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How Do You Cope With Stress


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leave stress choose relax

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tress is no stranger to us. Everybody has met and experienced it. It lives in our homes, workplaces, and even follows us wherever we go, in some form or the other.

But do we really understand stress. Well firstly, do we know what stress is and what are its causes?

I’ve written in detail about stress in one of my earlier posts, and I mentioned its causes too.

There are also two posts about stress in the family and how to cope with family stress that you might like to go through.

You know that we cannot help ourselves get rid of bad stress unless we know the right ways to cope with it.

I say bad stress, because there is also something called good stress. The bad stress impedes our progress and causes problems.

Whereas, the good stress in fact helps propel us further and pushes us to work harder.

Once you know why stress develops and what its stimulating factors are, it becomes easy to develop a strategy and employ techniques to handle it.

Before you go any further, I’d like to ask if you ever considered why you get stressed.

Answer to this question may liberate you from stress forever, no matter where you are and what you do.

Why We Can’t Get Rid of Stress

You get stressed because you choose to get stressed.

This is ridiculous, some of you might say.

You’re right. Who would believe that stress is a choice that we make?

And, why in the world would we choose stress?

Well, it is because we do not realize that we’re doing that. It happens naturally. Choosing stress is easy and the other way around is a hard task.

By default, most of us would take the easy route, the path of minimum efforts.

We’re stressed at times because we don’t do something that we’re supposed to do, just because either we’re lazy or we don’t have faith in ourselves.

Like when you don’t complete your task in time and the deadline approaches near, you get stressed.

If you did your task or carried your responsibility as it should be, then you would not be stressed.

Choosing not to get stressed is like swimming against the tide. Initially, it takes efforts because we’re you’re used to go with the flow with our learned behavior.

So we need to do a bit of unlearning and re-learn to be stress free.

Learning to Cope with Stress

Stressors are everywhere. Sometimes real that are difficult to change and mostly imaginary or self-perceived, which can be eliminated with reasoning.

The responses of people, events, and situations may not be in your control, but you can be in total control of the responses you make.

Every moment offers you a choice – to choose from being stressed and not being stressed. The choice you make at that moment depends on your mental and physical state.

You’ve a choice to not to react to things that cause stress, and thus remain stress-free. You’ve a choice to either avoid the stressors or adapt yourself to it.

You may’ve heard about some people who’re as cool as a cucumber even in situations surrounded by stimuli capable of producing stress.

Besides other coping factors, they also choose not to respond to these trigger events of negative stress. They make a positive choice.

If you keep your mind positive, have positive thoughts, and keep a positive attitude, it will be very difficult for stress to affect you.

Yes, it’s easy to say and difficult to practice. But it’s not impossible. It takes time and practice to develop such a frame of mind.

But since we’re all creatures of habit, we can even make being positive a habit without any fuss.

We can’t get rid of stress until we stop making a choice to get stressed.

a woman doing exercise to cope with stress

10 Ways to Cope with Stress

Of course, some stresses are natural. Like physical stress which is produced by the body as a warning or coping mechanism, and then there is the fight-or-flight response.

But mostly it’s the mental stress that disturbs us due to problems in interpersonal relations, work-related or other situations, and it can be controlled by being aware of the choices we make.

Here are a few simple ways to do that.

1. Don’t react immediately

Whenever you face a disturbing situation, try not to react instantly. Give a pause to your impulse to react. Sometimes instant reactions are bad and make you lose control of yourself.

When you lose control, tense moments can make you stressed, angry and also violent at times. If you’re able to control your first reaction, things don’t get that far.

Stress and anger are closely related. Choosing not to react is one of the basic keys to stop violence and cope with stress.

2. Avoid the situation

Let those moments of stress pass by – don’t associate yourself with them. Act like an observer, or give yourself a break.

Observe what is happening with no judgment and no reaction. Imagine you’re not there – yet you’re fully aware of what’s happening.

It’s just that you’re not getting involved, so your body and mind don’t react. Your ego too is not hurt so you remain at peace.

It is not running away from the situation. Instead, it is about letting the initial inciting moments to pass by.

As a result, you can prepare yourself to deal with the situation by remaining fresh and unaffected by the stressor.

3. Focus on your breathing

During the tense moments, try to observe your breathing with all your attention.

Your breathing gets heavy and fast when you’re angry or stressed. Try to reset it in its normal mode by consciously observing it. It will also help calm your mind.

Your neurons and hormones will send a message all over the body and mind to retract from the state of emergency and return to the state of normalcy.

You’ll feel in better control of yourself.

4. Be realistic and practical

Remember what’s happened cannot be undone. There’s no use crying over spilled milk.

