How to Manage Stress and Succeed in Turbulent Times

 

6 ways to manage short and long term stress


I could not laugh when everyone was rolling over their seats that day. We had guests and were watching a new comedy on Netflix after dinner. Lost in my own thoughts, my lips didn’t move, and eyes didn’t blink. Although I was looking at the TV, but I was watching something else. My imaginary world.

The next day was my big presentation at the new workplace I had started at a month ago.

The elephant in the office wanted to review it.

Since I was new, I had limited information to comprehend the consequences of a cheesy presentation. People did not know me that well.

I had no way to verify that my data analysis would match the expectation.

And I wanted everyone and boss to form a good perception about myself. Settling into my new workplace quickly was my top priority.

My boss’s puffy face appeared the moment I closed my eyes.

I could not even sleep that night.


Many times, I have been in such situations. Different circumstances, similar stress levels.

What could I have done? What would you do in my place?

In the past, I had taken the easy way out. Took stress. And crushed my dreams.

Yeah, because you could not sleep at such night.

Most of us take stress in these situations and lose the ability to think clearly.

I had lost it millions of times when I had an exam the next day, during my book launch, a big presentation, at the time of a big financial decision, or interviewing for a job.

That’s not enough. I have gone for hours without eating because I needed to think. On normal days, I can not even stand not eating for 3 hours.

Yes, I used to have an enormous belly, although losing weight is a different story.

In such times, even my belly understands I would not feed her.

Stress makes you do crazy things.

We make it more important than playing with our son or calling our mom. We can not focus on our relationships because we need time to think of all the likely outcomes.

Though in most cases the outcome is positive, or at least tends to be that, but a day or night before, it becomes terrible to bear the Tick-Tock of a clock.

Each time, it robs me of my normal feelings and routine. And I am not the only one who takes stress. My complete family takes that stress.

You know, it’s not worth it. One person’s stress affects so many people. And it’s horrible when it lasts for weeks or months. The lives of everyone around you suffer during that time.

But we can not completely avoid anxiety. Even people with the most balanced minds face stress in the complexities of everyday life.

Stress is like a chronic inflammatory disease that even medication cannot eliminate.

You can only manage it.

Let us look at how we can manage stressful times-

Seize What Is in Your Control

If you already knew about a tricky situation, prepare well and practice enough, whether it’s an exam, a job interview, a public appearance or anything else.

Good preparation will give you the confidence at such moments knowing that you have done everything right in your control. Then failure would depend only on external factors that no-one can control.

Managing Short-Term Stress

It persists for a short period, such as a day or a week. Once you have things under control, dealing with this stress then depends mostly on how you spend your time in waiting for the upcoming event or waiting for the results.

1. Spend Quality Time with Your Friends and Family

Spend time with people who make you happy. These are those people who are happy in their own lives and wish good things for you.

They will tell jokes to make you laugh, will watch movies, will spread gossip that is not negative.

2. Watch a Movie That You Have Already Seen

Movies can change the entire course of the thought process. When we are in stress, we do not want to use our brain much, and this is where movies can be very useful. Movies do not make you use your brain because everything is happening in front of your eyes. You just have to sit back, relax, watch and entertain yourself.

Watch a movie that you have already seen because then you would know the ending. No surprises, and when you watch a comedy, a soothing movie, you would expect yourself to laugh during the play.

3. Watch Short Form Videos

Short video content presents a valuable proposition to laugh multiple times in 5 minutes. The content creators usually post short, positive videos from their lives, they criticize/imitate celebrities, politicians or entrepreneurs, or make a video about weird scenarios of life. Most of the time, they make you laugh.

Watching these random videos for a short time is beneficial to take your mind drift away from the current stress.

I sometimes watch snippets of The Kapil Sharma Show on YouTube when I do not have enough ideas to write or feel bad and do not feel like doing anything.

4. Color with Your Child

If you have a toddler or child around, engage with them in a coloring activity. For example, drawing the borders of animals, plants, trees, and objects and having the child put different colors within the borders. Also, color with them as it engages your mind. This, combined with a happy child, will relax your mind. For the moment, you will forget everything.

Engaging in such simple tasks with children will keep your anxiety at bay. This one is my go-to thing now a days.

5. Go Grocery Shopping

If you are reasonably fit and have no problem standing for long periods of time, then this is a great way to pass the time.

6. Engage in a Hobby

Read, write, paint, sing, drive. Do what makes you feel good, and you will see yourself smiling again.


Manage Long Term Stress

It persists for weeks or sometimes a month. Before we fall into the trap of this never ending long-term stress, it is better to do these things.

1. Know the Worst That Could Happen

Think of the worst that could happen if the outcome does not turn out the way you want it to.

Go to the extreme. Think of the end.

With that, you would know the repercussions. It would not be a surprise. It will mentally prepare you to face it.

2. Develop Workarounds

Now that you know the worst. Make a backup plan, a workaround. For example, a workaround for your job loss is to have money for your six months of expenses. In this time, you might find another job. I always try to have that much money with me, and it also gives me the confidence to have tough conversations with people who have the power to impact my career.

3. Prepare Your Family

If it’s something that can impact your family, let them know that something could happen. Surprises like this are not good for a family to handle. If they know beforehand, at least you will have a calming environment at your home.

4. Ask For Help

Think and find out who are the friends, relatives who are ready to help you in any situation. Inform them you might need their help. Never hesitate to ask your close friends for help. You know who will not judge you and will be with you through thick and thin.

5. Find Out Your Weakness

Introspect and find out a weakness that puts you in this situation. Please never think that you are the best. Likewise, never think that you are the weakest. Neither is true. The best and the weakest are relative to circumstances.

Figure out your weakness in the current situation and quietly work on it in the background.

6. Use Your Strengths

Sometimes people do not know what they are good at. They need other people to convince them they are great. Do not look too hard for outside validation to find your strengths.

It’s so simple that any trait you have been using for a long time — say five years — that has never let you down is your strength.

Find out how you can use your strengths in your current situation.

There will always be failures in your life. Some small, some big. Make a note that when you are in a stressful situation, it means you are expecting an impending failure in your life. This is many times better than an unexpected failure. It is a good sign that you are aware of your surroundings. Failure would not affect you much if you can take advantage of these opportunities, and who knows, you might convert it into a success.


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Chetan Maheshwari

Hello, I am a Project Management Professional, and an author and a blogger by passion. I like good sarcasm and humor. Books, people around me, and nature inspire me, and my blogs and book reflect the same.

12 Comments

Let me know what you think

  1. This matters much in these troubled times.

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  2. You have brilliantly enlisted the pointers to move on from stressful moment. Indeed a much needed post for me.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, I am glad it is helpful, we all need such pointers from time.

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  3. Painting and gardening also helps in anxiety/stress management. I liked the points you have shared for managing stress....

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Painting and gardening help too. Thank you so much, I am happy you liked it

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  4. Couldn't agree less on the stress front and the toll it takes on family life. I am glad you wrote this post and shared these valuable tips to manage stress.

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  5. Painting and watching a movie already seen yes all are great ways. Helpful post.

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  6. Painting and spending time with my friends have always worked out for me. It's my way to manage stress and rejuvenate myself. Lovely, doable pointers .

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  7. The most i love is to spend time with kids. I tend to forget all worried when they are around

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  8. Use your strengths.That advice is golden

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