How to Cope With Stress: 10 Coping Strategies

Must-have skills to maintain mental and physical health

- | 68 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Health & Wellness

Man wanting to know the ways to cope with stress

In the present times, stress is one of the major causes of mental and physical illnesses. Thus, coping with stress is essential to remain healthy. But how to cope with stress? Some people resort to bad ways of dealing with stress and harm themselves. So, here is a brief explanation of what stress is, how it happens, and the stress coping strategies that you can use to be stress-free and happy. ~ Ed.


Stress is no stranger to us. Everybody has met and experienced it. It lives in our homes, workplaces, and even follows us wherever we go, in some form or the other.

Thus, we should know how to cope with stress at home, school, or work – at all the times.

But do we really understand stress. Well firstly, do we know what stress is and what are its causes?

I’ve written in detail about stress in one of my earlier posts, and I mentioned its causes too.

You know that we cannot help ourselves get rid of bad stress unless we know the right ways to cope with it.

I say bad stress because there is also something called good stress. The bad stress impedes our progress and causes problems.

Whereas, the good stress, in fact, helps propel us further and pushes us to work harder.

Once you know why stress develops and what its stimulating factors are, it becomes easy to develop a strategy and employ techniques to handle it.

The efficacy of any stress coping strategy would depend on your understanding of stress.

Before I tell you the ways to cope with stress, I’d like to ask if you ever considered why you get stressed.

The answer to this question may liberate you from stress forever, no matter where you are and what you do.

Why You Can’t Get Rid of Stress

You get stressed because you choose to get stressed.

This is ridiculous, you might say.

You’re right. Who would believe that stress is a choice that we make?

And, why in the world would we choose stress? Well, it is because we do not realize that we’re doing that. It happens naturally. Choosing stress is easy, and the other way around is a hard task.

By default, most of us would take the easy route, the path of minimum efforts.

We’re are in stress at times because we don’t do something that we should do, just because either we’re lazy or we don’t have faith in ourselves.

Like when you don’t complete your task on time, and the deadline approaches near, stress envelops you.

If you did your task or carried your responsibility as it should be, then you would not be stressed.

Choosing not to get stressed is like swimming against the tide. Initially, it takes efforts because you’re used to going with the flow of your learned behavior.

So we need to do a bit of unlearning and re-learn to be stress-free.

Learning to Cope with Stress

Stressors are everywhere. Sometimes they are real and are difficult to change. But mostly, they are imaginary or self-perceived which can be eliminated with reasoning.

The responses of people, events, and situations may not be in your control, but you can be in total control of the responses you make.

Every moment offers you a choice – to choose between being stressed and not being stressed. The choice you make at that moment depends on your mental and physical state.

You have a choice to not to react to things that cause stress, and thus remain stress-free. You have a choice to either avoid the stressors or adapt yourself to it.

And you may have heard about some people who’re as cool as a cucumber even in situations surrounded by stimuli capable of producing stress.

Besides other coping factors, they also choose not to respond to these trigger events of negative stress. They make a positive choice.

If you keep your mind positive, have positive thoughts, and keep a positive attitude, it will be very difficult for stress to affect you.

Yes, it’s easy to say and difficult to practice. But it’s not impossible. It takes time and practice to develop such a frame of mind.

But since we’re all creatures of habit, we can even make being positive a habit without any fuss.

We can’t get rid of stress until we stop making a choice to get stressed.

a woman doing exercise to cope with stress

10 Ways to Cope with Stress

Of course, some stresses are natural. Like physical stress which is produced by the body as a warning or coping mechanism. And then there is the fight-or-flight response.

But mostly it’s the mental stress that disturbs us due to problems in interpersonal relations, in work-related or other situations. And you can control that by being aware of the choices you make.

Here are a few simple ways to cope with stress by making the right choices:

Don’t react immediately

Whenever you face a disturbing situation, try not to react instantly. Give a pause to your impulse to react. Sometimes instant reactions are bad and make you lose control of yourself.

When you lose control, tense moments can make you stressed, angry and also violent at times. If you’re able to control your first reaction, things don’t get that far.

Stress and anger are closely related. Choosing not to react is one of the basic keys to stop violence and cope with stress.

Avoid the situation

Let those moments of stress pass by – don’t associate yourself with them. Act like an observer, or give yourself a break.

Observe what is happening with no judgment and no reaction. Imagine you’re not there – yet you’re fully aware of what’s happening.

It’s just that you’re not getting involved, so your body and mind don’t react. Your ego too is not hurt so you remain at peace.

It is not running away from the situation. Instead, it is about letting the initial inciting moments to pass by.

