Stress. We all have it, but some of us seem to handle it better than others.
You may even find that you handle it better at certain times in your life. But regardless of what else is going on, you can get through stressful moments when you have the right techniques.
Here are six tips to help keep you calm during stressful situations.
1. Practice breathing exercises
Your pulse will quicken in response to stress. Breathing exercises are the fastest and easiest way to slow it back down again. You don’t need to know any fancy moves. Just do this whenever you feel your heart racing as a result of stress:
a. Sit in a quiet place if possible
b. Take a slow, deep and deliberate breath inward
c. Hold it for a few seconds
d. Breathe out slowly and focus on the air that’s leaving your body
Do this a few times until you start feeling better. Not only can breathing help slow your heart rate, but this practice also offers a great way to ground you during stressful moments.
2. Put things into perspective
After you’ve practiced your breathing exercises, try to think about a worst case scenario, but be realistic. If the absolute worst happens, what will you lose? What will you still have? Most of the time, we stress about things that don’t actually have an impact on our existence or our important relationships. Will your family still love you if you lose your job? The answer is yes. Do you think you’ll ever work again? If you’re being honest, that answer is probably also yes.
3. Let it go
Oftentimes, we have chronic stress that seeps into every area of our lives. Breathing exercises help when stress is acute or if you’re having a panic attack. But if you’re sitting at the dinner table stressing over an email that you did or didn’t send, you have to let it go. If there’s nothing you can do in the moment, file it away as something to handle later and get on with your life.
4. Talk it out
Sometimes, we get stressed because we can’t see an answer to our problem. In cases like these, it helps to talk it out. Talk to someone you trust about your issue, and you may see the solution more clearly as you explain the problem.
5. Think about something else
If you’re freaking out about something that’s happening in the moment, go somewhere else in your head. Stress can cloud your decision-making skills, so it’s important to calm down before you act. Think about something that makes you feel calm, whether it’s time with your family or your toes in the sand.
6. Know you have options
We often stress because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But you need to know that it’s there. Think about all the times you’ve been in trouble before. There was an eventual end, wasn’t there. If it’s a family problem, look to available family resources. If it’s a problem at work, maybe it’s time to talk to human resources. You’ll find a way out.
When you’re feeling stressed, remember that things will get better. They always do.