Life at home and work can present us with less than ideal situations, and it’s easy to find ourselves shutting down and tuning out. Whether you’re working at a busy, short-staffed restaurant, find yourself struggling to meet a deadline, dreading an upcoming meeting, or are overwhelmed with the amount of tasks that lie ahead, it’s easy to understand why so many of us have a difficult time coping. There are some essential things to keep in mind on those difficult days to remain a more composed and happy individual.
Stress can come in many different forms and present itself differently in all of us, but there are some basic things you can be aware of, such as becoming frustrated quickly or feeling overwhelmed and glum. As soon as you can recognize the signs of stress, you can begin the practice of remaining calm. Next time you find yourself in a tense situation, take note of how your body responds; you may experience an increase in heart rate, begin sweating, or perhaps it feels like you have a pit in your stomach. When you recognize the way you react to stress, you can make decisions to de-escalate and improve a situation by applying the following techniques.
You will always begin by taking a moment to assess the situation. It may be difficult, but taking a step back can help keep you level-headed and see the situation from a less heated perspective. Our emotions can sometimes steer us in the wrong direction. While in this state, we are prone to making decisions that we later regret, such as lashing out, saying things we didn’t mean, and even jeopardizing relationships. One powerful and simple technique is to take a deep breath; not only does it help in guiding you towards composure, but it also gives you a moment to consider what the best course of action might be. In these few seconds, remind yourself of the way you want to feel at the end of the interaction, and think of how you can control your reaction to achieve your desired outcome.
If your scenario involves communicating with someone else, it is essential that you take the time to listen to them fully. You may find yourself surprised at the number of times this simple gesture can mitigate the situation. Lend your ear with an open mind, and consider the points they are making while refraining from your train of thought, biases, or making decisions on what you’ll say next. When your time to speak arises, be direct yet considerate. The points that you need to make can be said in a way that is straightforward while maintaining respect and without being intrusive.
Determining a healthy response while amidst a state of chaos can be difficult and takes time to develop. Every situation leaves you with the opportunity to remain present and hone in on your abilities to find calmness. Over time and with practice, you will find that you can respond to others in a mature and well-mannered way that will help you achieve healthy relationships and a better way to cope with stress.