Keeping Perspective: 7 Ways to Stay Sane When Stress Hits



Oct. 27 2014, Published 12:44 p.m. ET

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We have all experienced the uneasy, restless nights associated with stress. Butterflies fill our stomachs, our palms get sweaty, and we bite our fingernails. Deadlines are approaching, people are counting on us, for some reason our family chose tonight of all nights to visit. When life starts to happen, it is easy to loose yourself in worry and doubt. However, Her Agenda is here to help! Below, we’ve complied a list of techniques to help keep everything in perspective. Don’t worry! Everything will work out!

1. Breathe


The first thing a lifeguard has to keep in mind when they see someone drowning is to keep calm. To be in control of a situation, you can’t panic. This is true for all areas of life. Working yourself up can prevent you from doing your best work, and the only way to fight panic is to take a minute or two to breathe deeply. Concentrating on nothing but your breath will allow you to clear your mind of all negative thoughts. Who knows? Maybe it will help you think of something you have not thought of before.

2. Lean on someone


Whether it be your best friend, your significant other, or even your mother, spilling all of your thoughts onto someone who cares about you is extremely beneficial. They will help you sort out your irrational fears from your legitimate stresses. In addition to that, they may be able to offer some helpful advice, or, at the very least, remind you of how genuinely awesome you are.

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3. Change your attitude

Sometimes the only thing we have to do to make a situation better is change the way we look at it. In some instances, you might need to give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that you can do anything, that you have prepared for the moment. In other instances, your pride might be getting in your way. To take the stress off, you may have to ask for help or delegate duties. Analyze the situation as well as your perspective.

4. Stress Is Not A Bad Thing

Kelly McGonigal, presenting her "Health, Happiness, and Success" talk at the American Express "Spotlight on Women" event.

Kelly McGonigal, presenting her “Health, Happiness, and Success” talk at the American Express “Spotlight on Women” event.

This might help you change your attitude about the stress your experiencing. According to new research from several experts including health psychologist Kelly McGonical, stress is not a bad thing! In fact, stress is our body helping us!

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The feeling of stress is simply our body giving us the resources we need to focus and power through the task at hand. Certain hormones are released into our body to make our brain stronger, gives us more oxygen, and helps us to become more perceptive. The bad aspect of stress lies in our mindset. Experiencing stress and believing it’s a negative thing creates a toxic situation. Because you feel stressed and you feel it’s a negative thing you believe something is wrong with you, or your life is too stressful. Ultimately, this leads people to typically try to do more things to escape the experience of stress like shopping, drinking and withdrawing or even avoiding opportunities! However, when we strip away the things in our lives that cause us stress, we also strip away the meaning, and the things that give us joy, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. So, embrace the stress, it’s your body helping you deal!

5. Make a list

Lists are probably not for everyone, but they may be worth a shot if you have never tried one. Once you see all your tasks laid out in front of you, you may realize that your list isn’t as long as you originally thought. Lists allow you to work one step at a time, cutting overwhelming tasks into manageable ones. The best part is that the feeling you get when you cross a task of your list is amazing. It may even inspire you to work harder so you can cross more things off your list!

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6. Be content with imperfection


It’s no secret that we are all human. Human beings make mistakes. Sometimes the best we can do with the time we are given is not what we would consider “perfect” work. The sooner you realize that perfectionism is more harmful than beneficial, the better. Instead, try your best and learn from the mistakes. In the long run, you will save yourself a lot of stress and grow from the process.

7. Think about the worst thing that can happen.

I know. This seems counterproductive. But, for me, it helps. If I think of the absolute worst thing that will happen, it makes me realize everything will be alright. It’s like they say— if one door closes, another will open. Realize that if you fail at doing something, you just learned what not to do. You can try again in a different way. If you believe something is truly worth it, you will find a way to accomplish your goals.

Without stress, we would never get anything done. Next time you find yourself drowning in self-doubt and worry, I encourage you to keep these seven helpful tips in mind. Pick and choose the ones that you think will fit best in your life and use them as often as you’d like. If all else fails, remember this: Everything will work out.

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