At times getting too emotional aggravates the situation. If you’re facing a permanent loss and nothing can be done about it, make yourself understand the fact.

Try to assess the situation intelligently. Think of other logical options to resolve the problem or conflict. Set realistic goals, have priorities, and be focused.

Change your perspective. You can only do all that if you remain cool and your mind is calm, so go back to point #1 and learn to be calm.

5. Change and move on

Don’t get stuck in the situation. Try to change it. But if you can’t change the situation, then change yourself, your position, or your reactions.

Look at what you’ve left with you – the resources at hand. Make best use of them. It’s better to do something than sit idle.

If you’re depressed, you get passive. You get into a state of inertia where you find it difficult to move or change. Force yourself to move on and do something positive.

6. Make use of your time

Don’t think much; rather act without wasting any time. Don’t procrastinate.

When you’re negative, you waste those precious moments that have the potential to change the course of your life.

Think logically – does unnecessary and excessive worrying or being tensed help in any way? Are you making good use of that time?

Don’t think it’s too late – it’s never too late. You can have a new beginning anytime.

7. Do the opposite

Stress makes you passive and negative. Try doing just the opposite. Be active and positive. If you get impatient, cool yourself down. If worries try to make you turbulent, try to be calm.

Stress is the result of a negative mental state. Every moment remind yourself to be positive.

8. Take it easy

You’ve to learn ways to pull yourself out of the stress-hole and learn to cope with the stress.

One way is to smile and have a sense of humor. Laugh away your tensions. It sends a positive comforting message to your body, brain and mind. It makes you feel better and in control of yourself.

Make your life simple and take it easy – slow down the pace of your life if required.

9. Have faith

Have confidence in yourself. Love your life and yourself. Believe and have faith in yourself.

You can do what you want, if you want to. You’ve great power within yourself that can make you win over all problems of life.

No problem is big enough to surrender yourself before it. Remind yourself of the problems you faced some time ago – don’t they seem so insignificant now?

But in those moments, the problems seemed like the formidable Gibraltar rock! Yet you overcame that. You can do the same in any stressful situation.

10. Never lose heart

Get out of your depression blues and get moving. Keep trying to look for solutions and opportunities.

Once you’re calm and controlled, you can make better choices to check out the various ways and options to deal with stress.

Choose not to succumb to pressure. Be strong. Take control of the situation.

Use positive self-affirmations.  Remind yourself how capable and powerful you are. This is just another problem in life like many others which have gone by, and this too shall pass.

Healthy Lifestyle Helps Coping with Stress

Your lifestyle is the way of living that is based on your routine, habit, interest, and attitude. You need to analyze if you’ve a healthy lifestyle.

Like I said earlier that the choices we make depend on our mental and physical state – it depends on our lifestyle too.

Stress is a choice and if you have an unhealthy lifestyle, there are more chances of you choosing stress by the way of things you do.

A healthy lifestyle includes taking care of your body and mind. You can do this by the following ways –

  • Regularly exercise or engaging in activities like walking, cycling, or even playing a sport.
  • Eat healthy food and a balanced diet. Lack of proper nutrition can set adverse chemical reactions in your body.
  • Relax and rest, which are equally necessary.
  • Get enough sleep and take a break.
  • Develop a hobby and have creative pastime.
  • Have fun and enjoy life.
  • Connect with others and have friends or family members to share your feelings.
  • Keep away from taking drugs – they never help. Also, avoid bad addictions like smoking and drinking alcohol – they not only cause physical harm but can increase your stress considerably.

Tension eats up your energy; it cracks your defense shield and makes you weak and venerable.

Be calm. Save your energy. Be in the moment.

When you’re in the moment, you’re fully in the present and aware. Being mindful doesn’t leave you any option to worry.

The best way to cope with stress is to train and control your mind. Keep your mind clear of disturbing thoughts. Manage your stress by managing your thoughts.

Over to you –

Do you think stress is a choice? Do you think it is possible to remain stress free? What measures do you take to cope with stress? Share your thoughts, views, and experiences.

 

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhoto


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About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

67 Comments

  1. Mayura

    January 19, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Wonderful post with very helpful facts :) I’ve been through some.

    This month is very busy for me Harleena :) I’m really glad I’ve finished my posts for this month last month, else I’d be much more stressed right now with all things going online and with catching up. You are right, we pull the trigger and make the choice to be stressed or not. I feel so stress free right now compared to what I could be instead.

    With all activities, I’m lack of relaxation nowadays, but in control though. However the prompt reaction happens sometimes. I think stress is knocking my door. Neither it was bad for me yet dear :)

    I used to focus on breathing as I’ve learnt to meditate from childhood and that’s saving me from lot of troubles as I feel :) However sometimes we tend not to avoid situations but get involved, no? :) I’ve seen it most of the time.

