How to respond to a high-stress enviroment
Most people don’t actually have a plan on how to respond to stress. We tend to react without thinking, usually by avoiding the situation, taking our emotions out on others, withdrawing from the situation altogether or confronting the situation head-on.
Largely, it may depend on the situation and potential consequences as to how you respond. It may be easier to confront a friend about his or her irritating tendency to borrow your clothes and leaving you nothing to wear when you really need it than confronting your mother about re-organizing your bedroom.
Both may be stressful to you. However, the "power" structure is a little different. To determine your best strategy for a given situation incorporate the following outline in your decision process – assess what is important, determine what areas render you vulnerable to stress, and be clear about your expectations.
1. Assess Your Priorities – by knowing what is of primary and secondary importance, you can order your activities and expectations in light of your energy on a given day. A structure to follow makes it easier to engage in daily tasks. The stress of trying to remember what you should be doing is eliminated.
2. Stress Vulnerability – if you know that presentations make you nervous or know that negotiating a car deal petrifies you, do not wait until it happens to incorporate your ‘skills’. Practice is essential. By envisioning the stressful condition and acting out your reaction to anticipated stressors, you can become better prepared for the actual event.
3. Expectations – Align your expectations of yourself in a given situation with a reality-based view. Expecting too much of yourself or others can be disappointing if those expectations are not realized. Maintain a realistic perspective to offset misunderstandings. A key problem in this area is perfectionism. Stress is highly anticipated if you feel a need to produce ‘perfectly’ on a consistent basis, try to be someone you're not, or become inflexible with your priorities.
4. Incorporate Healthy Practices Into Your Daily Schedule – By incorporating a healthy level of exercise, appropriate eating practices, and relaxation techniques, you lower your risk for becoming over stressed. These techniques have been found to lower blood pressure, strengthen muscles, and reduce tension in most individuals.
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