7 Ways to “Practice Safe Stress” during times of confusion and chaos

safe stress zone

Summary: Whether you attack or retreat, you remain in the “chasm of chaos” till you find your way to the safe stress zone. Here is the route to get to both safety and success.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I need help. Right now!

Can you give me a quick, simple way of handling all the stress that comes at me?

While I cannot hide, I’m unsure what to do to stop the impending tsunami of anger from decking me.

Anger can cause serious physical or emotional issues if not handled up front.

The way I usually respond is to shut down and not say what I want.

Then I just become angrier and angrier and want to avoid the jerk/s who caused me so much annoyance.

Damn, then nothing gets done.

Suggestions, please.



There are better ways to handle anger than what you learned as a kid.

There are better ways to handle anger than what you learned as a kid.


Firstly, you are not alone. Here s a composite of questions I hear from others.

What can I do when others are driving me nuts?

I fall apart when I can’t catch my breath because people ask so much of me. Now what?

Then others mention the following: Why must I change my schedule to please others who claim to need me? 

Traditional ways of handling anger lead down dead-end paths.

Do you go on the attack and say whatever comes to mind to get back at the offenders?

Or do you slide away quietly and go into hibernation, hoping that by ignoring the situation, you will be okay?

Guess what?

I am attacking or retreating leads to the same place—more aggravation.

Either way, you lose!

Using these typical methods to handle stress won’t solve the problem.

Okay, you want to know what will solve the problem?

Do you want to learn how to practice safe stress?

Here are some ideas to help you gain control when you begin to wobble while responding to others.

FIRST: Emotions reside either in Freakoutville or Zombieville.


  • Drama kings and queens who take up all the space with their rantings
  • Rebels who are never willing to compromise
  • Superachievers who push everyone aside, so they are always first
  • Bully persecutors who put others down to feel good about themselves

ZOMBIEVILLE fills with:

  • Procrastinators who make excuses so they cannot be held accountable
  • Avoiders who run in the other direction to avoid conflict
  • Deniers who pretend that all is fine and won’t look at difficulties
  • Pleasers who say yes to be liked and pretend they are happy to help

Learn about your primary pattern of responding. To master anger.

Once you can pinpoint your typical way of responding, you can learn to “reverse the curse” of getting your buttons pushed and falling victim to your own worn-out, repetitive patterns of reacting.

Yes, it is a curse to keep getting caught in outdated, ineffective ways of behaving.

Only YOU can make the changes to get out of Freakoutville or Zombieville and get into the SAFE STRESS ZONE.

There is a four-step method to taming your anger.

  1. Think like a computer: Unbridled emotions can limit confidence, communication, and creativity (the 3 Cs of success). Be like a computer and press the delete button once you see you are in the extremes of either Freakoutville or Zombieville.
  2. See the pattern as AAP: It’s just ‘Another Annoying Pattern’ brought to you from the depths of your nervous system meant to keep you safe and secure when you were a kid and no longer needed.
  3. Please don’t feed the weed: When you pull young weeds from the garden, it is super easy to get rid of them. If you provide the weeds, they will grow deep roots, and you must tug and tug to get them out.
  4. Stop the avalanche: Snowballs are fun to throw until they become so large you no longer have control. Maybe make a snowman and put a sock over its mouth.

It will help if you practice staying out of the extremes of over or underreacting.

Staying in either extreme of overreacting or underreacting will continue to pop up like pimples on a teenage face. So, keep clearing your thoughts, and please don’t pick at the scabs.

Physical changes can help keep emotions under control.

Stand and be counted: Good posture diminishes stress. You look better, but you also breathe better, and more oxygen in your body makes for a better mood. Stand, smile (even if you need to fake it at first), and in a few minutes, the anger will subside.

Shrug IT OFF: Bring your shoulders to your ears and then let them drop. Do this rapidly. Inhale while you raise your shoulders and exhale when you lower. Think, “Is this worth fighting or hiding” and shrug it off as you walk into the safe stress zone to communicate effectively.

Learn to tell the truth without spilling your guts for successful anger management.

Practicing SAFE STRESS comes from being able, to tell the truth, stand for what is right, and learn how to say no without defending, explaining, or justifying.

Even better, you save your energy for what is fun and creative rather than staying stuck in anger.

Safe stress is good for you; it’s good for the world.

Here’s to your success,


PS. My book Invisible Stress (It’s NOT What YOU Think) is an easy read with lots of great advice.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options