Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

How to cope with stress

Modern day stress  is our constant companion. Rather than resisting it, it makes more sense to find productive ways to reduce our stress levels and lead a life that is calmer.

Here are clever ways to cope better with stress:

1) Laughter

See the funny side of life. Never take yourself or others too seriously. There are many health benefits to cultivating a strong sense of humour. Watch funny movies, be creative with your thinking about certain situations. Inject humour into as much of life as you can – it makes life easier.

2) Maintain Perspective

In the moment, we can often catastrophise an event but if we take ourselves out of the situation and ask ourselves whether we will feel the same way in a week from now or a month from now, we might realise that the current feelings are temporary and that how we feel now will pass. Try to see the bigger picture. Think of others who have been through similar and how they have coped.

3) Positive Self Talk

Make sure that you keep your inner chatter as optimistic as possible. Instead of saying to yourself  “I am never going to get through this, I am ruined”, tell yourself something like “This is really tough right now but I will get through this”. Talking to yourself negatively only serves to demoralise you. It does not help the situation one bit so try not to do it. At least be aware of your thinking and try to challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself where the evidence for this type of thinking is. Ask yourself if life is really that black and white..we don’t always know what will happen. Expect the best.

4) Know the difference between what you can and can’t control

There is no point on stressing over events or circumstances that are beyond your control. If you are stressed because another person treated you badly and humiliated you, remind yourself that wishing they were different or wanting them to apologise is beyond your control. Focus on how you will deal with this person in the future or work with what you can influence. This is far more empowering.

5) Get a pet

Research has shown that animals help humans to feel calmer and decrease stress levels. I love my Yorkshire Terrier, he definitely helps to keep me happier and smiling.

6) Care Less What Others Think

when we worry too much about how others perceive us we lose the essence of ourselves in a bid to try please others and feel more accepted. It’s a hollow victory though as deep down we will know that even if others do  like and accept us, they are accepting an adapted version of ourselves. Be true to yourself and follow your own path. Others will admire you for it, not judge you.

7) Take time out

Make sure you take time away from work and/or from the course of your stress. Balance in life is crucial and anything in excess will ultimately lead to problems. Make sure you take regular holidays. Spend a limited amount of time with those people in your life that drain you. We either give off positive, negative, or balanced energy. Those that give you negative energy will leave you feeling drained. Limit your time with them.

8) Prioritise

Get a pen and paper and list the top five things that are important in your life: for example health, friends, money, love and free time

List these five items in order of importance. Next under each item on the list write down what you are currently doing in your life to work towards that aim. Filter out those activities that aren’t that important. The more you solidify what you are doing and where you are going, the more streamlined you become on a daily basis. Stress is often created by taking on too much. Make sure that you know how to say “no”.

9) Nurture a good support network of family/friends

Friends and family are essential for when the tough times hit. We all need a little help from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask. Too many us suffer in silence when we don’t need to. The more support we have the easier it is to get through stressful times

10) Find your own particular stress release system and try to incorporate it into your life as often as possible. (At least twice a week)

What do you enjoy doing that helps you to relax? Here are a few popular options:

  • Exercise
  • Massage Therapy/Spa visit
  • A hobby such as rock climbing or pottery making
  • Baking
  • Going for a walk
  • Sleeping in
  • Quiet alone time
  • Listening to music


There are many ways to relieve stress. Often just talking with a friend can help. Keep an eye on your stress levels. Rate your levels if it helps from 1 to 10. When you get above 7 it is time to take action. Often, we just get on and learn to live with the stress but this can have long terms consequences for health and sanity. Change what isn’t working. Use the above techniques for the things you can’t change or avoid.

Mandy X

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash