From time to time, we are put in stressful situations. These situation could last for hours, days, weeks, or even longer. Many times, there’s very little you can do about the external circumstances that bring on stress. Things just happen. However, you have a lot of control over the way you react to these circumstances.
Although I am still relatively young, I have been through some stressful situations in life. I used to have a lot of anxiety when dealing with people and new situations. My parents were immigrants so they didn't always understand what was typical in American society. Because of that, I always felt different than my peers in school, causing me to be shy. Developing confidence was harder for me due to these cultural differences. Even in high school and college, I struggled to truly be myself. It was years into my adult life before I had resolved and understood a lot of those differences, and gained the confidence to accept my background and where I came from. Throughout that time, I had to put up with a lot of stress in my everyday life to get to where I am today. Even today, when I go to job interviews, networking events, or social events, I can still feel anxiety come up.
Stressful situations may come from work, relationships, new opportunities, or basically anything out of the norm. Whenever something different and special happens, it pushes us in a new direction and gives us a chance to grow. However, in order to grow, we must learn to handle the stress that comes with it. After a lot of self-discovery, questioning, and experience, I have found several ways that work for me. In my experience, these are the most effective ways to deal with stress.
1. Change your mindset
Whether you are conscious of it or not, the way your mind talks to yourself has a huge impact on the way you respond to situations. For example, if you have an important meeting coming up, you may be extremely stressed out because your mind is saying, “I’m going to screw something up.” You might not even be aware that your mind is saying that, but you just feel the anxiety and stress. If you have a big date coming up, your mind might be saying “This is my only chance, if I don’t impress her, I’ll be single forever!” Or if you have an interview coming up, your mind might be subconsciously saying, “There’s too much competition from other people, there’s no way they’ll consider me!”
If your mind is saying something negative, you’re going to feel a lot of stress as that big interview or big date approaches. One way to deal with that stress is to change your mindset and beliefs. This transformation is not as hard as it sounds. Your mind is fairly impressionable, especially if you can focus well. In general, you want to cultivate a mindset of abundance and confidence.
If you have a big meeting coming up and you are anxious that things won’t go well, say to yourself, “I can do this, I am fully capable of blowing this out of the park. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t get all my ducks in a row.” Be sure to really emphasize it. As a result, you’ll increase your own confidence and calm your nerves.
If you have a big date or interview coming up, I recommend cultivating more of an abundance mindset. You can say to yourself, “There are plenty other fish in the sea if this one doesn’t work out. There are so many possibilities out there! I know that I’m worth it and there’s bound to be multiple options for me.” For an upcoming interview, you can try “There are so many employment opportunities I can go for besides this one. I have a good skillset, I’m bound to find something.”
I personally think that this is a very powerful way to relieve stress. Not only does it relieve stress, it helps you deal with similar situations in the future since you have empowered yourself to face greater challenges. It addresses the core issues that you have. By changing your mindset, it will also change the way you react to circumstances. You’ll react to circumstances with more confidence, poise, and calm.
2. Change your focus
Sometimes, it is necessary to focus on something else. For example, if you are stressed out over some drama at work, going for a run or playing sports can take your mind off of that situation. If you enjoy painting, you can focus your attention on producing a new piece of art. If you have friends, hanging out with them might be just the perfect remedy to relieve stress from whatever situation you are dealing with.
Changing your focus is a good short-term remedy to relieve stress, and that may be all you need if your life is relatively balanced. However, it doesn’t address the core issues that cause you to respond negatively to difficult circumstances.
Meditation is a way to cleanse your mind of all the conscious and subconscious thoughts you may be having. I discovered it when I was going through a tougher time and a family member recommended a book that introduced me to meditation. It is probably not practical for you to meditate all day. Thankfully, just 10-15 minutes may be enough for you to clear your mind. By clearing your mind, the stresses of your day will gently wash away.
Breathing meditations where you focus on your breath may be the most common type of meditation. However, I recommend going beyond just being aware of your breath and try to cultivate an awareness for your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. More importantly, be aware of how each of these are connected and how they affect each other. Just simple awareness of how various triggers affect you and how your thoughts, emotions, and body are impacted by each other can be truly transformative in the way you deal with difficult circumstances. Rather than trying to fight or suppress your negative emotions and thoughts, just try to be aware and accept them. Consistent awareness of strong mental patterns, adverse emotional reactions, and physical bodily reactions can be enough to dissipate them and free you from them
In addition, the techniques that you use in meditation can be applied throughout the day. If you feel nervous or anxious during the day, you can pay attention to your breath, notice the various body sensations that arise, or notice your thoughts. All these techniques are cultivated during your meditation practice and can be used when times get tough. When you use these techniques, you become present to the moment and are no longer focused on the thoughts that bring you stress. If you are interested in getting started with meditation, I recommend this product here.
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