How to Manage Stressful Situations
When we are faced with a stressful situation, such as a challenging project, a looming deadline, conflict at home or an unexpected lifestyle change, we can easily become overwhelmed. Not only does this have a psychological impact, but also physiological — stomach issues, palpitations and chest pain are all physical manifestations of a reaction to a stressful situation.
The good news is that you can overcome stressful situations, adopting coping mechanisms that will help you with both immediate issues and equip you with the tools to deal with any you may face in the future.
Attitude is everything
Avoiding thinking about or dealing with situations can make them loom even more threateningly. By sitting down and working out a way to deal with, for example, a project at work, you are facing the situation head-on and enabling your mind to work through it. Perhaps breaking an overwhelming project down into manageable chunks is the answer, or speaking to a manager about delegating some of the parts you feel unable to do.
Approaching a situation with a positive mind-set feels almost like trickery, but it does work. ‘I can do this’ is far more valuable than ‘I can’t do this’. ‘I may struggle, but I will find a way through’ is more positive than ‘I am unable to complete these tasks’. ‘Can’ and ‘will’ help frame your thought process in a more positive way than ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’.
Change the situation
It may sound impossible, but there are often ways you can change a situation that is causing you stress; for example, if your job worries you and causes anxiety, it may be time to start looking for a new one.
If there is nothing you can change about the situation or your approach to it, it may be that you need to teach yourself resilience in order to be able to deal with it more productively. Self-care is key — taking time to consider the wellness of your body and mind is crucial. Eating well, getting enough sleep and taking time out are all ways in which you can reduce overall feelings of stress.
For more advice on stress and ways to cope with stressful situations, Stress Management Society has a lot of free resources available. Please seek support if you are faced with an overwhelming situation and feel unable to cope.