As a result, you can prepare yourself to deal with the situation by remaining fresh and unaffected by the stressor.

Focus on your breathing

During the tense moments, try to observe your breathing with all your attention.

Your breathing gets heavy and fast when you’re angry or stressed. Try to reset it in its normal mode by consciously observing it. It will also help you calm your mind.

Your neurons and hormones will send a message all over the body and mind to retract from the state of emergency and return to the state of normalcy.

You’ll feel in better control of yourself and will be able to cope with stress.

Be realistic and practical

Remember what’s happened cannot be undone. There’s no use crying over spilt milk.

At times getting too emotional aggravates the situation. If you’re facing a permanent loss and nothing can be done about it, make yourself understand the fact.

Try to assess the situation intelligently. Think of other logical options to resolve the problem or conflict. Set realistic goals, have priorities and be focused.

Change your perspective. You can only do all that if you remain cool and your mind is calm, so go back to point #1 and learn to be calm.

This way of coping with stress seems to be like a Zen approach, but you too can do it.

Change and move on

Don’t get stuck in the situation. Try to change it. But if you can’t change the situation, then change yourself, your position, or your reactions.

Look at what you’ve left with you – the resources at hand. Make the best use of them. It’s better to do something than sit idle.

If you’re depressed, you get passive. You get into a state of inertia where you find it difficult to move or change. Force yourself to move on and do something positive.

To cope with stress, you need to be proactive and take action.

Make use of your time

Don’t think much; rather act without wasting any time. Don’t procrastinate. This is one of the best stress coping strategies.

When you’re negative, you waste those precious moments that have the potential to change the course of your life.

Think logically – does unnecessary and excessive worrying or being tensed help in any way? Are you making good use of that time?

Don’t think it’s too late – it’s never too late. You can have a new beginning anytime.

Do the opposite

Stress makes you passive and negative. Try doing just the opposite. Be active and positive. If you get impatient, then cool yourself down. If worries try to make you turbulent, try to be calm.

Stress is the result of a negative mental state. Dealing with stress requires that every moment you remind yourself to be positive.

Take it easy

You’ve to learn ways to pull yourself out of the stress-hole and learn to cope with the stress.

One way is to smile and have a sense of humour. Laugh away your tensions. It sends a positive, comforting message to your body, brain and mind. It makes you feel better and in control of yourself.

The best coping mechanisms for stress is to make your life simple and take it easy – slow down the pace of your life if required.

Have faith

Have confidence in yourself. Love your life and yourself. Believe and have faith in yourself.

You can do what you want if you want to. You’ve great power within yourself that can make you win over all problems of life.

No problem is big enough to surrender yourself before it. Remind yourself of the problems you faced some time ago – don’t they seem so insignificant now?

But in those moments, the problems seemed like the formidable Gibraltar rock! Yet you overcame that. You can do the same in any stressful situation.

Never lose heart

The best stress coping strategy is to get out of your depression blues and get moving. Keep trying to look for solutions and opportunities.

Once you’re calm and controlled, you can make better choices to check out the various ways and options to deal with stress.

Choose not to succumb to pressure. Be strong. Take control of the situation.

Use positive self-affirmations.  Remind yourself how capable and powerful you are. This is just another problem in life like many others which have gone by, and this too shall pass.

Healthy Lifestyle Helps Coping with Stress

Your lifestyle is the way of living that is based on your routine, habit, interest, and attitude. You need to analyze if you have a healthy lifestyle.

Like I said earlier, the choices we make depend on our mental and physical state – it depends on our lifestyle too.

Stress is a choice, and if you have an unhealthy lifestyle, there are more chances of you choosing stress by way of things you do.

A healthy lifestyle includes taking care of your body and mind. You can do this by the following ways –

  • Regularly exercise or engaging in activities like walking, cycling, or even playing a sport.
  • Eat healthy food and a balanced diet. Lack of proper nutrition can set adverse chemical reactions in your body.
  • Relax and rest, which are equally necessary.
  • Get enough sleep and take a break.
  • Develop a hobby and have a creative pastime.
  • Have fun and enjoy life.
  • Connect with others and have friends or family members to share your feelings.
  • Keep away from taking drugs – they never help. Also, avoid bad addictions like smoking and drinking alcohol – they not only cause physical harm but can increase your stress considerably.


Tension eats up your energy; it cracks your defense shield and makes you weak and venerable.

Be calm. Save your energy. Be in the moment.

When you’re in the moment, you’re fully in the present and aware. Being mindful doesn’t leave you any option to worry.

