3 real ways to cut down your stress

We all cope differently when faced with problems. However, three of the most common coping strategies are social support, tackling the issue and problem solving.

Let's take a look at these strategies and their effectiveness in helping us to reduce the stresses of life.

Helping friends in trouble

A strong network of family and friends is just what the doctor ordered when you're stressed out or down in the dumps. You will find that many of them have been through similar experiences and are ready to share their experience with you if you only ask.

So, don't be afraid to reach out for advice on a sticky situation. It often helps to understand how they approach similar issues. Just remember that their experience and views can differ from yours.

At the end of the day, it's your life and your decision. If you feel the problem is too big, do also consider consulting a professional like a counsellor or a psychiatrist. Their help in getting a new perspective on things and events in our lives can be very effective.

Tackle the issue… no matter how difficult

Avoidance is a natural defence mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of a stressful situation, or allows us to block out the truth.

While this can be a short-term stress reliever, it can only be a temporary solution. The quicker we deal with our problems head on, the quicker we will get back to feeling happy.

Instead of avoiding whatever is making you stressed, identify what stresses you about the situation and discuss the facts with someone you trust. This will help you get a better perspective, and the opportunity to formulate a plan to move forward.

Deal with stress at its core

One of the most effective ways of fighting stress is to track down the root cause of the issue.

Putting down as much information as possible about the cause of stress will be essential to you finding the solution. It will allow you to put steps in place to avoid the same situation happening again in the future. There are a number of ways to do this:

1. Create a stress checklist or keep a stress diary. Once you have all the information, draft a list of pros and cons on how you might tackle whatever situation, environment or person who is causing you stress.

Finally, seek advice from someone you trust or who knows how to deal with the particular problem.

2. Make lifestyle changes - Exercise and diet can help you to both reduce stress and lose weight.

Try to raise your heartbeat to 120-180 beats-per-minute for about 30 minutes per day. It'll help release stress hormones and increase your endorphin levels, which will make you feel happier.

3. Establish regular sleep patterns - Regular, deep sleep is key to reducing stress.

Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time each night and morning. Establishing routine in your sleep cycle helps your body clock regulate itself.

Coping mechanisms help us beat the blues and roll with the punches in life, but if you find yourself at your wit's end, try to keep a positive mind. And don't be afraid to ask for help, from friends or professionals.