If you’ve been hanging out with me here on the blog, or on my social media channels (Instagram & Facebook), you’ve probably learned a few tips for how to manage your stress long-term? But what about those stressful moments that pop up when life throws you a curveball like a troubling diagnosis, or when your toddler is throwing a tantrum, or your boss has added yet another to-do to your already long list?
Keep reading to learn my top tips for dealing with stress in times like these!
Let’s talk about chronic stress for a moment…
Before we dive into how to deal with stressful moments, I do want to mention that having a consistent stress management practice of some sort is crucial for being able to deal with the stress of being a human in an unpredictable world.
According to this article from VeryWellMind, chronic stress is the result of experiencing stress at such a frequency or intensity that the autonomic nervous system doesn’t have a chance to tell us that it’s ok to relax – a key element in the completion of the stress cycle and avoiding burnout.
Without being able to complete the stress cycle, every stressor we experience triggers our fight, flight, or freeze response and makes it even harder for us to deal with the next stressor – no matter how big or small the stressor may really be. For this reason, managing our stress on a daily basis by practicing effective self-care (as mentioned in this blog post) and using techniques that help trigger the relaxation response, like EFT Tapping, are a crucial part of being able to deal with stressful moments in a healthy way.
And, if you’re still struggling with stress management on the regular, I’m so glad you’re here! Don’t miss my time management worksheets to help you on the road to managing your stress. Just fill out the form below to snag your FREE copy!
When life gives you lemons…
Before you make some lemonade (aka – make the most of the situation), you need to get through the moment, right? And since you’re here reading this post, I know you’re wanting to get through the moment with as much ease and grace as possible. I’m sure you’d also love to get through it with clarity of mind and heart so that you can truly process whatever it is you’re dealing with and move into the next moment, then the next, and the next – without losing yourself.
Below you’ll find some of the top tips that I’ve learned to help deal with stress as it arises so you can get through the moment without creating that chronic stress reaction that we discussed earlier. It should be mentioned that these are to support a regular stress management practice, not replace it.
Top 10 Ways to Deal With Stressful Moments
- Learn to identify your physiological reaction to stress
- Maybe your heart races, your palms get sweaty, or you start to breathe more quickly. By recognizing the way stress manifests itself in our bodies, we bring our attention to the present moment, pausing the stress cycle and giving ourselves time to address the cause of our stress.
- Practice deep breathing
- This is another great way to bring your attention back to the present moment by helping to calm racing thoughts and soothe your nervous system. Once you feel more centered, you’ll be able to face your stress with a clear mind.
- Engage your senses
- Try the 54321 technique: While taking deep breaths, name (silently or out loud) 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste (if you can’t taste anything at the moment, think of your favorite thing to taste). This technique is another amazing way to reign in racing thoughts, feelings of anxiety, and to help you feel more grounded and emotionally regulated.
- Write about it
- If the situation allows, take a moment to freeform write, letting all your thoughts and worries about the situation out. You can either keep this for further reflection at a later time or tear it up and throw it away as a symbol of releasing the stressful thoughts.
- Vent to a loved one
- Having a strong support system is one of the best ways to deal with stress. So the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, give a friend a call or text or find an online group for people dealing with similar situations. Especially now, online groups can be an amazing way to find connections and support from others who are going through the same things we are.
- Find something to be grateful for
- I believe that even in the toughest situations, there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small that something may seem. By allowing ourselves to experience gratitude even when we’re stressed, we acknowledge that life is multi-faceted as well as helping our brains reduce the production of stress hormones and increasing the release of dopamine and serotonin – the “feel good” chemicals.
- Spend time appreciating nature, even if you have to do it indoors
- Whether it’s looking at the sky out of a window, or taking a walk to clear your head, appreciating nature helps us see the bigger picture and helps reduce the feeling of the world closing in on us – a common feeling when we’re stressed or overwhelmed. Even looking at pictures of nature on your phone or computer can have a similar effect, though nature itself is always the best choice if it’s available.
- Repeat a positive affirmation, prayer, or mantra
- Whether you’re part of a faith tradition, or you prefer not to be, the power of repeating positive affirmations or sacred words helps boost confidence, trigger the rewards system in the brain, and helps us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.
- Tap it out
- EFT Tapping is another powerful way to bring ourselves back to the present moment, as well as helping to diffuse the energy of stress as well as creating new neural pathways that can help us process and overcome the stress we’re feeling. You can get started with this quick & easy guide to tapping, or head over to YouTube where you can search for tapping sequences on whatever is troubling you.
- Focus on what you CAN control
- A lot of the time, we feel stressed out because we feel out of control – and sometimes, this is entirely the case. When we’re feeling overwhelmed by what’s not in our control, we can focus on what is: our response to the situation, our breathing, and how we choose to move from one moment to the next. By surrendering what isn’t in our control, and focusing on what is, we shift our energy to where it’s most useful and gives us a sense of empowerment over the situation.
Dealing with stress isn’t about eliminating the stressors…
I hope the tips above have helped empower you to navigate thoughtfully through stressful moments with a bit more ease. Remember: stress management isn’t about getting rid of the things in our lives that stress us out, because life itself is stressful! It’s about pausing and utilizing techniques like the ones above that help us regain our sense of clarity so we can deal with whatever comes our way.
Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to share it with your friends!
Until next time,