HomeMindStress ManagementAn Easy Guide to Dealing with Stressful Situations

An Easy Guide to Dealing with Stressful Situations

and Reviewed By Mira Djakov, MMFT

With stress becoming an ever-looming presence in the contemporary lives of people everywhere, it’s crucial to be able to deal with it swiftly before it disrupts your life more than it already has.

We’re not saying that stress is something new and unknown to humankind, but the number of sources and directions has increased. Our ability to cope with it has, for one reason or another, declined. Whatever the case may be, modern problems require modern solutions, accompanied by an easy guide to deal with stressful situations. Of course, there’s no such thing as a panacea for stress, as the weight and complexity of each situation vary from person to person (Kardum & Krapić 2001).

However, this guide should point you in the right direction toward a remedy for dealing with stress in general. Following the steps outlined here will at least give you a fighting chance.

Preemptive Defenses

Perhaps the most efficient way to protect yourself from stress predates the situation itself. In other words, continually working on yourself gives you leverage against any intrusions on your well-established routine.

The reason why we feel stress is because of unwarranted situations trudging on our beloved routines and patterns. However, if you provide your body and mind with enough juice, i.e., good and regular night’s sleep, plenty of exercise, and a healthy diet, you’ll be more than ready for whatever life dishes out.

Also, teach yourself to think positively – it is, among other things, an excellent preemptive defense. If your mind tends to drift toward threats and fears, stressful situations will only emphasize such thoughts and trouble you more than your current circumstance. Practice in everyday situations – view as many positives about each thing rather than its downsides.

Challenge Yourself

While there’s no better way to face the hardships of life than for you to think positively, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a stressful situation without the proper mindset and then our previous point won’t do you much good.

Most of the time, people tend to forego mental health until there’s a crisis. However, if that were to happen, you could still find a way around it with one little trick. It is more of a hack really, a hack to positive thinking. Just view your situation as a challenge rather than a threat.

Challenging yourself this way will make the problem seem more like a level to conquer and not a harrowing issue. This will propel you to bring your best self to the table and take control of the situation rather than crumble beneath it. After all, this is what stress management is all about – taking charge of your life.

The Big Picture

Sometimes, the best approach to solving a difficult problem is disregarding it as such. Take a step back and look at the real nature of your situation.

By asking yourself several questions, such as “How is this going to affect my life in the long run?” or “Is this really so important that I’m going to allow it to damage my well-being?” If the answer is “no,” you’ll be more prepared to shed some of the unnecessary stress that is so detrimental to your physical and mental health (de Frias & Whyne 2014).

Of course, there are situations when you’ll say “yes.” It is at these times you’ll need some other coping mechanisms – luckily, there’s plenty of them right here in this guide.

The Limits of Control

A vital step to take to alleviate the malicious effects of stress on your life is to come to terms with situations you can’t control.

While you most likely have no power over abstract entities such as economy, politics, or randomness of the universe, you do have power over you – no one else does. Stressful situations are many. You’ll never be able to control what your family members, coworkers, bosses, or illnesses do; it would be ill-advised for you to try. You’ll only waste more time, leading to additional stress and even more pressure on you.

Instead, take a step back, and in all your wisdom, try to figure out what you can and can’t control. The answer is not always the same, but it most often boils down to you being in charge of yourself. When you realize that you hold the keys to your life, it will be easier to take action and get a grip on life (Taubman, Florian & Mikulincman 1995).

Assess the Situation

Often, we’re dealing with stress at the workplace or in the family, such as loss of a job, insurmountable pile of tasks and encroaching deadlines, arguments with family members, or the worst of all – loss of a dear person.

These situations often make us believe that we need to react immediately. Actually, that really is the case. Unless someone is in immediate danger, you usually have some time, even if it is just a few minutes, to assess the situation and decide what would be the best course of action. People can sometimes cause a lot of unintentional damage by acting on a situation while panicking. Avoid this at all costs.

Express Gratitude

When all the problems of the world descend upon your weary shoulders, it might seem as if everything around you goes bleak and life loses all its spice.

It is at these times that you should actively seek out all the positive influences in your life. No matter how annoyed, frustrated, or stressed you might be, take a moment to express gratitude for everything that’s going your way. No matter how unlikely that may seem at the time, there is always something about which to be grateful and happy, whether it be good health, awesome friends, or loving family.

It may even be the simpler things for which you can feel grateful – a breathtaking sunrise, a delicious breakfast, or a smoking cup of coffee or tea. Life really is about the little things.

Insert a Joke

Sprinkling a bit of humor over a stressful situation will mitigate more negative effects than you might have expected.

Making light of a dark situation has always been the best remedy for some, and it might just as well do the trick for you. Be careful where and when you do it, though, because not all people are appreciative of humor at what they deem inappropriate times.

Ask for Help

When depression starts creeping in, it might be time for you to ask for some outside help from a therapist.

Stressful situations can sometimes bring people to their knees. Venting about your problems to your friends or asking a therapist for an opinion is as prudent as any other piece of advice.

Closing Thoughts

When a stressful situation crosses your path, which it absolutely will, don’t let it change who you are. Take it head-on with one of the most useful tricks from this guide.

Remember that in order to handle a situation as successfully as possible, you need to keep growing. Take the preemptive measures into consideration and keep up your mental and physical health, and no trouble will seem unbearable.

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