AUSTIN, Texas — It’s no secret that managing daily life tasks can be stressful. According to a Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report, the United States is the most stressed country in the world. 

There are many ways to relieve stress like exercise or spending time with friends. However, studies show that adult “play,” or engaging in activities for pure enjoyment, also reduces anxiety and creates resilience. Lego, the world’s largest and most profitable toymaker, is now offering a range designed with stressed out adults in mind, offering a way to drown out the noise of the day and increase mindfulness. 

Spectrum News’ Dr. Nicole Cross spoke with Dr. Carrie Barron, psychiatrist and director of the Creativity for Resilience Program at Dell Medical School in Austin about the benefits of play therapy for adults.

Here are research-based strategies for managing stress, according to the American Counseling Association:

  • Understand your stress: Knowing what stress is, specifically your stress, allows you to have a critical level of self-awareness and insight.
  • Take care of yourself: (sleep, eating, exercise, meditation, counseling)
  • Schedule! Schedule! Schedule!: Time management is a big part of stress management. When we know what we are doing and when we are doing them, our tasks become more digestible.
  • Reach out for support: Humans are social beings, and we need each other! We may be strong as individuals, but that can only take us so far when we feel bogged down by stress. Support systems provide stability and understanding.
  • Create healthy coping strategies: A healthy coping strategy will give reprieve from what is stressing you, but not so much reprieve that you are not able to address the situation.
  • Establish boundaries: We feel stressed when we perceive our boundaries as violated or if we feel unable to communicate them to others. When you’re able to create and hold your boundaries, stress can be significantly reduced. It’s important to know your limits and take responsibility for setting them.
  • Be realistic: Know what you can and cannot do in the time you are able to do it. While we want to strive to be the best versions of ourselves, those “best versions” also come with a disclaimer: it’s a human version! Being realistic about your abilities cultivates self-compassion.