    When it comes to girlies (As I see), they are being too emotional and cry over the loss no matter what. Not all though. Giving advice might not help that time but sometimes I feel it’s alright, ’cause they get to know about what they have been doing and have a laser focus again. Sometimes we need mistakes to shape us up. Isn’t it dear? :)

    Have a wonderful weekend there Harleena :)

    Cheers…

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Mayura,

      That was really a smart move by you to finish your posts so well in advance. You don’t give work-related stress any chance to touch you, do you :) I wish I too could do that!

      Yes, we ourselves push the button or pull the trigger of stress by making such choices. No matter how much we try to control, we can’t help reacting at times and get involved and that’s normal. We’re no saints.

      It’s great you’re into meditation – half your problems stay at bay with such relaxation practice. As the wise say, prevention is better than cure – why let stress sink in when we can avoid it by practicing breathing and mind control techniques.

      Most females tend to be emotional, but I’ve seen many men too bearing such sensitive nature. And mistakes surely help us grow only if we accept them, learn from them, and never repeat them.

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts and personal experiences. Have a great weekend. :)

  2. Michael Belk

    January 19, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Harleena, these are great tips to help control stress in our lives.

    Stress can kill and it is very dangerous. You have some great tips to control stress and it is a good idea to be aware of it. Thanks

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, stress can be very harmful and hazardous to our health. It is one of the major causes for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. Mary Stephenson

    January 19, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Hi Harleena

    Stress can be controlled, but it is very difficult to do so when you are forced to deal with a dysfunctional workplace. I was under immense stress back in 2010 with an ADD/Bipolar boss and a lying co-worker. I got swallowed up in it before I realized it was making me extremely ill. They laid me off and it relieved a ton of stress. Went back a couple of times to help out and it was less stressful, because there was nothing they could do to me other than lay me off again.

    It all becomes how you perceive it to be. The longer I am away from the situation the more I realize I don’t deserve to be treated badly. Kind of a self protection emerges and today if they tried to call me back there would be some huge changes and it would be a signed contract, as I will never let anyone treat me that way again.

    I think we owe it to ourselves to not allow others to control how we feel and with it self-esteem arises.

    Very good information.

    Mary

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Hi Mary,

      Yes stress is difficult to control when then stressors are overwhelming and the surrounding environment has negative vibes. Stress at workplace is very common and if you’ve colleagues or a boss with whom you can’t have a good rapport or if they’ve certain disorders, working there sure becomes like hell.

      I had a friend who faced similar circumstances, and she preferred to quit the job than to suffer every day. But that cannot be always an option for everybody, and they need to train their mind and follow ways to deal with this kind of stress. I can understand what you’d have gone through.

      It seems you did not have the fear in you and the sense of insecurity was absent the second time you joined the workplace, which seems to have worked better for you. Your mind was prepared for the worst – so there was no fear.

      You’re right, the way we perceive things and our perspective changes everything for us. Self respect is a must and a high self-esteem works like a good defense against stress. Yes, we need to have our control within us, rather than in somebody else’s hands. We’ve a choice not to be stressed or affected by what others do.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experiences and valuable thoughts. :)

  4. Robin J Emdon

    January 19, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Cool article with some very goods tip for dealing with/overcoming stress.

    Nine times out of ten, maybe even ten times out of ten, the cause of stress is of course, fear. For example, right now I’m stressing about a deadline for a University assignment. The closer the deadline gets the more I feel stressed. I am FEARFUL of the consequences if I don’t get the work done. In one way, the fear serves me – it motivates me to get the assignment done. In another way, it challenges me – to get the assignment done in plenty of time – so I can relax (lose the fear) and get on with the other things I’m stressing (feeling fearful) about!

    Nice article… thanks!

    ~Robin~

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Robin,

      Welcome to my blog!

      I’m glad you like the post. You’re right; fear is one of the basic causes of stress. It produces either good stress or bad stress. And to cope with the bad stress due to fear, you try to remove fear by various ways.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

  5. Corina Ramos

    January 19, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I’ve dealt with stress for years and it took me that long to finally change my mindset. It’s true when you said it’s our choice whether to be stressed or not.

    I love how you said “The responses of people, events, and situations may not be in your control, but you can be in total control of the responses you make.” This is so true!

    And thank you for the tips, this is worth printing and saving whenever we need a reminder for de-stressing.

    Beautifully written Harleena. I can tell you put a lot of thought into this post. Have a wonderful weekend.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Corina,

      I’m glad you like the post, and I wish it helps many. Thank you for all the kind words.

