Keep Stress in Check in 2023
- Keeping stress under control can seem like a daunting task in a busy world.
- While there are many different popular tactics for managing stress, what works for each person is highly individualized.
- Integrative methods, such as meditation/mindfulness, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc., may work great for some people, while others could really benefit from seeking help from a therapist or support group.
To get you started, here are five ways to help cope with everyday stressors in your life — alongside some advice from mental health experts.
Chopra also suggested people do a body scan — which means taking a moment of quiet thought to breathe and check in with the various parts of your body.
For some guidance, the below video features Dr. Brian Berman, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at University of Maryland, guiding the audience through a simple meditation meant to evoke the relaxation response.
Dr. Brian Berman guides us through a simple meditation technique.
Getting regular exercise does not mean you have to get up every morning and train for a marathon. In fact, simply moving your body (in whatever way feels comfortable to you) can have profound effects on overall health and mood. When we feel especially stressed or pressed for time, the thought of adding a regular exercise routine to an already-packed schedule can seem daunting — but it doesn’t have to be.
Staying active can mean jogging, hitting the gym, and lifting weights — but it can also be walking, swimming, yoga, playing basketball with friends, or even dancing.
Breast cancer survivor Vera Trifunovich previously shared a story with SurvivorNet about how she learned to feel like herself again after facing cancer by enrolling in Zumba classes.
Creating something from nothing can be cathartic for many people — this could be visual art, digital art, music, writing, or any other creative expression of the self. So many people struggling with stress due to physical or mental issues find interesting ways to work through complicated feelings with creation.
Three-time cancer survivor Marianne Duquette Cuozzo is an example. In a previous conversation with SurvivorNet, she explained that she worked out her anger through art after her first cancer diagnosis, and then again when dealing with complex feelings of loss after she had to undergo breast cancer surgery.
“When I was first diagnosed when I was 28, I had a little studio at my house, and I’d go in the studio, and I had these huge pieces of charcoal and I would do these really angry charcoal drawings, and I’d roll them up and stuff them under the couch,” she explained. “No one was meant to see them because it was just for me and my cathartic getting out my anger. And then recently, with having the breast cancer, it became a body image … My artwork is very reflective of my cancer journey.”
Marianne Duquette Cuozzo shares how art helped her through dark times.
Mental health counseling
There should be absolutely no shame in seeking the help of a therapist, support group, or whatever other avenue you may want to pursue when dealing with stress.
Traditional therapy is a huge help (even a life-saver) for many people and if you are coping with a very stressful situation or simply feeling down, it may be wise to give this method a try.
In a previous conversation with SurvivorNet, Camila Legaspi, who lost her mother to cancer when she was just a high school student, explained how therapy helped her cope with intense feelings of grief.
“Therapy saved my life,” she said. “I was dealing with some really intense anxiety and depression at that point. It just changed my life because I was so drained by all the negativity that was going on. Going to a therapist helped me realize that there was still so much out there for me … that I still had my family, that I still had my siblings.”
Consider integrative treatments
Integrative medicine is an approach that blends traditional therapies with other healing tactics, such as meditation, diet, nutrition, acupuncture, and other approaches. There is an important distinction between “integrative” medicine and “alternative” medicine, which are therapies that are used in place of traditional care. When it comes to stress management, integrative treatments can be extremely helpful.
“Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient in the center of care and everything flows from that,” Dr. Berman told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation. “It emphasizes lifestyle behavior, like diet, stress management, nutrition, and it also blends the best of conventional medicine and complementary therapies. So it’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It very much believes in the power of conventional medicine, but it’s trying to bring in other evidence-based approaches, and to optimize people’s health and well-being.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, some examples of integrative medicine for stress management include:
- Massage therapy
- Resilience training