As healthcare workers, we deal with stressful situations all the time. In the ICU, you are checking vital signs, titrating medications, coding dying patients, just to name a few of the stressors. How do you manage this stress? John, from Relax Like A Boss, gives his thoughts on how to best handle stress and live a calmer life.
Need some tips dealing with stressful situations? We never really get taught to deal with stress in life – and that’s why so many of us struggle with it.
But here’s the thing: If you can learn how to manage stress now, it will pay off for the rest of your life. Just imagine learning how to effortlessly overcome any stressful situation in your life. You’ll feel happier. You’ll worry less. Your life will become a much smoother, enjoyable journey. Isn’t that an incredible thought?
That’s why I’ve written this guide – to teach the best approaches for dealing with stressful situations like a boss…
1. What Are The Most Stressful Situations?
Studies have found that the top 5 stressful situations are:
- Death of a loved one.
- Moving homes.
- Serious illnesses.
- Losing your job.
These are all horrible situations, capable of breaking someone. But they’re also opportunities to appreciate just how resilient your mind is. Because you can overcome anything...And the more you practice dealing with stressful situations, the better you’ll get.
2. Why Learn How To Deal With Stressful Situations?
If you can become a pro at dealing with stressful situations, you’ll eliminate practically all of the stress in your life. The tricks you’ll discover below will create a huge improvement on your stress levels.
Here’s just a handful of benefits you’ll be able to look forward to:
- You’ll be able to deal with whatever life throws at you.
- You’ll worry less.
- You’ll be happier & more positive.
- You’ll become healthier, physically & mentally.
So here’s a few tips & tricks to begin dealing with stressful situations…
3. How To Change The Way You React.
People can say the same thing to us everyday – but we’ll react differently each time depending on how we feel. And that’s the key: It’s all about how you interpret a situation!
Because whatever’s happening in your life, you can change the way you react to it. You get the choice to feel the way you want to. Nobody can change that.
Optimism is a choice. It’s impossible to feel happy all the time but you can diffuse your emotions, dramatically reducing your anger, irritation and stress levels.
4. Examples Of How To Deal With Stressful Situations.
1. Your Boss Piles A Ton Of Work On You Last Minute.
You could feel angry, defeated and worried you’re not going to finish all your work in time.
You could grab a coffee, do as much work as you can and rise to the challenge your boss has set you.
2. You've Been Made Redundant From Your Job.
You could freak out wondering how on earth you’re going to explain to your family what’s happened, lose your company car and worry that you can’t the bills that month.
You can see this as an opportunity to take a step up to find better jobs, find an employer you love and even grab a cheeky pay rise along the way!
3. You Get A Parking Ticket.
You can get annoyed that you parked somewhere you shouldn’t have, go crazy at the ticket warden and feel like you’ve wasted a ton of money on a crappy parking fine.
You can appreciate the fact that the parking warden is just doing their job, you’re lucky you have a car and that a parking fine isn’t a lot of money…you’ll quickly recoup it on your next month’s wages.
5. How Optimism Helps Deal With Stress.
The examples show you just how powerful optimism is when it comes to dealing with stressful situations:
- You can feel angry OR you can be understanding.
- You blame someone else OR you can stop looking for excuses.
- You can wonder ‘why has this horrible thing happened to me’ OR you can see change as an opportunity.
- You can feel defeated or you can rise to the challenge.
Stress is all in the mind – it’s a hallucination! It’s all about how you interpret something. Whatever you’re feeling becomes the reality. So a stressful situation can also become a positive situation – if you’re willing to think that way.
And what’s stressful for one person is someone’s else’s opportunity. Losing a job may ruin your life. Or it can be the first step to becoming incredibly successful. So what you going to choose when dealing with stressful situations? Do you want to be optimistic or negative?
6. Avoid Perfectionism.
You can become a master at dealing with stressful situations BUT you’ll never be perfect. You don’t need to be happy all the time. (That would also be incredibly boring!) A bit of stress is actually an incredibly powerful motivator.
It makes us take action before it becomes a problem…In fact, without stress we probably wouldn’t get anything done!
So don’t try to avoid stress completely, just see it as a part of life. Nothing’s perfect and it doesn’t need to be either. Just react positively when you’re dealing with stressful situations and you’ll gain a whole new insight into the world.
7. Practice Dealing With Stressful Situations.
As you now know, dealing with stressful situations positively is your choice. But sometimes we forget that: Especially when our emotions are so instinctive.
We can fire off like a shotgun before we’ve even realised what we’ve done! So I want you to try practicing the skill of dealing with stressful situations. Try to be mindful – see stress and make a decision to manage it before it becomes a problem. The more practice you have, the better you’ll become at dealing with stressful situations.
8. Become Mindful Of Your Stress Levels.
Picture stress like breathing:
Breathing happens by itself – most of the time we’re not even conscious of it. And that’s kind of like stress – we’re not conscious of how we’re reacting to stress, it just sort of happens. But if you count your breath, you’re aware of it. You can control it effortlessly. It’s just your levels of awareness that make the difference.
