How to Cope With Stress in 6 Expert-Backed Ways

3. Cultivate positive self-awareness with yoga

Yoga has been used for thousands of years to cultivate self-awareness, transformation, and connection. It is also a significant tool to manage stress. “I believe that yoga is for everybody, but it looks different for everybody as well,” says yoga therapist, Kellie Livingstone. “Some people benefit from a more vigorous practice that builds strength, muscle tone, and endurance. Others benefit from a gentler practice that promotes relaxation, helps with pain management, and targets the physiological systems that yoga can affect—immune, circulatory, digestive, endocrine, et cetera.”

According to Livingstone, the best time to practice yoga is in the morning. She explains that this helps us set the tone of our nervous system for the rest of the day so that we can navigate stressful situations with more awareness of our body and breath.

“When starting to use yoga as a tool for stress relief, it is essential to notice what is already going on inside your body before changing anything,” she advises. “For example, often when stressed, we carry tension in our shoulders, chest or belly. Our breath might be choppy, rapid, and shallow. To alleviate these systems, focus on poses that undo this physical manifestation of stress. Positions such as child’s pose, side bends, inversions—getting upside down—and forward folds can help elicit a parasympathetic response.”

4. Talk your way out of stress through psychotherapy

Another great way to relieve yourself of stress is by talking about it with a professional via therapy. “Healing of the soul is one way to look at this practice,” psychotherapist Jess Semaan tells Vogue. “It is like a gym for your emotional and mental world; a space where you are able to get to know yourself better, what is driving you, your traumas and fears, accept them and start freeing yourself from them, so you can be a happier, more caring person toward yourself, others, and the planet.”

According to Semaan, anyone can use and benefit from psychotherapy, but it’s important to find the right therapist for you. “Do not settle. Make sure you listen to your intuition and consider speaking to different therapists before committing. Therapy is work, and sometimes it is going to be hard. Do not quit when you feel uncomfortable. Discomfort can mean the healing is happening. Take your time in the process. Some of our habits and patterns have been repeating for decades—they are not going to go away overnight.”