All sorts of variables can put us in stressful situations. Some of them we create, others just happen. Either way, it doesn’t do us any good to get bent out of shape and full of angst when what we really need is to remain calm, rational and productive. Here ten tips to help you remain calm if you find yourself in a stressful situation.
Life is what it is. When things happen to you that you didn’t plan for, you’re just going to have to deal with it. Panic, frustration, and anger won’t get you out of your mess.
Take a moment to evaluate what has happened, and to decide what your best course of action is. Make some phone calls, get the help you need, start the process of getting out of the mess.
Once you have done steps 1 and 2, all you can do is get comfortable while the solution unfolds. There comes a time when the only thing left to do is wait. When that happens, try to enjoy the downtime (like this truck driver did).
I cannot stress enough the sanity-saving properties of this one little word. When you consider that most of the people you deal with in life are also stressed out, it is no wonder that they are constantly looking to lighten their load by adding to yours. There are a few things we don’t have the luxury of being able to say NO to; but there are many tasks we could turn down or delegate without causing the Earth to fall off its axis. Find those tasks, and get rid of them.
During my very busiest days, when I almost can’t see straight because I have so many things to do, I make it a point to stop everything for 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, my son and I sit on the futon in the sun room and talk about anything he wants to bring up. If I waited for a natural break in my schedule, it might never come. One task leads to another, and then to five more; suddenly a day, a week, or a year is gone. Life is a series of moments, so MAKE some wonderfully relaxing moments.
It sounds obvious, but often the most basic needs get sacrificed when we have too much to do. The problem is, if we don’t have enough sleep, or the right nutrients, we are depriving our body of the very building blocks it needs to be productive. You wouldn’t attempt a road trip without gas in the car. How can you ask your body to do more than it usually does, while giving it less of what it needs?
You will overcome this phase. You didn’t always make poor choices; you can get back to the right path. Even if you did make mostly poor choices, you have your whole life ahead of you. It is never too late to correct your mistakes.
You won’t be able to heal this wound until you stop the bleeding. Once you know you made a mistake, don’t keep making it! Dedicate your energy to new beginnings, instead. Quit looking in the rear view mirror and concentrate on the road ahead so you can learn to choose wisely.
The bigger the mistake, the longer your road to recovery will be. Sometimes this can be overwhelming because it seems you have too much to do to get back on track. Try to identify the most important things you need to do, and focus on those tasks (even if you have to force yourself at first). Once you get the ball rolling in the right direction, I think you will find it easier to keep the progress going.
When we are busy, stressed, worried, anxious, and suffering from guilt, we tend to breathe shallow breaths, using only the top 20% of our lung capacity. That means your brain and body are getting 20% of the oxygen they should be getting.
If you have a lot going on and what you need is energy, endurance and clear thinking, one of the simplest ways to help yourself is to get 100% of the oxygen your body needs. Breathe like a baby: letting your stomach rise as you inhale the good, emptying your lungs completely as you exhale the bad. You’ll see, things have a way of working out.
Now, do you remember the picture of the overturned truck from the beginning of this post? Here’s a picture of the same truck being towed away later that evening. Life goes on!
Read More about staying stress-free.