Staying Calm Under Stress

audio version (opens in a new tab)

 

During the past several weeks, I have been discussing advocacy skills. As I stated in

my article about assertiveness,

it is important to remain calm when advocating. Calmness can also help in dealing with stressful situations, such as stress caused by the current worldwide health situation. In this article, I will discuss calmness strategies and provide resources.

 

I recognize that I do not always react to some situations in a calm manner, but it has been my goal to do so in recent years. I have found that, if possible, it can help to anticipate difficulties which may occur to prepare a response for them in advance. Of course, that is not always possible. I have learned from experience the value of focusing on what is happening in the moment, instead of any negative feelings I may be experiencing. Doing so can enable focus on the goal to achieve, rather than feelings which can change like the wind. I will give an example from my past experience to illustrate the points above.

 

Several years ago, I was in a situation which I had not anticipated and was not prepared for. I reacted based on how I was feeling, which did not help at all. If I could go back in time and relive the event, I would have handled it differently. If I possessed a time machine, I would give myself positive self-talk such as the following. “Calm down, Blake! Getting stressed out isn’t helpful. Focus on how you can respond to improve the situation.” My goal would be to slow down and calm down, leading to a more positive response. I will now provide some useful resources.

 

There are online resources about this subject. For example, I suggest this

video: “How to stay calm at work when under stress”.

The presenter points out that calmness is related to self-confidence. He recommends analyzing past situations to learn from them. Three of the five strategies he recommends include deep breathing, not reacting to every situation and not allowing yourself to take provocation (being provoked) personally. I also suggest this article:

“10 Tricks Successful People Use to Stay Calm in Stressful Situations”.

Some tips the article recommends are identifying what is causing stress, remaining positive, relaxing if possible and identifying a plan to reach the desired goal. Although remaining calm under stress requires effort and practice, it is a skill worth learning.

 

Question for readers: What strategies have you used to remain calm in stressful situations? I will return next week with another article.

 

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