      Changing a mindset is very tricky and not at all easy. You’ve done a great job in achieving that and I wish you always have the control of your responses and reactions to make stress stay at bay.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

  6. Shorya Bist

    January 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Harleena Ji,

    Very nice article.You have mentioned every aspect very nicely. Know when we talk about why people take stress is very obvious that its their choice only.Being happy or stressed out is totally in our hand i do believe in that. I can say that because 2-3 year back i was the same. i used take tension of every single thing which is not that big to be stressed out at. I took every single thing with tension and negativity. But i understood by my self that something i am doing is wrong. So i changed my attitude toward taking things. Now those days make me realize that, was me only who always had choice to chose being happy or stressed out but i chose to be sad, stressed out that time.

    Your points are brilliant as i have also done the same thing to change my attitude. But here i want to say it is very difficult to change the attitude as i found many difficulties initially but i had decided to change my attitude any how. And i have changed it. Now i take every thing other way. I always find happiness in things, and i always say to myself that its ok ,it is normal and i will come out of it very easily.

    Thank You, it was great article.
    Shorya Bist

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Hi Shorya,

      I’m glad you like the post. You’re right that being happy, angry, stressed are all in our hand because these are all states of mind. And you can with the help of your thoughts choose any of these mental states.

      It’s great that you’re able to change your attitude, which definitely is not an easy thing to do, and you can control the responses you make to different stressors.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your life experiences and thoughts. :)

  7. Vidya Sury

    January 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I like to see “stressed” as “desserts” spelled backwards! Stress is a good wake up call to stand back and survey and then approach with a strategy that takes us closer to the outcome we want.

    Great tips, Harleena! We can run from stress, but we can’t hide. And so, it is a good idea to have a our bag of tricks ready to overcome it! Cheers!

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      Harleena Singh

      January 19, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      Now that’s a sweet response to a state of being in stress – deserts for stressed, simply brilliant!

      It’s a matter of perception; you see stress as a tool which could loot the peace of mind of many. The only way to beat stress is face it and use your bag of tricks; you’ll find stress lose its power.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. :)

  8. Shalu Sharma

    January 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Very good and comprehensive article on what stress is and how to cope. Stress is very much a state of mind and everyone has different ways of coping with it. Some people thrive of stress while some people succumb to it. I am not sure where I stand, somewhere in between I suppose.
    But all in all, a good healthy lifestyle with regular breaks is the key to surviving stress.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Hi Shalu,

      I’m glad you like the article. Yes, we all have different perceptions of stress and its ways of coping. A healthy lifestyle serves to deliver us not only from stress but many other physical and mental ailments too.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  9. Hiten

    January 20, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Hi Harleena,

    What a brilliant post on the topic of stress. Thank you so much for writing it!

    I definitely know when I get stressed. When I’ve been stressed it’s usually because I’ve become too attached to whatever activity I’m doing. With this attachment, I also notice my ego has become activated, which then creates further stress.

    It is when I realise what I’ve done, and then become dissociated, does the stress begin to diminish.

    The point you made about breathing so important. I remember I was on a meditation retreat once practicing mindfulness meditation. I had just come out of 3 days of deep meditation. My breathing had become so subtle that a slight change in my breathing to a irregular pattern resulted in me feeling out of balanced.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Hiten,

      I’m happy that you like the post. Every bond ends in separation and with attachment comes suffering. I’m glad you can successfully deal with the stress resulting from such sufferings.

      The right way of breathing does help us balance our mind and energies. Thanks for sharing your life experiences. :)

  10. Sapna

    January 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Hi Harleena

    Great post as always!
    I think Fear is the great reason for all the stresses for me. Fear of getting late, fear of missing deadlines, fear of failures and that remain in my mind, even though I have improved a lot from the previous year but a lot has to be done. I meditate a lot and possibly that is one of the reason that there seems to be an overall improvement.

    Thanks a lot for sharing these wonderful tips.

    Sapna

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Sapna,

      Thanks for liking the post. Fear surely creates stress. But fear is a state of mind that results from negative thoughts and lack of self-belief. It’s good to hear that you’re successfully dealing with this stress, and I’m sure if you stick to what you’re doing a lot will get done.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. :)

  11. Lisa

    January 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Great tips Harleena, we all need reminding of these. I usually don’t let it bother me but the past few days I have. So good timing on these piece for me. It does start with a mindset and the ability to not let all the negativity bring you down. Of course a good night’s sleep will help start the day off right too. I also find exercise to help which I haven’t done in 2 weeks – I sure hope to accomplish that today.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad this post could be of help to you. You’re right; it’s all got to do with the mind and practicing methods to rest and calm the mind can greatly help cope with the stress. Restful sleep, regular exercise, and balanced nutrition are great for starters.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and experiences. :)

  12. Corinne Rodrigues

    January 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Yes, stress is indeed a part of our lives. No matter how much we try to simplify life, stress exists. But your pointers are fantastic. The deep breathing is certainly one that works instantly with me. Of late, I’ve taken to free writing too as a stress buster.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Corinne,

      I agree with you that stress exists no matter what we do, but we can certainly reduce a great amount of stress by adopting a healthier lifestyle. The good stress should remain though as it helps us stop being complacent and get to working. Free writing is a great form of releasing negative energy and reducing stress.

