When serious situations arise in your life it's a common first instinct to panic. Whether it's trouble at work, troubling news from the doctor or a concerning discussion with a family member, when challenging situations arise it can be easy for stress to creep into our lives.
Learning to stay calm under pressure and keep your head up after a crisis are key tools to being able to manage stressful situations.
Stress in your life is often unavoidable, whether it comes from work, family or your personal life. Figuring out how to deal with it so that it doesn't completely shatter your world is key to living a healthy lifestyle.
If possible, try not to react to challenging situations right away. Instead try to find your patience and collect as much information as possible before you react. Ask yourself, if this situation going to impact you in a year from now? If it will, it's time to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. By removing yourself from the situation you can take an unbiased approach and be less emotional, which will improve your ability to make decisions.
A lot of people take tests or discuss whether they're a optimist, realist or pessimist. Frankly, you can be all 3 depending on the situation at all. Try to practice a little more optimism in your life by knowing your triggers. That doesn't mean ignoring the reality of the situation, it just means taking a challenging situation and look at it in a new way.
For example, after a job loss, you may feel down on your luck and defeated, thinking "I'll never recover from this." An optimist will acknowledge the challenge ahead and spin it in a more hopeful light. "This is going to be difficult, but it's a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy."
Call a Friend
Don't be afraid to lean on your support system during stressful times. Someone who isn't emotionally invested in the situation can offer a different perspective to your situation and help you arrive at potential solutions. When you reach out to people you trust you feel more grounded a less alone. That security will help control your stress and anxiety, which will provide you a solid relief moving forward.
Rewrite Your Story
You don't have to let your past define you or the crisis you have faced become all you are. Instead re-frame the situation by focusing on the opportunity that the setback presented. A trauma victim , Dr. Charney who was recovering from a shooting said, "Once you are a trauma victim it stays with you. But I knew I could be a role model. I have thousands of students watching my recovery. This gives me a chance to utilize what I've learned."
Continue to the next page for 6 more ways to deal with a crisis.
Don't Make It Personal
We have a tendency to lay blame for life's setbacks and often tend to ruminate about what we should have done differently. This often makes the situation worse and feels as though it will never end. Instead boost your resilience and remind yourself that even if you did make a mistake, there were many factors that continued to the problem and focus on the next steps you could take to solve the problem.
Remember Your Past Comebacks
While it can be hard to relate to people who are in a tougher situation than you, like war refugees, or a person battling cancer, one person you can always relate to is yourself! Remind yourself of the challenges you have personally overcome to boost your confidence.
"It's easier to relate to your former self than someone in another country," said Dr. Grant. "Look back and say, 'I've gone through something worse in the past. This is not the most horrible thing I have faced or will ever face. I know I can deal with it.'"
People who have strong support systems tend to be more resilient because of the people they have surrounding them. You can get an even bigger resilience boost by giving support.
"Part of resilience is taking responsibility for your life, and for creating a life that you consider meaningful and purposeful," said Dr. Southwick.
Look at Stress Differently
Stress is a regular part of life, but how you look at can make the difference between a manageable day and a terrible day.
"You have to invite stress into your life. A human being needs stress; the body and the mind want stress."
Realizing that you will never remove stress from your life will make it easier for you to cope in difficult times. Instead create opportunities for the body to recover from stress. Take a walk, spend 5 minutes mediating or go out to lunch with good friend to help put your mind and body at ease.
Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Build your resilience by putting yourself in challenging situations intentionally. Take an adventure vacation, run a triathlon or share your secret poetry at a poetry slam among strangers.
"Your stress hormone systems will become less responsive to stress so you can handle stress better," Dr. Charney advises.
When you're experiencing a crisis, you may be tempted to run and grab a cup of coffee to clear your head. Caffeine may in fact trigger a release of adrenaline, which will give you a quick burst of energy, but the crash will be followed with fatigue and irritability. Instead of reaching for your favorite caffeinated beverage, try hydrating with water instead.
Which of these tactics do you use? Share with us in the comments.