In today's article we are going to talk about how to deal with stressful situations. There is no doubt that we are experiencing a very stressful reality, which is forcing us all to learn how to deal better with these kinds of situations. In all of the storms of life it is our job to be the calm amidst all the storms. The only person we can control is ourselves. One of my favorite insights was found written on a crypt, written by an unknown monk in 1100AD:
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world”.
What wise words. The only person will ever be able to change is ourselves. But perhaps, through changing ourselves, we are able to influence others to change as well. Here follows some ideas to help you deal with stressful situations.
1. Always anticipate and ask others how to deal with stressful situations.
At the moment, we know that the real challenges which will emerge in the aftermath of this virus is not even fully understood yet. We know it is coming, but how are you preparing yourself for it? If, like in our country and many countries around the world, you find yourself in lockdown, use the time wisely.
- Go seek guidance. Read about it, listen to audio recordings, find podcasts. In other words seek advice from those in the know on how to effectively deal with the stress which is to come.
- Do not wait until you are fully immersed in it before you start looking for answers. If you do not prepare yourself properly, you will be reacting to what will happen instead of responding to it.
- Do not set yourself up for failure. If you do not anticipate the emotions you are going to experience in the coming months, the situation will win. Say to yourself, “Ok, I know that things might get tough up ahead. Who can I ask, or what can I learn to help me deal with it if and when it arrives?"
2. Create a pre, during and post stress management plan.
As I shared, the real challenges which will result from this pandemic has not even happened yet. Start planning now for how you will deal with it.
- If you are in lockdown, how are you going to deal with things you have no control over right now? We are all so used to the illusion of being in control of everything in our lives, that the realization that we actually are not, is very stressful.
- How are you going to deal with this?
- Once the real effects of the pandemic hit us, how are you going to deal with that?
- Once the world has learnt how to move on with their lives and we face a world which has changed in many unforeseeable ways, how are you going to deal with that?
3. Visualize and role model.
Role play how you are going to stay centered and calm through the storm. Remember that your mind does not know the difference between something which is real and something which is imagined. We see the evidence of this right now. All around us people are busy visualizing the worst case scenario before it has even happened so we are already able to do this.
Well, the good news is that it works the other way as well. We can just as easily visualize the best case scenario. Neither exists yet, except in our minds.
- Start role playing how you will deal with the stress.
- Start seeing how you will be that rock – that center of strength for yourself and your community.
- Fear mongering is thinking about the outcomes and seeing it in your mind going bad every single time. Visualizing is thinking about it and seeing it go well in your mind every time. Visualization should always be a positive thinking exercise.
You are not oblivious to what is happening, in other words you are still noticing what could happen. But the difference is that you are already role playing in your head how you will effectively deal with each possible scenario.
4. Don’t go it alone.
This is a very important principle in helping us deal with stress, especially now that most of us are finding ourselves in isolation.
The more alone we feel, the more stressed we are going to feel. There are many people online reaching out to support each other right now. As an example, we are going to be starting a 21-day reach out to the world program. In this free online program, we are going to do a 21-day program to help us all learn how to deal with the current situation, as well as use this time to rebuild parts of our lives. In other words, we are going to turn this challenge into an opportunity for growth.
We will be doing the following 21-day challenges where you will:
- start seeing the abundance in the world all around you
- reconnect with yourself and your mind
- reconnect with your health and your body
- reconnect with your partner and your relationships
- release the past and get ready for the future
We will be touching on all these areas for a few minutes each day so that we can all grow in these areas through the rough times. Please feel free to join us by visiting www.changecreator.co.za and you will find the process to sign up to be a part of this.
The point is that you do not have to go through these stressful times alone.