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How do I deal with stress?
Just as everyone experiences stress in different ways, everyone deals with it in different ways. And just as stress can be positive and negative, there are negative and positive ways to cope with stress, too.

Negative Coping
Those things that your family and friends want you to avoid doing:
  • Alcohol use and abuse
  • Self-injuring (hurting yourself)
  • Procrastinating (avoiding what needs to be addressed)
  • Over-eating or under-eating
  • Using and abusing drugs or substances
...just to name a few.
Getting Help
Sometimes, we just can't cope alone and these strategies aren't enough. If you feel like you may need additional support, there are professionals who can help you:

New York State County Mental Health Departments

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

How to Cope

How to Cope

What can I do if I am stressed?

  1. Do something you ENJOY to feel better right away - something healthy that won't hurt you in the long run. Once you've calmed down, you'll be in better shape to deal with the problem.
  2. Take control of some part of the situation. Take some action, no matter how small.
    • Break it down. Are you stressed because there is too much to deal with? Focus on one area and think of an action you can take that could make a difference - then take that action.
    • Talk to someone about your worries, like a friend, parent, school counselor or another adult you trust. Having supportive people around you is really important.
    • Is it time for your leadership? Sometimes (not always) you can turn stressful situations into an opportunity to make change. If you're dealing with major issues like injustice, hook up with other people to figure out how you can make a difference.
    • Focus on positive ways to deal with your stress instead of only on negative stressful thoughts. A change in mindset can help move you to stress-reducing action.

Here are some other coping strategies (PDF: 337K).

Things you can do RIGHT NOW!

  • Get physical: work out, walk, run, stretch, swim and dance!
  • Play a video game
  • Read a book
  • Play with your pet
  • Talk with a friend
  • Meditate: the simplest way is to take slow, deep breaths
  • Listen to music
  • Go to a movie
  • Treat yourself to something special
  • Go to the zoo
  • Volunteer: helping others can help you feel better too sometimes!
  • Draw, paint...CREATE something!
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