      Thanks for sharing your ways of coping with stress. :)

  13. Jodi Heal Now and Forever

    January 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I definitely address stress by making the most of my time. That little bit of productivity really helps invigorate me. It’s like I clean my space before settling in to work, bc I am more efficient that way. There is something cleansing about your external space being cleaned that reflects the internal space.

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Jodi,

      I agree that since an empty mind is a devil’s workshop so getting busy surely helps reduce lot many negative thoughts and naturally reduce stress. Making most of your time makes you busier. You mentioned a good analogy between the external work space and the internal mind space. It’s a good way of preventing and coping with stress.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

  14. Duke Davis

    January 21, 2013 at 12:07 am

    A nice comprehensive article. Some very good ides, but also very hard to carry out. In my case, my wife had a minor stroke the Monday before Thanksgiving. Three weeks later, she passed out at a craft show we were doing. Taking cars of this changed person has been extremely difficult especially since now I am the culprit of everything. Her memory and time line are greatly affected. She looses things constantly even when they are right in front of her and everyday is Thursday. We’ve had fifty-one years of a marriage I usually don’t talk about because people do not believe that it could be so good. It has been wonderful. We don’t fight, we have the same interests and enjoy the same things. Or at least we did until the end of November.

    To make matters worse I had a major heart problem come up the second of Jan. that put me in the hospital for four days. I think stress caused it. The stress level has really been high here. For most of my problems I don’t see how I can follow the advice you gave to combat it. I want to, but I just cannot see how to do it. I can’t brush off the problems I am facing, I can’t stop her dislike of what I try to do for her. No matter what I say or how I try to help fix something she has really messed up I get this, “I am not stupid. I still have a brain” attitude directed heavily at me, even when it is something she has been doing correctly for the last fifty years.

    If you have any ideas that might help me combat this problem please don’t hesitate to tell me about them. I’m slowly bailing out a sinking boat and loosing ground on a constant basis.

    Duke

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      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Welcome to the blog Duke.

      I’m sorry for the latest events in your life and the suffering you and your wife have to go through. My article takes into consideration generalized cases but may not be generalized for all cases. The post is more about solutions to problems of stress in interpersonal relations and work-related situations.

      According to what you mentioned here, your wife now suffers from a medical condition which has greatly affected her memory. I hope she is still under medical treatment. I understand nothing much is in your hands and it is all up to the doctors and the treatment she might be receiving.

      However, neither you nor your wife herself is the culprit. She might be saying things that might sound uncomfortable and odd to you due to her medical condition which might have erased many memory lanes, and she cannot be blamed for that. Neither should you take her sayings literally and feel bad yourself. It’s something that has happened which was not deliberate and not in anyone’s control. When things happen due to such reasons, we should not be stressed about why it happened but try to accept and adjust to the present situation.

      We should accept life as it is and take it as a test or challenge. I know it is not easy, and the one who suffers understands the best or knows better. I think the best way to cope with such a situation and the resulting stress is to take life one day at a time. You must be mostly doing the same thing daily, but perhaps you can do that with renewed hope looking towards a better tomorrow. It’s good to know about your wonderful marriage, and definitely 51 years of being happily married is something commendable.

      I can understand about stress levels because any person in your condition might have broken down, but you’re certainly strong and courageous. I think the best way to cope with stress for you should be to accept life in the present condition, and adapt yourself to it because you certainly cannot avoid it, so it’s best to face it. It also means that you do not think about the past event and wish it did not happen. And about your wife’s future condition, you should expect only what the doctors tell you. May be your wife has suffered a memory loss that might be a temporary one (you know better), but you haven’t lost yours – remember you’re a fighter, and will always remain one. This is a situation and you’ve to tackle by doing what it requires you to do, not what you want to do.

      I know it is difficult to remain positive in a case like yours, but you need to – you’ve no other choice. You cannot afford to be negative as it serves no good, and you’ll only accumulate stress by doing so. You cannot take a risk to harm yourself.

      At such times, some assumptions give us relief from overburdened stress. For example, something worse would’ve happened, but it didn’t. What if your wife would’ve totally lost her memory, suffered from paralysis, or immobilization? That would’ve put you in a more tense position from what you’re now in. I do not know if you believe in God or have faith in some higher power, but surrendering our anxieties and the outcome of the situation to the Almighty gives us some relief. You take it as God’s will and accept it as something that had to happen. Take it as a test for you in this phase of life.

