Sometimes life can be exhausting and there may be days when your problems seem endless. When you are dealing with a stressful situation, it may be difficult to keep your composure and calm. The next time you feel like you're going to break down or rant, take a few moments to calm down before reacting, then change your mind about the situation and respond patiently.
Part 1 of 3: Keeping your thoughts and emotions in check
Step 1. Avoid taking things personally
In many stressful situations, you may be tempted to perceive personal persecution or insults when this is not the case. For example, at your workplace, sometimes one of your colleagues will make a decision that you disagree with or that seems inappropriate to you. However, you should avoid taking it as a personal affront and consider it a business decision instead.
- Reaffirm yourself that everyone has their own ideas, and inevitably they won't match yours from time to time. Having different ideas does not necessarily imply an insult to you.
- Avoid letting other people's decisions that are not personal manipulate or control your emotions.
Step 2. Reflect on your outbursts in the past
Consider times in the past when you've reacted to an outburst of emotion, and ask yourself whether outbursts like this have ever actually made a bad situation better. Most of the time, this will not be the case.
Also consider how your emotional outbursts tend to play out, paying attention to the rule, not the exception. Throwing a tantrum may have improved the situation once or twice, but as a general rule, if you react to a sudden outburst of emotion, things will get even more complicated
Step 3. Don't make assumptions
If a person is upset, it is easier to assume that the behavior of those involved in the problem is the worst possible, even without having had confirmation of that behavior. However, often the behaviors and motivations that you might be tempted to assume exist are not real, and therefore you will be stressed out for no reason.
- Similarly, if something does not go well, it is easy to assume that everything will continue to go wrong. However, this assumption could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just by anticipating more problems, you could generate them yourself.
- For example, if you just went through a nasty breakup, you might assume that all of your mutual friends will turn against you once they meet your ex's side. Due to this panic, you could distance yourself from these friends and unintentionally create the same kinds of problems that you fear having.
Step 4. Identify the true source of your frustration
Ask yourself what is really making you feel so upset. It is possible that a certain situation was the trigger, but the latter might not really address the problem itself. You will only have a chance to resolve the situation if you identify what the real problem is.
- For example, perhaps the trigger for your stress is that your instructor or boss gave you a task at the last minute. However, the task itself may not cause you stress, but you may feel personally frustrated because it takes away time that you have wanted to spend with a loved one, or that you feel professionally frustrated because your instructor or your boss makes unfair demands on you in this way on a regular basis.
- Address the problem to avoid others in the future. If you feel frustrated with these last minute tasks, you could talk to your boss to ask him to give you more advance notice of deadlines.
- Also, do not forget that it is also allowed to say no. While saying no to your boss too often shouldn't become a habit if he's the problem, you can still exercise this right on occasion, especially if you have other plans.
Step 5. Call a friend
If you keep stress and frustration to yourself, you will often have a high level of anxiety and this will make it impossible for you to really maintain your composure. To vent, a helpful way is to call a trusted friend, relative, or colleague and rant about your frustrations with this person.
Step 6. Keep a journal or write a letter
In many cases, it helps people to take note of their frustrations in the form of a list, poem, or story. Take a little distance from the situation and spend this time taking note of your emotions. In case you feel angry with someone, you could write a letter but without sending it but only using it as a mechanism that allows you to express yourself.
Keep the letter or note out of sight and consider destroying it when you feel calm
Step 7. Consider the situation objectively
Ask yourself about the way a person who is not related to him would perceive the problem or about the way you would perceive this issue if it happened to someone else and not to you. You must be honest and guide your reactions using your conclusions.
- For example, if someone closed you off in traffic and this bothered you, approach it in an impersonal way. That person could have been an old man or he could have received bad news just before. Avoid assuming he was motivated to upset you.
- Also, ask yourself how a person you admire might deal with a similar situation. By considering what a role model's reaction would be, you can moderate your own reactions and become the version of yourself you want to be.
Part 2 of 3: Staying calm and positive
Step 1. Take several deep breaths
Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale through your mouth. This increases the oxygen in your body and helps you calm down so you don't have an aggressive or inappropriate reaction.
When you panic, your breathing becomes shallower and automatically speeds up. Therefore, if you deliberately slow your breathing and breathe more deeply, you can reverse the panic reaction entirely
Step 2. Exercise
Physical stress may add to circumstantial stress and therefore have a greater chance of overreacting to the situation at hand. Through exercise, you can distract yourself from circumstantial stress and focus for a few minutes on repairing physical stress. If you're at work, you could take a moment to do some exercises at your desk.
- You could also go for a walk.
- If your workplace has a gym or there is one nearby, you could pay for a membership and attend during your lunch break or before you go to work. This is a great way to regularly relieve tension throughout the week.
Step 3. Stretch
If you only have a few minutes, you can best fix your physical ailments by standing up, slowly stretching, and walking around your desk or room a bit, stretching muscles that are stiff from lack. of activity and relieving those who are sore due to excess activity.
Step 4. Eat something
In case you feel dehydrated or dizzy, you can drink some water and have a snack. If lunchtime is coming up, you could get out of your office and have lunch somewhere. You can go on your own if you want to have some time alone to think or with your friends if you want to vent.
