Stress, according to psychologists, is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. Stressful situations usually lead to a ‘fight-or-flight’ response in the body, thereby causing an overflow of emotions due to change in hormone levels. Long-term exposure to high levels of stress can lead to chronic and even life-threatening diseases.
What matters most is our response to stress. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive factor and use it to our advantage. In her TED talk, she has emphasised the practice of handling stress better so as to transform it into a positive factor in our lives.
Here are some of the ways you can also learn to keep calm in stressful situations:
Identify the stressor
The first step to deal with stress is to identify the root cause of it. Stress can be caused by many things—it could be because of problems at the workplace or even in your personal life. Once you identify the stressor, it helps you analyse the problem better and plan how to tackle it in a logical manner.
Take time to reframe the situation
Take a step back to reorient your thoughts and perceive the whole scenario better. It is important to have an open mind and accept that there are multiple sides to every story. Take a deep breath and ask yourself whether you might benefit from adopting a different approach to the problem.
The power of thoughts is beyond explanation. Your thoughts have an immense potential to not only shape who you are and what you want to be but also how you want things around you to be. Learn to stay positive despite the hard times. Instead of whining and asking ‘why me?’, look at every problem as a new learning opportunity.
Make a plan
Embrace alternative ways to approach the problem and identify what works best for you. Create a proper step-by-step plan to handle the situation. Often successful people apply the ‘back-casting’ method to analyse problems and available alternatives. Ensure that you do not get bogged down by horrendous details of the past if you decide to adopt this approach.
Speak to someone
If you feel overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the problem, do not hesitate to seek help from someone else. This could be someone you love and trust or someone in your network who has the right knowledge and experience to help you through this situation.
Avoid caffeine, but keep yourself hydrated. Ensure that you eat at regular intervals. Snack on high fibre food that will help improve cognitive functions of the brain. Oily, carbohydrate-laden food will only end up making you lethargic and grumpy. In fact, a healthy diet can also improve your productivity while you are stressed out.
What hacks do you use to stay calm in stressful situations? Let us know in the comments section below.