      Being mindful, practicing breathing exercises and meditation will refill you with energy and freshness. Being realistic and practical without getting emotional should help you keep stress to the minimum and help to move on. You’ve to do with the resources in hand and try to be in the moment every time – fulfilling your duty as you think the best. Have faith and confidence, in everything and every person. You’ve great power within to deal with this problem. Just think that things could’ve been worse, but they aren’t, for which you should be grateful. Don’t lose heart, and try to keep yourself fit by exercising in whatever time you get, taking nourished food, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

      Share your problems with near and dear ones, as it’s good to let your worries out lest they fill you with negativity. It is very important that you take care of yourself, mentally and physically. You don’t have to brush off the problems, but face them boldly. You might have to keep facing the questions and statements from your wife that might be ridiculous or irritating but you if you expect that and take it as coming from an ill person, you would not feel bad.

      You’ve to keep faith, keep fighting, and keep being what you’re – an adventurist, and treat this as the biggest task in your life. Think of it as all for the sake of your long happily married life and the love for each other. This is the payback time and it is the time to love your wife more than ever.

      I know my words cannot solve your problem but I hope and pray that they soothed you a little and helped find reasons to lessen a bit of stress in your life. If there is any other way I can help, please do let me know. I hope other readers of this post would also put forth their suggestion and share their wisdom to help you face the challenge and cope with the stress.

      • Duke Davis

        January 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm

        Thank you, Harlenna. You have offered some good advice here and I do appreciate it. One of the things I am practicing is just not listening to the words when they are not good. A non-commental answer is usually sufficient to end the flow or just let it move on to something else.

        I am very lucky that this isn’t an all the time thing. Sometimes she’s the sweet loving person I have always know and things are wonderful again. She’s going through therapy and the Neurologist says he expects a full recovery. I’m just trying to maintain my sanity through it all. Our daughter and my wife’s sister both understand the problem, but both of them are the “Take Charge” type of people that neither one of us needs right now.

        This is about the hardest thing I have ever had to face. Combat in Vietnam didn’t faze me nearly as much as this does. I’ve always been a fighter. One of the guys who stood there and slugged it out to the end, but there is nothing here for me to defeat. If there were I could do that and no sweat.

        But, I am going with the flow, taking it one minute at the time. I will survive this and so will she. There is no way I am gonna let her get away from me. I don’t think there is anyone else out there that would put up with me. :0)

        Thank you.
        Duke

    • Sue Neal

      January 23, 2013 at 2:45 am

      Hi Duke,

      I’ve spent most of my career working with people who have conditions affecting their memory and supporting their relatives and carers, so I know that what you’re experiencing at the moment is way beyond normal everyday ‘stress’ and certainly not something you can just ‘brush off’.

      Harleena’s given you some excellent advice, but I think it would really be helpful to get some professional help – you don’t mention whether your wife has seen her doctor and been assessed for her memory problems? It would probably be helpful for her to get a diagnosis – there might be something that can be done to alleviate her symptoms, as well as support and advice for you, to help you cope with the changes in her behaviour towards you.

      I think one of the most important things – and I know this will be difficult – is not to take your wife’s hurtful comments towards you personally. You need to keep reminding yourself that she wouldn’t be saying these things and behaving this way if she was her usual self – I’m sure it’s not something she’s doing deliberately, but I know that doesn’t make it any less hurtful when you’re on the receiving end.

      When people develop problems with their memory it can make them feel very insecure and they’re often unwilling to admit there’s anything wrong – sometimes they’re just not aware of it and can quickly take offence when someone suggests they’re forgetful. Their insecurity and anxiety can sometimes cause them to lash out, often at their nearest and dearest, which is incredibly hurtful. You need to keep reminding yourself that this is because she’s not well.

      The worst thing you can do is to argue back and try to reason with her, because this is likely to make matters worse. The best thing you can do is to try to stay calm and cheerful yourself and do whatever it takes to relax – maybe give yourself some time out, go for a walk, try to ‘switch off’ from whatever the confrontation’s been about. It might help to try distracting your wife by changing the subject and just talking about something completely different, to take her mind off whatever’s upset her. Try not to let little disagreements blow up into lengthy arguments – it’s best to nip them in the bud if you can. And try focusing your conversations and activities on things that she enjoys, things that make her happy and relaxed.

      I hope your wife’s memory problems improve – but if they don’t, I’d strongly advise you to get some professional help and support. It will also help if you have close relatives or friends you can talk to about what you’re going through – don’t try to deal with this on your own.

