Learning how to cope with stress has become increasingly important as our society evolves and becomes more complex. Stress factors can be dealt with in a variety of ways. And depending upon the “severity” of your stress, you may benefit from first discussing how to cope with stress with your physician before trying something new. For milder forms of stress there are a multitude of techniques. These range from taking 5 minutes breaks to play a stress relief game, to exercise, meditation, taking a vacation, or spending time with a favorite hobby. There are more helpful resources and links on how to cope with stress at the end of this article. For more severe cases including chronic stress (again, check with your doctor), it seems an easy way for people to cope with stress is through prescription medicines. There are numerous types of medications available on the market. Some of the well-known names are Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Each has its ups and downs, offering relief for some and more anxiety for others. The side effects of medications can sometimes do more harm than good. Often a patient – with the aid of their doctor – may have to try a variety of them before finding one that suits their needs. Beware: Prescription medications can be addicting. What else is good to know about how to cope with stress? Some alternative treatments for stress include self-help, diet and nutrition, pastoral counseling, and again, exercise. All of these are considered natural treatments and will not cause any further detriment to the body or the mind. What they will do is offer ways to deal with stress and at the same time build awareness to the inner peace that lies within each of us, when performed correctly. And these are generally effective for mild and moderate forms of stress. Plus they’re often used in conjunction with prescription medicines for more severe cases of stress. Self-help, also referred to as self-treatment, usually includes joining a self-help group. Many find these groups to be invaluable resources for recovery and empowerment as they learn how to cope with stress. In these group sessions you’ll encounter others dealing with stress, others who have overcome stress, and others who have dealt with life-disrupting events. Self-help groups are anonymous, free of charge, and widely available. Often overlooked is the power of maintaining the right diet and nutrition. Eating right can help reduce stress tremendously. Avoid (or at least seriously minimize) things such as caffeine and alcohol. Ingest vitamins such as vitamin B and thiamine to also help diminish your stress level. Unfortunately many stress suffering individuals turn to food and alcohol as forms of salvation which can be detrimental to their health. Speak with a nutritionist about what you’re eating; you may be surprised at what a few changes will make. If you have faith in God consider pastoral counseling. Speaking with your minister or pastor might be more comfortable than seeking out an unfamiliar counselor. In their work these leaders typically learn a great deal on how to cope with stress that they can share with you. Then again, prayer and spirituality may be all you need to make you feel at ease with the world around you. As always, exercise is one of the greatest tools. But instead we tend to use our stressors as reasons why not to exercise. There’s no need to join a gym or purchase expensive equipment. Just take a leisurely stroll or a quiet bike ride. The nature that surrounds you will create clarity and sanctity. So as you can see there are many ways to reduce stress. And there are some important facts to learn about how to cope with stress in order to maximize your personal results. Think about your options and together with your physician you can choose what’s best for you. Don’t give up, stress can be demolished.