It’s the same with stress:
You can transform a stressful situation into a positive very easily – it just takes that level of awareness most of us don’t have. And the more we practice, the more aware we become.
9. How To Stop The Vicious Cycle Of Stress.
Stress is like a vicious cycle:
1. We experience a stressful situation.
2. Then we get more stressed when we can’t deal with it.
3. And this cycle goes round and round until our stress levels elevate to the point where we feel overwhelmed.
You see, dealing with stressful situations is a whole lot harder if we’re already feeling stressed. So you need to stop the cycle! Here’s how…
10. Take A Breather.
Sometimes, we just need to take time to ourselves to relax. Whether that’s kicking your feet up or going for a run! Check out my list of the best ways to relax below:
Practice just a few of these and you’ll no longer find yourself running like a stressed hamster on a wheel! Instead you’ll break the cycle – replenishing your positivity and making it far easier to manage your stress levels.
11. Try Positive Self-Talk.
Talking to yourself doesn’t mean your mad! It’s a really powerful way of boosting your own positivity. it’s like you’re programming your own thoughts to be more uplifting and empowering.
Here’s a few examples of how you can change negative self talk into positive self talk:
- ‘I can’t do this’ becomes ‘I can do this’.
- ‘I don’t want to’ becomes ‘I’ll rise to the challenge’.
- ‘I don’t like change’ becomes ‘change is an opportunity to me to achieve more’.
Talking to yourself might feel a little weird! But bear with it, because it will help you deal with stressful situations more effectively.
12. Cut Out Procrastination.
Procrastination seriously escalates problems! We’ve all been there:
…Doing something so late you get in trouble for missing the deadline.
…Forgetting to pay your bills and getting charged for being late.
…Paying extra for a flight because you couldn’t be bothered to book it there and then.
If you procrastinate, stress can become a serious problem. If you think ‘I’ll deal with that later’ or ‘I’ll let someone else pick that up’ then you probably won’t! In fact, in all of these cases, procrastination is stopping you from solving easy problems.
And dealing with stressful situations gets so much harder when you put things off. Because if you don’t take action now, how can you expect things to change? So if you want to become better at dealing with stressful situations, stop procrastinating!
Here’s a few ways you can do that:
- Take action straight away.
- Don’t put anything off until the last minute.
- Keep a to-do list of the most important things.
- Get organized with a calendar of important dates and deadlines.
- Understand that dealing with a stressful situation now is much, much easier than dealing with it when the opportunity has gone.
14. Handling Tricky People.
Stressful situations are made a million times worse by difficult people. Your demanding boss. Your unreasonable neighbours. Your uncompromising business partner. Sometimes our lives are set up for confrontation – we all have different priorities that lead to conflict.
So a big part of dealing with stressful situations is managing the people involved. If you can take steps to manage them, you can reduce the stress they cause you.
Here’s a few tips to help you out:
- Look at things from the other person’s perspective. What’s making them tick? What’s are their motivations? If you can understand why they’re being difficult, you can understand how to avoid the stress they’re causing you.
- Be ready to compromise. Be assertive but ready to meet a middle ground. For example, say your neighbour is playing loud music that’s irritating you. Compromise with them – can they play their music with less bass? Or at a lower volume? Can they just play their music between certain hours?
- Remain calm. When dealing with stressful situations, there’s nothing worse you can do than raising your voice or acting aggressively! Stay relaxed & don’t freak out!
- Be proactive. If you can see a stressful situation coming, take action up front to avoid it or minimise the stress as much as possible.
- Understand that you know you can’t change someone. No matter how annoying, irritating or how much stress that person is causing you, you can’t change someone else! You can only change the way you react to them.
15. See Things In Perspective.
Do you ever look back at the most awkward moments of your life and laugh? I know I do! In the long run, what seems like the end of the world now doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a tiny spec on a long long timeline!
But when we’re dealing with stressful situations, our instincts kick in. We’re hard wired to feel stressed because it’s a survival mechanism…Our heart beats faster. Our blood pressure increases. Our emotions change.
But when you’re dealing with that situation next time, think to yourself: Will this really matter in the long run? Is this going to change my life forever?
And 9 times out of 10, it doesn’t matter. So you can move on and stop wasting your time feeling stressed out!
The above strategies should really help you out. So next time you’re dealing with a stressful situation, try them!
Here’s a quick summary of all the things we’ve talked about:
- Stay optimistic & cut out negativity.
- Take a deep breathe & relax.
- Break the vicious cycle of stress.
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Understand that your stress levels are never going to be perfect!
- See the bigger picture.
- Manage the difficult people around you.
- Stop procrastinating.
And remember, the more you apply these strategies, the better you’ll get! Be mindful, apply the technique and tweak the strategies to suit you best.
John runs Relax Like A Boss, a blog that teaches people how to reduce stress and relax in a busy world. His passion is helping and inspiring others to live a healthier, happier lifestyle.