The best way to cope with stress is to train and control your mind. Keep your mind clear of disturbing thoughts. Manage your stress by managing your thoughts and emotions.

Over to you

Do you think stress is a choice? Do you think it is possible to remain stress-free? What measures do you take to cope with stress? Share your thoughts and experiences on how to cope with stress.

Show Comments

68 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Lorraine Reguly

    2018-02-23 at 10:48 am

    Loving your life is easier said than done.
    I know this because I spent the first 41 years of my life being miserable. Of course, I suffered a lot during the years from 15-41 (I was raped as a teenager).

    It’s only been during the last few years that I have been happy. I started blogging in 2013, I opened my freelancing writing and editing business in 2014, and then I became an author.

    I have been helping others for years, and am still helping them. 🙂
    But it’s been a rough road.
    Finally, however, I’m on the right path, and it’s the path of happiness. 🙂

    I don’t get stressed out as much as I used to. When I do, I use some of the tips you mentioned in this post. I read it as a reminder of what to do the next time I get anxious about something.

    Those times are fewer and further between nowadays, though, as I am finally happy for the first time in my life.

    Keep helping others and I’ll do the same!


  2. Rachit Aggarwal

    2013-11-18 at 6:42 pm

    Yes, i believe stress is definitely a choice but it is very difficult to remain stress free in this competitive world specially if you work in Metros.

    However, my way to beat the stress is start your day early and i have noticed that whenever i start my day early, i quickly complete all the pending things and got lot of time and thus prepared to get work and thus stress free. I think waking up early is a good way but it is mot always possible due to erratic work hours. Drinking a lot of water and once in a while check your breathing also works wonder. Besides, i open 1 spiritual blog on my system in the morning and keep it open whole day and once in a while during less work or while relaxing, i read 1 or 2 articles and that helped me to remain stress free.

    Good article. Truly enjoyed reading this.

  3. Shan

    2013-11-06 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Harleena

    Good post with some excellent tips. Not sure I agree that we can choose not to be stressed. We all have a certain amount of stress – some good, some bad. Good stress is the sort that makes us hurry across a busy road when we see a car hurtling towards us. Bad stress is the stuff we need to avoid because, long-term, it’s known to cause serious health problems.

    When I feel stressed, I take myself out of the situation and meditate 2-3 times a day. Works for me.


  4. Alex Goldstein

    2013-05-28 at 6:51 pm

    There are some people who raise pets who find it comforting and destressing to associate with them during tough times.

  5. Oscar

    2013-05-08 at 3:52 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I am not quite conversant with this topic, but I know we all do have stress knowingly or unknowingly in or daily activities, and we definitely need to find ways to cope with it. I really love the 10 tips you gave out here. One other I learnt from this article is that there is Good and Bad stress, though for now I don’t know their distinct explanations, but can with common reasoning differentiate them both.

    Thanks for this bomb shell article, I’m glad I came across a blogger like you.

  6. Chloe Wallace

    2013-04-30 at 11:09 am

    Thank you for the tips and advice. During my college, whenever I get stressed out because of all the deadlines, I easily get mad. But after some advice from my friends, i have learned to cope up and handle stress the right way.

  7. anis

    2013-04-20 at 5:00 am

    Hi Harleena this is another cool post you shared with us , well to deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally . The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking 😉

  8. Nishant Srivastava

    2013-03-19 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks your post is really helpful, I will try your methods to reduce stress, I know these things will work for me..

  9. Brent Oh

    2013-02-16 at 8:20 am

    . . Thank you. I enjoyed your post.
    . . Our mind will be free if we empty the desire of doing something and of not doing something.
    . . Our body will be sincere if we fill something necessary for our life.
    . . Mind enjoys emptying something. Body enjoys filling something.
    Then there is no reason for us to get a stress.
    . . ♡ MuFillyou 212

  10. Anita

    2013-02-06 at 8:55 am

    That was a great read, Harleena! Stress can affect one’s health and personality towards the other. Never losing your heart and a strong faith are the most important ways to overcome stress. Somehow knowing that there are people around you who are willing to lend a hand and understand what you’re going through is such a great relief. You know when I\’m stress, chocolate is one of my best friends.

  11. Donna Merrill

    2013-01-27 at 8:47 am


    This is a wonderful subject you have chose. Stress is the leading cause of so many illnesses and negative lifestyle.

    I used to be very stressed when I was younger, but I didn’t have the tools to know how to deal with it. It was so uncomfortable to live that kind of life. But as I became an adult, I went out and got help. Yes, therapy helped me so much because I had PTSD. Back in those days they didn’t know what it was.

