It wasn’t very long ago that ‘stress’ was a word that existed largely in dictionaries and psychology books. Unfortunately, we can’t change the way the world works and relentlessly presents challenges to us. What we can change however, is how we deal with the stress of everyday life.

1. The very first thing to do is differentiate between stressors that you can control and ones you can’t. In an ideal world, we would not worry about stressors that we cannot control and would accept them calmly. However, since it’s far from an ideal world, there are other ways of coping with them.

2. Remind yourself of your past accomplishments and successes, especially in similar situations. If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Tell yourself that you will be fine no matter what, even if the worst case scenario comes to pass. Talk it through with a trusted friend. It will help you get your ideas sorted better and will minimise the magnitude of the problem.

3. Try to find some humour in the situation. Laughing immediately relieves some stress. Learn relaxation techniques that control your physical responses to stress. If your body refuses to react to stress physically, it will lower the pressure on the mind. Compare notes with someone who may have gone through a similar experience and ask for his/her advice.

4. For stressors that you can control, make a paper-list of all the stressors that are weighing on your mind. Prioritize these stressors so that you have a definite order in which you must tackle them. This will help you gain more control over the situation and you will not feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done.

5. If there is a specific task that is bothering you, take a break and come back to it later. Ask a friend or colleague for help and try to delegate – you don’t have to do everything by yourself.

6. Approaching stressors with systematic precision will help lower your anxiety levels. Look at each stressor as a specific, solvable problem and treat it as such. Brainstorm and come up with a list of possible solutions. Evaluate the possible outcomes of each solution and choose the most viable option. Act on that solution. Start again if it doesn’t work – don’t quit. Remember to treat each experience as a valuable lesson.

7. Ensuring that you have your support systems in place, while having alternative avenues to relieve stress, also goes a long way. Practice yoga, work out, meditate, cultivate a hobby, pamper and reward yourself occasionally, catch up with friends and family, and remind yourself why you do what you do. Take control of your thoughts and your life.

Completely eliminating stress is neither possible, nor desirable. Without challenges and conflict, we would not be motivated to produce our best work. However, whether we let stress take over our lives or not is in our hands.

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