I get a lot of questions all the time asking me how to handle stress in times of distress so I felt it was important to address this and share 5 tips that will get you out of stress zone.
How do you handle those awful moments when you are boiling inside and yet, smiling on the outside?
How long can you keep the fake smile on your face without handling the stress that is eating at you?
Will it end up causing you physical harm, like upping your blood pressure? Or sending you diving into that gooey chocolate cake sitting in the kitchen? Or yelling at your neighbor for parking too close to your driveway?
The following story is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent:
Dottie was furious with her boss for constantly calling her on Friday afternoons, that is every Friday afternoon, to pour on extra work she would need to get done over the weekend.
She never spoke up directly. Instead, she would chomp down some chocolate and take a walk. Then she would count backwards from 100 to calm down.
Finally, she would visualize her boss as an angel and tell him it was too much work, and this fictitious angel boss would smile and say not to worry and get it done when she could.
However, the resentment kept building, and no amount of chocolate, counting, or visualizing really made a difference.
That was until that fateful team meeting.
She was sitting about two people away from ‘the ogre’ at dinner and when he said “Dottie, will you please pass the butter” she had hit her boiling point and watched these words pour from her mouth “Here, take the damn butter and by the way, I think you are an overbearing jerk and I hope you choke on your food.”
Moral of the story: Ignoring upset will cost you sooner or later.
The best way to handle the mad is to face it and not brush it under the rug.
Here are some techniques that will help you handle stress when it is over the top high that will keep you true to yourself, let you be heard, and yet not cause a major rift.
- Stop: Take a deep in-breath and blow it out like you are blowing out candles on a cake. This will help you recalibrate, handle stress, and decide the next step.
- Detach: Notice where the anger and stress reside in your body. Just observing this will help you calm down
- Vent: Find someone you trust and use your most creative language to let the mad out. No one to talk with at the moment? Talk to yourself and let it rip. Ride the upset like a wave destined to soon come to shore and you’ll handle the stress like a pro.
- Visualize: See the other person as a little kid looking out the window with no one to play with. Often the one who makes too many demands or makes you feel like crap is really a frightened child inside. This makes it less intimidating when you are ready to tell your truth.
- Restructure: Change the negative thoughts of revenge and disappointment to the positive of “I can handle stress successfully.”
I think that how we handle stress is one of the most vital areas for relationship success, whether with work colleagues or family members.
I’m launching my new masterclass “How to Stay in The Safe Stress Zone During Tough Times” and learn to take charge of how you respond this week and will be making a special announcement with details on how you can view it.
And, by the way, in case you wondered, yes, Dottie was fired and had a devil of a time getting a new job.