    Now, that I’ve learned so many ways to deal with stress, it is easy for me. The other week, when I was bombarded with everything going wrong from my husband’s sports injury to my blog breaking, I could have chosen to be stressed out. But..When I started feeling it coming on, I immediately went to my breathing technique and it worked.

    The above mentioned of how to deal with stress is something people need to learn. Once applied, we master it and can get out of a stressful situation like a breeze!

    Thanks again for this wonderful post,

  12. Ally

    2013-01-25 at 7:26 am

    I agree that stress can be better controlled when you change your mindset, I used to be quite stressed but I found that since I started focusing on the positives, and changing the way I felt and reacted to certain situations made a big difference

  13. Christian

    2013-01-23 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for the great article. Stress is mostly in our head and somehow we have to deal with our head first. I feel stress e.g. every time when my boss talks to me, but why? I didn’t do anything wrong or something, it is something just in my head that doesn’t give me to live…

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-01-23 at 10:45 pm

      Hi Christian,

      Sometimes feelings of insecurity and fear lead to stress. But the fact remains that it is mostly in our head.

      Thanks for liking the article and for stopping by. 🙂

  14. CarolB

    2013-01-23 at 4:40 am

    HI Harleena,

    Been a while since I’ve commented, but your post timing is perfect. Stress seems to be a constant part of my life. Sometimes I thrive on it, sometimes I shut down. Managing it is the key – as you mentioned recognizing the good vs. the bad stress. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and ideas on helping me to better manage my own stress! Hope all is well with you in this new year.

  15. Sue Neal

    2013-01-23 at 2:57 am

    Fantastic post, Harleena, and very timely for me because I have to admit I’ve allowed myself to get a bit stressed over the last couple of days, due to work pressures.

    I think you’re absolutely right in saying that we have a choice about getting stressed, but the trouble is it’s often down to ingrained habits and ways of thinking, which can be difficult to break.

    Your post brings to mind the teachings I’ve learned from Anthony de Mello – he talks about the fact that we’re all programmed to crave ‘approval’ from other people. Consequently, we often get stressed, anxious and depressed when we feel we’re not living up to other people’s expectations of us.

    I agree with all the tips and strategies you suggest in this brilliant post, but one that I personally find most helpful is self-observation – simply noticing, becoming aware of my own reactions – that can quickly help to take the heat and power out of them, as I recognise what’s happening and remind myself that I do, indeed, have a choice about how I feel.

    Exercise, too – now there’s one of my all-time favourite stress-busters. Get yourself a dog that needs walking every day, come rain or shine, and that’ll bring your stress levels down (cuddling the dog helps, too!)

    Thanks so much for these great tips, Harleena – stress management is something I’m constantly working to improve on, so the more prompts about this, the better,


  16. Ehsan Ullah

    2013-01-22 at 9:20 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    Those 10 tips will surely help a lot of people to avoid the problems of stress. Thankfully, I’m living my life with no tension and stress.

    Thanks for writing a detailed post on this Harleena, worth a tweet!

  17. Suzie Carr

    2013-01-22 at 8:06 pm

    I love the idea of breathing to erase stress. I get stressed easily, and I think it’s because I allow other people’s actions to affect me. I choose this. Reading this post reminded me, hey I have a choice here… Next time someone else’s actions negatively affect me, I am going to remember to stop and do some deep breathing… Thanks for this post.

  18. don Ford

    2013-01-22 at 4:58 pm

    A Spanish speaking friend of mine at work complained that his stomach hurt all of the time, a burning sensation. I didn’t tell him it was stress, that could have been the reason. Instead I suggested he bring crackers to work, and every couple of hours eat a few of them, keeping something on his stomach for the ACIDS to work on instead of the lining of his stomach.

    In a short period of time, he came and thanked me, and I thought he was gonna hug and kiss me. Well, that wasn’t gonna be happening anytime soon. LOL DON

  19. Ferb

    2013-01-22 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I hate stress but one of the way I used to get rid of it quickly is to do what I enjoy and when I’m stress, I choose game to play.

    The above ways are amazing, but for me, I can say them all out but when comes to the problem I really have no control over it. I gotta learn a lot from these.

    Thanks – Ferb

  20. Priya N

    2013-01-22 at 12:48 pm

    Excellent tips to cope with stress. One of the biggest reason of stress is our-self as you said we choose to get the bad stress. You need to be very calm even in the worst situations so that you can handle all the situation in your life.

    I do regular yoga in the morning & it helps me a lot to cope with the stress.

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How to Cope With Stress: 10 Coping Strategies

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