Coping with a stressful situation

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Louise Hay

Coping with a stressful situation

A stressful situation, however transitory, is a critical moment and, therefore, an opportunity for growth. In this article, we talk about some strategies that can help us manage stress.

Last update: February 19, 2022

There are moments in life that cause us great discomfort. It is also true that every human being reacts differently to adversity. However, it is easy to face a stressful situation, sooner or later. For this reason, today we want to talk to you about some useful strategies in this regard.

In this article, we will review several examples and present some tools for dealing with a stressful situation. Join us!

Stressful situation, what is it?

The definition of stress, according to the Treccani vocabulary, encompasses "The nervous tension, wear and tear, psychophysical fatigue, and also the fact, the situation and the like that are the cause". 

A stressful situation, therefore, concerns what takes us by surprise and can cause us discomfort, be it physical, psychological or social. Remember, however, that whether or not our health will be affected by stress will not depend on a single factor. Sources of stress can be associated with several factors. Among the most common causes we can mention:

  • Overload and dissatisfaction at work.
  • The onset of a disease.
  • Problems in couple, family, work, friendship relationships.
  • Exams.
  • Moving house.
  • Not knowing how to say no.
  • Don't have free time.
  • The death of a loved one.
  • Lack of time to do their homework or free time.
  • Heavy traffic.

While it may seem that all of these causes are mental, some are also physical causes. For example: overexertion, poor posture, lack of sleep, hunger, unusual weight changes, frequent headaches and atopic dermatitis are just a few examples.

Strategies for dealing with a stressful situation

There are several ways to deal with a stressful situation. When we overcome these circumstances, our well-being increases and, as a result, we notice an improvement in our life. However, these strategies require dedication. Let's see some of them.

1. Communication is crucial to coping with a stressful situation

We communicate continuously. However, the question is: do we do it assertively? Communication of this type requires a full awareness of the message we want to convey and a management of our emotions and thoughts in such a way that the message arrives as effectively as possible.

On the other hand, when we talk about communication, we don't just mean what we convey through written or spoken language, but also what is projected through body language. To ensure assertive communication, all these areas must therefore be taken into consideration.

How can communication help us cope with a stressful situation? Because, by conveying the right message, we put a barrier to the tension that could be generated by not manifesting what we think. Plus, it's also a good way to ask for help, joining forces to tackle a given challenge.

2. Emotional management

Good emotional management is essential for dealing with a stressful situation. It can be complex at first, but when we get used to understanding when is the right time to express our emotions and how to do it, it will be easier.

Imagine being at work and being overwhelmed by stress and anger and wanting to throw everything on the ground. The correct thing in that situation would be not to do it, so as not to lose your temper in the workplace. However, you can find another time of day to give free expression to your feelings and lighten this burden, for example through meditation!

3. Resilience after a stressful situation

We can all develop this ability. It's about leaving the problems behind. In other words, moving forward when adversity multiplies. On the other hand, resilience has to do with the supportive elements a person has - which can be human, but also material - as well as with attitude or an effective priority hierarchy - not the ideal, but that that you really use to make decisions.

4. Organize the time available

We can feel overwhelmed thinking that we don't have enough time to do everything we want. It is worth stopping to think about what our priorities are and, based on these, establish a program of activities.

The idea is to follow him and in this regard it is essential not to set exaggerated goals and to be disciplined. This will help us not to self-sabotage.

5. Following a routine helps to cope with a stressful situation

Routine reduces daily cognitive wear. We make a decision and always apply the same decision, which means we don't have to stop at the same intersection every time. This makes it easier for us to devote resources to other decisions, in order to make them less threatening and stressful.

Routine gives us confidence, because we have clear ideas about what we are about to do. On the other hand, it helps us organize our time, and if we have healthy habits, all of this will affect our well-being.

6. Learn to let go

It consists in not anchoring ourselves to a situation. There are some problems we can solve and some we can't; in many cases, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Learning to let go means not swimming against the current; adapt, accept what cannot be changed. Being rigid, in many cases, only increases the tension you have to endure, until there comes a point where we break down.

7. Stay in the present

When we think about what would have happened or what we should have done, we attach enormous importance to the past. In many cases we hurt ourselves by fueling emotions such as shame, sadness or guilt.

Emotions have value, but they are not good or bad. On the other hand, their effect on us, their way of conditioning our mood will largely depend on the management we make of them. One of the many ways to manage our emotions is to hold back all the thoughts that inspire us, and to “chew” and “savor” them over and over again, as if they were candy.

A similar thing happens when we continuously project ourselves into the future. In doing so, we feed anxiety, which can cause us severe discomfort. Thinking about the future is not wrong, what hurts us is to plant our roots in a time that is still uncertain.

To cultivate the present moment, we can use some awareness techniques that invite us to develop our mindfulness. Several studies support the benefits of these practices. Shapiro, Carlson, Astin and Freedman, in their article published in the Journal of Clinic Psychology, demonstrate the effectiveness of mindfulness in treating both physical and psychological symptoms.

Now keep in mind that since it is impossible for us to always be able to do everything, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Some experienced professionals, such as psychologists, can help you cope with a stressful situation or difficult time.

We will come across thousands of stressful situations, which will cause us more or less discomfort depending on the different variables. It will be helpful, however, to consider some of these strategies to get the better of you. Understanding that negative emotions are part of the life path and that it is not negative to feel them, on the contrary it is to contain them or ignore them without managing them.

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