      What you’re going through is extremely distressing and challenging – I don’t underestimate that at all – but there are things that can be done to help.

      I do hope that your wife’s condition improves and that you both get all the help and support you need.

      Take care of yourself, Duke – I wish you both well – your wife’s lucky to have such a loving, caring husband. 51 years of happy marriage – that’s quite some achievement!

      Sue

      • Duke Davis

        January 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm

        Hi Sue, and thanks for your comments and advice. I really do appreciate it.

        As to your questions: My wife is going through therapy and, is supposedly improving. Now and then she is what she used to be and that is like a breath of spring on a cold winter’s day. I also have talked to my Primary Care about seeing a Shrink or an Analyst or whoever it takes to get me some help. This is one I don’t know if I can whip alone, so I’m asking for reinforcements early.

        She has seen so many doctor’s that it is becoming unreal. She has been diagnosed with having had two TIA strokes but supposedly is not in any immediate danger of having another. Actually there were three. When they did the MRI they found scaring from an old stroke neither one of us knew anything about. She is getting great care though I wonder if she has maybe been moved to the back burner as it takes so long to get the appointment with these doctors who know what is going on.

        I found out the hard way that arguing, or trying to reason doesn’t work. The biggest thing that I messed up with is telling her that she had done something wrong. I know she is really frustrated, and do my darnedest not to aggravate that.

        I’m trying to get a little help here myself. My PC is supposedly setting me up to see a Shrink or an Analyst, which ever it takes.

        I really don’t put a lot of faith in Shrinks. I had to see one every three months for twenty years because I worked with Nuclear Weapons and the Government didn’t want any loony-tunes working on their big bombs. A lot of us did our dead-level best trying to convince them we were crazy but it didn’t work. They didn’t actually seem to hear anything you said. But, I’ll be honest and forthcoming with who ever he sets me up with.

        I managed to survive eight combat tours in Vietnam, not in one piece, but I survived. If I can get through that. I can get through this.

        Thanks,
        Duke

        • Sue Neal

          January 24, 2013 at 12:17 am

          Hey, Duke,

          I’m so pleased to hear that your wife is getting some help and making progress – as for yourself, you’re right to look at getting reinforcements early.

          I can understand your scepticism about shrinks – you’ve obviously had your fill of them, courtesy of the Government! – but there are shrinks and shrinks, so I think it’s good you’re keeping an open mind. Sounds like you didn’t really need therapy when it was forced on you in the past, but this is a different situation – and you might just be pleasantly surprised.

          From what you say, you’re already developing some good strategies for dealing with your wife’s condition and finding ways to minimize the conflict and stress. It must be hard, though, because you’re the one who has to make all the effort and adjustments, like biting your tongue to keep the peace – and there’s no getting away from it, that IS stressful. In a way, you’re having to renegotiate your relationship with the love of your life – what could be harder than that?

          Surviving all those combat tours in Vietnam is quite some achievement, Duke – you clearly have great fortitude and strength of character and I’m sure that’s going to help you deal with this. I really hope they find you a fantastic counsellor, analyst or whatever – someone with the wisdom to help you through this. You certainly deserve it, after all you’ve been through.

          And you’re absolutely right – this isn’t something you should try to deal with alone.

          I wish you and your wife well and hope you both get the best of care – with your can-do, positive attitude, I’m sure you’ll get through,

          Sue

  15. Galen Pearl

    January 21, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Such great tips. Especially loved 1 and 3. Learning to pause before we react allows of to respond rather than react. We are less likely to use our ego’s response and more likely to use our spirit’s response. Breathing into our bellies tells our brains that we are safe and stops the release of stress hormones. All these are super tips.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Galen,

      Thanks for liking the tips. Thanks for explaining further and expanding the meanings of reaction, response, and deep breathing.

      I’m glad you stopped by. :)

  16. Koundeenya

    January 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    Personally, I used to worry a lot and stress, literally brought my life down in past years. I am so happy that I am now leading a happy life with no tensions and mental stress. Of course, I too fall in burdening situations which stresses me a lot. But these days, yoga and writing practices have simplified my life.

    I must say, I loved the 10 tips that you mentioned in this post. Especially, concentrating on breathing, because it helps in eliminating the distractions and tensions and makes us feel better. I do it regularly,

    Thanks for such an amazing post.

    Regards

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Koundeenya,

      Thanks for liking the post. I’m glad you were able to take control of your life and get rid of stress. Excessive worries and pressure do bring stress. Release through writing, yoga, and attentive breathing exercises are great ways to cope with stress.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. :)

  17. Anne

    January 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Great tips, Leena.

    I use deep-breathing (like you mentioned as one of the ways to deal with stress). I find it very useful and it works for me. I do this early in the morning and late evening to calm my nerves. I also get enough rest and even take 10 minutes off in the middle of the day to just relax.

