Signs of stress can express differently in different people.
For you it might be increased heart rate or a sinking feeling in your stomach. For others it’s feeling out of control with a scattered mind and loss of concentration.
Whether it be at work, home, or any other situation, here are my tips for regaining clarity in a stressful situation:
Realise they are only thoughts
Often when we’re stressed we feel like we’re letting someone down - our family, our boss, ourselves. But often we have no hard evidence of this and it’s simply a thought we’re having.
I’ve been loving delving into Brooke Castillo’s teachings recently and she constantly reminds us that our feelings are caused by our thoughts and our actions are caused by our feelings.
One more time:
Our feelings are caused by our thoughts and our actions are caused by our feelings.
Here’s an example.
The thought ‘I am falling behind on the housework because I’m too busy’ may bring feelings of inadequacy, stress and overwhelm. Our actions might then be to frantically try to clean the house (when we’re already tired) or to flop on the couch and beat ourselves up with more negative thoughts.
If we realise they are only thoughts and we can change our thoughts, this will often have a major effect on the reduction of stress.
So try reframing the thought - in the example above you might change the thought to ‘I’ve been really busy lately so I should have a quiet night. I’ll get to the housework when I have the space and time to do it.’
Although the example above advocates ease, if you have the headspace, getting organised will often ease the stress going on around you. You might clean your desk at work and start a fresh to do list, or you might try some decluttering at home to free up space.
Once you’re coming from a clearer physical space, you can often see things afresh and start to deal with whatever was stressing you to begin with.
AKA get out of your own head...
As mentioned in my first tip, the stress we feel is pretty much always caused by our thoughts. If we’re alone, with plenty of time to let negative thoughts take over, often the stress won’t dissipate.
Try going to an exercise class, catching up with a friend for coffee or going to lunch with coworkers.
The very act of talking to others about new topics will give you perspective and changing your environment will help reset the stressed feelings.
How do you deal with stressful situations? Let me know in the comments below.