- Make an effort to eat healthy foods. These tend to boost your mood and give you more energy, while fast food makes you feel lazy.
- Do not eat sweet foods, as they could aggravate your tension or reactivity.
Step 5. Take a break
Sometimes the best thing to do in a hectic situation is to just distance yourself from it. Take the time to do something you enjoy to distract yourself from the problem you are dealing with. This may change your overall mood and help you come back to the problem later from a calmer point of view.
- For example, if you feel stressed because a colleague said something offensive to you, you could say "Excuse me for a moment" and go to the bathroom or your office to calm down.
- It's better to take even a short break than not take one at all. If you are only able to distance yourself for 5 minutes, take those 5 minutes. If you can give yourself a greater amount of time, do so.
- As an alternative, you can disconnect completely. Get away from your computer, silence your cell phone, and head somewhere to do something unrelated to the digital world. While technology is great, it keeps people so connected that it can seem difficult to escape unless you put it aside for a moment.
- In case it is not possible for you to distance yourself, as another alternative, you can spend a few minutes on a website or practicing some digital activity that makes you happy. You could try a coloring app. These can be very relaxing.
Step 6. Work on something productive
If you spend a lot of time in non-productive activities, your stress level could increase. In case, after taking a short break, you still do not consider that you have regained your composure, you can spend a longer period of time working on something that is not related to your stress but is still productive.
This is particularly effective if you are looking for something that you have intended to do but have continually put off. For example, you could organize your files, organize your room or your office or finish that book that you have started and have never finished
Step 7. Change your attitude to one of gratitude
One way to cheer yourself up is to consider what you are grateful for. The key is to focus on the real sources of gratitude and not to make yourself feel guilty for not feeling gratitude for other difficulties.
Identify what in your life brings you joy (people, your pets, your home, etc.) and meditate for a few minutes on these sources of joy. For example, you could look at a photograph of your family or friends
Step 8. Consider the possibilities
Don't think about all the negative consequences that a dire turn of events brings, but instead consider all the positive consequences that could arise from it. Take current difficulties as opportunities.
- For example, if you have lost your job, your reaction is likely to be initially permeated with fear for the future. However, this time could be a good opportunity to think about your complaints about your old job and consider that you no longer have to deal with those problems.
- Also, if you have lost your job, this is the right time to start thinking about your possible ways to proceed now that your old job no longer limits you.
Step 9. Consider how you will perceive this incident in the future
More specifically, you must consider how you will perceive this incident in the future. Often times, what threatens a person's peace of mind is quite short-lived, so if you look at it from that point of view, it may be easier for you to spend less energy worrying about that problem.
In case you find it difficult to imagine yourself 5 or 10 years in the future, you can imagine yourself 5 or 10 years ago and think about what sources of stress were consuming you back then. In general, you will be able to perceive that what seemed so important at that time no longer has the same importance for you in the present
Part 3 of 3: React in a Patient and Assertive Way
Step 1. Be discreet and respectful
If you have a problem with a person in your personal or professional life and this has caused you stress, you should address it with that person. Pass on your frustrations but without blaming them. Keep your voice at a normal level, without raising it, and show respect for this person.
You could say, "It wasn't right that you interrupted the meeting the other day. I feel like you do that a lot and it frustrates me because I can't share my ideas with you."
Step 2. Control your facial expressions and your body language
You may be someone who does not hide your feelings, but if you are hoping to maintain your composure, you must control your face and your body language. It is possible to show aggression and anger only with your expressions and the position of your body. Therefore, you should instead imitate positive, open and tempting gestures.
- Avoid crossing your arms and frowning.
- Instead, you should sit with your arms in your lap or at your sides. Your facial expression should be kept neutral, without frowning or smiling.
Step 3. Stick your argument to three main points
Instead of bombarding the person you are upset with with a huge number of complaints, you should focus on a few key points that highlight your reasons for being upset. If you overwhelm this person, they are less likely to react in a positive way and are more likely to become defensive.
For example, if, after an argument, you feel upset with your partner, you could say: "I wanted to talk to you about our fight. It bothers me a lot that you interrupt me when I speak, that you try to blame me, and that you insult me when we fight. No I think it is healthy and I would like us to proceed in a more constructive way. "
Step 4. Keep going
After you manage to regain your composure and get your emotions in order, the next step is to move on. This could mean trying to solve the problem or distancing yourself from it entirely.
- When it comes to getting back into action, you should focus only on what you can control: your schedule, your actions, and your interactions. Avoid focusing on what you can only wish to happen.
- Look for practical solutions. Ask for an extension for a tight deadline, and if you're struggling with a difficult relationship or addiction, seek professional therapy.
Step 5. Avoid problems in the future
In many cases, the problems in our life can be avoided. As much as possible, you should try to lead a calm and drama-free life, as this will make you happier and less stressed. Do your part to create a life free of drama.
- For example, if the traffic during your commute in the morning makes you angry, you could leave the house a few minutes earlier so that you have a greater amount of time to get to work. Avoid drowning in a glass of water!
- Conflicts with your colleagues are another possible problem that you could avoid. If you have frequent discussions with a colleague who regularly interrupts you at staff meetings, you could address them privately and discuss them in a way that avoids these problems in the future. You could also talk to your supervisor, who may also deal with the situation.