Don’t react; Respond: 10 ways to handle stressful situations

The way you react to stress can lead to chaotic circumstances. Unfortunately, you can’t always be in complete control of your emotions, especially in anxiety-triggering settings. However, there are ways you can calm your nerves down, turn your back on anger, and look at the situation with a clear mind.

Here are 10 things you can do to handle stressful situations the best way possible: 

1. Breathe. 

When experiencing stressful situations, you often feel as if your heart pounds with the speed of light. Moreover, such overwhelming moments make you lose your composure and say hurtful things you don’t really mean. But you can avoid all that by taking deep, calming breaths. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat until you feel better.

2. Take a walk. 

If the breathing exercise doesn’t do the trick, go for a nice relaxing walk. For a few minutes, distance yourself from the person or the situation that frustrates you. This will allow you to clear your headspace and look at the issue from another perspective. It won’t be not running from your problems but taking time to assimilate them so you can be in the right mind when it comes to solving them.

3. Put reason over emotion. 

In stressful settings, our reactions are often provoked by the emotional explosion that bursts inside our minds. Although this is a natural response, it sometimes prevents us from understanding the actual facts surrounding the event. What happened is not defined by how you feel about it. So next time you find yourself in an anxiety-triggering situation, take note of the facts. This will guide you towards the steps you might need to make for damage control.

4. Recognize the real problem. 

By putting reason over emotion, you would be able to acknowledge the real issue. Even though a certain situation is frustrating you, that doesn’t mean it’s a personal problem. You might be reacting so negatively only because the other person is behaving differently from you. What you need to understand, in case you can relate to this point, is that you must listen to what others have to say before disregarding their opinion. They might surprise you with a whole new perspective or a solution you never even thought about.

5. Act according to the current situation. 

In times of anger, we allow negative emotions that have been piling up for a long period of time to consume us. While the current situation may have nothing in common with the issues your mind is bringing up, your reaction could be provoked entirely by the resentment you have been bottling up for so long. To avoid that, you should ask yourself whether your attitude fits the specific situation. Perhaps you are affected by other factors that are contributing to your frustration.

6. Clarify whether the stressful event was an accident. 

Accidents happen, whether we like it or not. Some might trigger us to the point where we lose control and lash out at people who don’t deserve to be treated that way. That is why recognizing when a certain aggravating situation was an accident is crucial. It gives you a level of compassion and understanding that you wouldn’t have if you simply give in to negative emotions.

7. Think of what you can do to fix the issue. 

Usually, the triggering settings that make you feel stressed out can be fixed. It may require a high degree of devotion and determination, but it is certainly not the end of the world. When the damage that has been done is controllable, you should take time to think of the steps you can take to improve the situation. Shake the anger off and focus your energy on figuring out how you can contribute to a positive outcome.

8. Consider the other person’s viewpoint. 

Before snapping out, remember that there are always two sides to every story. The way you feel about a particular situation may be contrasting completely the way the other person sees it. So once you manage to calm down, don’t hesitate to approach them and ask them about the way they perceive the circumstances. Don’t argue. Don’t interrupt. Just listen. The whole thing might turn out to be a big misunderstanding.

9. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

What if the roles were reversed? How would you want the other person to respond to the situation? Determine the rational, attentive, empathetic reaction you would like to receive. Only then will you be able to reply reasonably, with consideration for the one standing before you.

10. Take a step back before moving forward. 

Give yourself time to mentally absorb every aspect of the situation before focusing on something else. Don’t let anything unsolved wander around your mind because that’s how negativity piles up.

Do you have other tips on how to deal with stressful situations? Let us know in the comment section!

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