How to handle stressful situations

When we’re in the middle of a serious problem, and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, our perception is cloudy, so we often make the whole thing worse unintentionally. How can we manage stressful situations so we get through them as quickly as possible?

Stress is not a bad thing in itself. It’s a natural reaction of the body, which flushes out the necessary hormones and prepares itself for excessive pressure. We then have faster reflexes, greater endurance and strength, which in certain cases can save our lives. Stress is often the only thing that spurs us into action. A typical example is a student who finally starts studying two days before an exam.

The problem arises when there’s too much stress, so  it acts on our body like a toxin. Today’s world generates an extreme amount of stressors, which is why most of us experience too much stress and don’t know how to handle it.

Filter out the stimuli

The first line of defence is to filter out stress-inducing stimuli.  Your brain is basically a supercomputer, so we can reset our attention to be less stressed. A mother can subconsciously filter out the noise from the street, while her baby’s crying reliably wakes her up. You can work with your mind in the same way.

If you are interested in this topic, you can read more in the article How to think right and change your life.

Although it may not seem like it at first glance, you can to a large extent influence how stressful a situation is for you. You probably can’t keep your cool in life-threatening situations, but you can learn to be cool if you’re late for an appointment and in other similar situations where you get unnecessarily stressed.

Long-term stress

A healthy person has a thousand wishes — a sick person only one. Think of this every time you get into a stressful situation. You always have a choice whether to let your emotions get the better of you or to deal with them calmly.

Long-term stress that remains untreated can cause serious illness or death.

Most people don’t know how to work with stress to relieve it, so it builds up and makes us susceptible to further stressful situations. If you don’t watch out, you’ll get into a state where you live under constant tension and the least things will get to you. In cases like that, a therapist has to step in, so it’s a good idea to work with the stress much earlier and actively prevent it from building up. 

No need to read motivational books, or go to self-help seminars, just go for a run or a bike ride, go to the fitness centre or the pool or just go for a walk. Meditation, sauna, massage or any kind of relaxation you like can also help. It’s important to do it at least once every two days.

Actively working with stress

If a particular stimulus has already increased your stress level, you need to consciously work with it by asking the following questions: What caused this stress? Is there anything I can do about it? If it’s not in my power to change this, am I worrying for no reason? What’s the worst that can happen? 

The point being that we are mostly afraid of things that will never actually happen. What have you been afraid of in the last year? How much of that has actually come to pass?

Learn to work with the thoughts that stress you out. Once you understand the dynamics of a particular stress factor, it will lose its power over you. For example, you’re afraid your partner’s going to leave you because this has happened in the past, but your current relationship is different.  You’re just projecting the past into it, which you can stop at any time. Go through stressful situations gradually and work with their causes.  Do write them down on paper to help you get to know yourself better. 🙂 The point is not to remove all stress from your life, but to identify the places where you are stressing unnecessarily.

It can also help to reorganize your home or office. It’s important to feel comfortable in the space where you spend most of your day. Is your chair set up properly? Do you have a comfortable mattress? How about turning your bed round? Do you have enough light and a high-standard monitor for work? Do you ventilate regularly? Can you light an incense stick or fragrant oil to make you feel better? How about playing some meditation music in the background? I like this for example. 🙂

The more stress factors you remove, the better you will feel in that particular place.

Life management and mental hygiene

Anyone who does not get enough sleep, has excessive sugar in his diet and does not engage in active rest is easily upset by trivialities. So take care of your body. If you give it enough nutrients and rest, it can handle enormous amounts of stress without you noticing.  

Often a simple change in diet, e.g. replacing white bread with wholemeal bread, can help. Our internal energy storage works like a lead-acid battery, which should be recharged after each use, but no later than at 50% of capacity.  If we don’t charge it when it’s half empty, crystals will start to form in the electrolyte. If we don’t start recharging the battery even then, the damage will become irreversible and its capacity will be reduced.

When you buy a lead acid battery, it can have ten or 5000 charge cycles, which means it can last you a month or a decade. The only difference is in the maintenance. It is easiest to charge it after every use (ie after every stressful situation), but no later than at 50% of capacity. If you’re always at full stretch, you’re reducing your capacity and you won’t be able to handle as many stressful situations in the future. An extreme case of this is burnout syndrome.

Expansion of awareness

No one is born laid back or a worrier. We have certain predispositions, but 80% of how we react to stress is a learned response – mostly adopted from our parents. If you work on yourself, you can change your life in the sense that you’ll no longer be upset by situations that used to drive you mad.

Learn to work with your awareness. When you’re stressed, you focus logically on your biggest problem while ignoring other issues. This selective blindness is a hindrance, because it makes you miss out on alternative solutions. In direct proportion, the more comfortable we are, the more vividly we see the world and the potential solutions to the problem. When we feel stressed we see only one possibility, when we feel happy we see three. To expand your awareness in a difficult moment, you can try the following short meditation.

Meditation to reduce stress

Sit comfortably.

Stop noticing the noise around you and listen to your breathing. Gradually relax your entire body. From the tips of your toes, through the middle of your body, your spine, all your joints, your stiff shoulders and neck to your head. Feel every inch of your body and relax all your muscles. Let go of all your problems. All you need to do to live now is to breathe.

Take a deep breath and exhale. Imagine you’re walking uphill. You have a long way to go, but you know you’re going in the right direction, so you don’t worry about when you’ll reach the top.

Don’t look at the goal in the distance, but look under your feet and breathe deeply. One step at a time. Focus on just a small part of the path, you don’t need to know the details in the distance. When you are tired, always sit down and rest for a while. Life is not a race.
Take a deep breath and exhale.

Focus on all the stress and worry that has built up in your body over the last few days. Inhale and exhale as much as you can. Expand your chest, fill your lungs to the brim. Now let all that negative energy out slowly.

Take a deep breath and exhale. 😊


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Jakub has a unique style of writing that grabs the reader from the first lines. His books are not only thrilling, but also full of spiritual messages that can change the lives of individuals and show how we can ultimately transform our society. „We all deserve to be happy,“ he says. „I wrote The Choice to help people realize that. It’s the best feeling in the world when I can see how it has helped somebody to finally wake up and become a better version of themselves.“

– In the last 8 years he has written 100+ articles on personal development, which have been read over million times.
– His first book The Choice became a bestseller in Czech Republic and was published worldwide in 2018