon take over my life when I’m feeling stressed. Here are 17 of the most effective coping skills that I’ve found to help me find some peace. Give them a try. You may find something that will help you too.
17 Spiritual Strategies for When You’re Stressed
First off, let me note that you don’t have to consider yourself to be a “spiritual” person just to be able to use these techniques. “Spiritual” strategies are simply skills that can affect a person on a more spiritual, mindful level. Satisfying the human need to feel worthwhile and connected (and at peace) improves a person’s core well-being. These strategies aren’t like ones that simply distract you; those are temporary fixes to use when you aren’t able to more effectively cope at that moment (such as when you need to concentrate on the test you’re taking at the time). Distraction isn’t very effective to help in the long-term because the moment the distraction is no longer present, the stress or anxiety generally returns. Spiritual strategies are more effective not only in the moment, but also provide peace and calm in the long-run.
So here they are:
- Practice mindfulness. (I can’t stress the value of this one enough!)
- Enjoy nature.
- Get involved in a worthy cause.
- Take a walk or go for a hike in the woods.
- Pray or meditate.
- Practice random acts of kindness. (This is especially helpful for me personally.)
- Practice gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal. At least once a day, write 3-5 things that you’re grateful for. (An alternative is to identify at least 3 positive things that happened that day.)
- Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs. (Research shows that music really does heal the soul!)
- Gaze at the clouds or stargaze.
- Go outside.
- Volunteer your time.
- Make a present for a friend or make a treat for your neighbor.
- Plant something. Garden.
- Start practicing yoga.
- Send someone flowers.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
I hope you’re able to find something on this list that helps you better manage your stress too! If you know of other strategies that help you cope with stress, please leave a comment so I can add them to my list!