Stress originates from variations. Any incident that can potentially change your lifestyle can cause stress. However a mild stress can actually work as motivation. Level of stress depends on both external and internal factors. A situation that is producing stress is called a stressor which is an external factor. Its intensity, however, largely depends on individual experience. If a person has any prior experience of a certain kind of stressor, it is highly likely that he will be less stressed in handling the such situation. Working in a late night shift for the first time can be really stressful. But once it becomes a habit, the level of stress reduces to minimum. But there will always be a first time for everything, so it becomes really necessary to have a generalized strategy to deal with the stress that follows.
Identify the stressor
The first step to deal with stress is to identify what’s causing it. Indentifying the cause is not as easy as it sounds to be. Sometimes we wrongly identify a thing as stressor. So even after working on it for a long time the real issue remains unresolved. Sometimes we ourselves take active role in hiding away the real cause. Suppose you’ve been unnecessarily rude to one of your subordinates. Your conscious mind and ego will try to deny and suppress this cause and will continuously point to some other direction. To identify a stressor you need to be honest and flexible. You need to gather enough courage to face the darkness. Do whatever you need to do, be whatever you need to be in order to identify the real cause. Since its entirely a mental process, it needs time and relaxed state of mind. So you may need to physically detach yourself from the stressor for a while.
Moving away from the stressor
This is only temporary. However in some cases you may find it a smarter decision to avoid the whole thing. But if you’re determined to find a permanent solution to it you will probably stick to it. Sometimes your mind is too confused and stressed out to think in a logical way. This comes after immediate occurrence of the stressor, which may actually act as a shock. So you temporarily shift your focus to something else. Suppose you have to arrange a party in your apartment and the very idea scares the hell out of you. You are naturally quite stressed. You should take a break just to regain the relaxed state of your mind. Take a walk, play a game, or just grab a cup of coffee. Banish the stressor from your mind as if it doesn’t even exist. Continue doing it until you become more relaxed and calm.
Gather information on the stressor
Though its nothing like a war but you should be well informed about the thing you’re going to face. The amount of stress decreases with your level of consciousness about the situation at hand. You may need to recall any similar experience that you had faced in the past. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Suppose your boss wants you to go to a place where you’ve never been in your life. To make things worse, all your life you’ve sincerely hated this place. But no you’re obliged to go and that makes you all stressed out. Just shed all the assumptions you had about it. Start learning about this place anew. Approach with a more positive outlook and move your attention away from all the nightmares you had about it.
Get rid of assumptions and expectations
We often have long held beliefs, assumptions about everything we see around us. Sometimes they are injected by our friends and families. They are not always correct. If you hear from one of your colleagues that a certain class is filled with all sorts of obstinate and arrogant students, the idea of teaching those students may sound horrifying. Undue expectations and assumptions of such kind create stress. Unlearn all those assumptions that you think are not based on hard facts. When you face the situation these assumptions can distort your learning process and may take active role in preventing you from accustoming yourself with the environment. There is no need to be scared of something you’ve no idea of. You better go unprepared to face an interview than to stuff your mind with all sorts of stressful assumptions. A traffic jam often appears stressful just because of your assumption that everything should always go right.
Deal with the stressor
You’ve already identified the cause of your stress. You’ve gathered all the important information that you need to deal with the stressful environment. How it’s time to approach the stressor with a composed state of mind. Think yourself as a troubleshooter. Project yourself as a system engineer looking at a mangled computer network. Now you have the necessary expertise to put it all together. Weight your options before you start working. You can always decide to escape the situation, but if you choose to face it, you’ll also discover new ways to withstand it. Finally you’ll come out of the situation wiser and more experienced. Be prepared and ready. Face it boldly. Be optimistic and you’ll always find a source of light even in the most horrifying darkness. If you’re under stress, it’s quite okay; it just means you’re overlooking something good in it. A wise and positive man will always see stressors as opportunity to gain experience and skill.
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