How to Stay Calm When you Know You’ll be Stressed

We are all guilty of succumbing to stress. Whether induced by next weekend’s party or an important presentation at work, its effects can be debilitating. Everyone needs a certain amount of stress to survive – it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and gives us the adrenaline to succeed. As noted psychotherapist and writer, Adam Phillips puts it, stress and worry serve an important function in our favour: “If worrying can persecute us, it can also work for us, as self-preparation. No stage fright, no performance.” However, stress can become a problem when our bodies experience too much of it, compromising our health and leaving us at our wits end.

So what exactly is going on inside your mind when you feel overwhelmed? When your body detects stress, the hypothalamus—an area of the brain important to the nervous and endocrine systems— reacts by stimulating the body to produce adrenaline and cortisol. These two hormones increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure and temporarily increase energy to help you ‘fight’ or ‘take flight’. With these chemicals running through your brain, you’ll probably feel as though your thinking is cloudy, and consequently it’s no wonder that your judgement might be in some way compromised. When your body recognises it’s no longer in danger, your hormone levels fall and your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. But, more often than not, stress can leave you feeling angry, anxious and scared.

In so many aspects of life, the ability to stay calm in a difficult situation can mean the difference between success and failure. Whether you’re a firefighter, a teacher or you just want to get a reign on your worrisome tendencies, there’s no shortage of ways to help you stay calm in stressful situations. In our new infographic, we bring you 7 simple, actionable techniques that you can implement when you next find yourself face-to-face with stress. What’s more, these are all tips and coping strategies that you can carry forward and internalise to help overcome the negativity that often sits alongside anxiety and stress, assisting you to live and succeed without their shadow hanging over you. Read the rest of our infographic below to learn how to keep your head even while everyone around you is losing theirs, and how to trust yourself even when others doubt you.

Sources
Healthline. (2015). Hypothalamus. healthline.com
Phillips, A. (1996). What, Me Not Worry? nytimes.com
University of Utah. (2015). How cells communicate during fight or flight. utah.edu

How to Stay Calm When You Know You'll Be Stressed

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