There are helpful and unhelpful ways to manage stress. You might have already tried a few things to help cope with your stress. Often we use strategies that have previously worked for us and sometimes we pick up coping styles from our family and friends.
There are some helpful ways to manage stress, and some unhelpful ways to manage stress that might cause more harm than good.
Helpful ways to manage stress
Have a think about what calms you down or makes you happy. Usually the basic things, like looking after yourself, are overlooked when it comes to managing stress. This could mean:
- taking a break from what is stressing you out
- doing something relaxing like listening to your favourite music, playing with your pet, hanging out with friends, taking a bath, or watching movies or television shows
- trying out new hobbies or returning to the ones you used to enjoy. This could mean making art or music, dancing, singing or gaming
- dressing up or wearing make-up
- writing blogs or making vlogs
- exercising can help to reduce stress, as it releases ‘endorphins’, the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ painkiller.
If possible, try to figure out what is causing your stress. This might be one big thing that’s happened or is yet to happen or perhaps a combination of a few small things. Some are easier to spot than others.
Talking to someone you trust can be very effective in helping you manage stress. Some young people find hugs to be a very good stress reliever, though they aren’t for everyone! Problems often feel too big to handle on your own, but having another
person on your side can help you to share the burden. You might be able to even work out a way to tackle the stressful situation together.
Unhelpful ways to manage stress
Sometimes it can feel a lot easier to use unhelpful coping mechanisms than helpful ones. Some unhelpful ways to manage stress include:
- smoking cigarettes, taking illegal drugs or drinking alcohol
- excessive caffeine use (through energy drinks, soft drinks or coffee/tea
- getting into fights
- self-harming behaviours, like hurting yourself or using food to manage distressing feelings.
These things might reduce stress in the short term but often do more harm than good in the long run. Cigarettes, alcohol and drugs are addictive, which might end up causing you and your loved ones additional stress in the future.
that you are still a young person and the adults around you have a responsibility to help you through stressful times. They can help you learn how to manage your time better, think more positively and perhaps use self-help books or online resources
with you to help manage stress. Some of these resources have a focus on breathing techniques and challenging negative thoughts.