    All great points and I can vouch for the two I mentioned.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      January 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Hi Anne,

      I’m glad you like the tips. Deep breathing is a part of the meditation that I do every day and the results are very relaxing and calming so I can understand what you’re saying. It is a great way to prevent and cope with stress.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. :)

  18. Amandah

    January 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I do think stress is a choice. I’ve read many articles on stress written by Dr. Wayne Dyer where he stated that there is no stress. You don’t have to stress about being stuck in traffic. You don’t have to stress out about the holidays because you don’t have to go crazy with buying gifts for everyone and putting on a big dinner. You choose to do these things. You don’t have to stress out about (fill in the blank).

    If I feel that someone or something is sucking my energy like a blood sucking vampire, I listen to music, journal, workout, remove myself from the situation, thank God that I’m not the one causing the drama-rama, say “Whatever,” meditate, and take 10 deep breaths.

    You don’t have to stress out. You could choose to accept whatever is happening in the moment and let go. Don’t try to control anything or anyone. It will only stress you out. :)

  19. Pauline

    January 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Harleena
    I have high blood pressure (although I have it controlled by medication) so I cannot afford to get stressed. Not easy to do although I do try and stay calm. I sit down and pause when a stressful situation pops up and think things through, this does help a lot.
    Thanks for sharing some great tips, have a great week.
    Pauline

  20. Inspiring Citizen Rafi

    January 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I truly admire the value you give to each person and I think the time taken to closely asses Duke’s scenario shows that you are an amazing human being with an even greater heart.

    I wish I model your way of functioning so that more people can be helped to gain happiness in their lives.

    Wishing you all the best with your self help work and also freelance writing career.

    Sincerely,
    Rafi

  21. Inspiring Citizen Rafi

    January 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Hi Vidya,

    Your approach looks brilliant for me. I shall introduce your blog to my facebook friends.

    Keep writing and keep smiling..!

  22. Debbie

    January 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Number 7. ‘Stress makes you passive and negative. Try doing just the opposite. Be active and positive.’

    This is a big point in letting go of stress. When ever we catch ourselves in a negative situation, find the positive or if need be walk away from the negative.

    Stress is a choice and to me everyone has to find what relieves stress for them. you have given some great tips for others to start using to distress.

    Many times I do relieve stress with faith. Knowing that my maker never gives me more than I can handle. If i fall he is there to stand me back up.

    Thank you for the reminder that stress is a choice.
    Debbie

  23. Amit

    January 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I just want to ask from you how you manage to write so long comments and also big and amazing posts. Please reveal your secret.

  24. Sylviane Nuccio

    January 22, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I totally agree that one can choose stress to manipulate them and take control to the point that they are so stressed that that can’t see straight.

    As I was reading your post it reminded me of a friend who let himself get very angry at things and people which in turns into stress. His stress even shows up in the form of physical reactions such as skin problems.

    A healthy dose of stress is needed to make us get up and go in the morning, but an overdose of it is actually really bad for you, and can even kill you.

    Thank you for all your steps and tips about healthy amount of stress.

  25. Adrienne

    January 22, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Hey Harleena,

    I’ll agree with everyone, great tips indeed.

    Now you know that I rarely am under stress. Ever since I started working from home things have been so much better for me. But, I did have a very stressful week last week one of the first in a very long time. It stemmed from having issues with my hosting service and not knowing what the cause of the problem was.

    Knowing what to do and doing it sometimes just never happens at the exact time. I had to just sit back and breath to make sure I didn’t just explode. I was stressed out because I didn’t know how to fix the problem. I continued to reach out to people who I thought could help and sure enough, they got on it. It took several days but I had to remind myself that it’s out of my control. Just do what you can do and let it go. That really did help me a lot.

    Great tips though, I totally agree. I’m just so glad this isn’t something I have to learn to live with. Yikes!

    ~Adrienne

  26. Ntathu Allen

    January 22, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Hugs Harleena, another thoughtful and well researched post. Yes..stress kills. As a yoga teacher many of my students start yoga as a form of stress relief and want to help how to relax. You give a hearty list of stress relief suggestions and breathing and having faith and love in self are my favourite. Exhale. Enjoy and best wishes to you and your family.

  27. Priya N

    January 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Excellent tips to cope with stress. One of the biggest reason of stress is our-self as you said we choose to get the bad stress. You need to be very calm even in the worst situations so that you can handle all the situation in your life.

    I do regular yoga in the morning & it helps me a lot to cope with the stress.

  28. Ferb

    January 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    I hate stress but one of the way I used to get rid of it quickly is to do what I enjoy and when I’m stress, I choose game to play.

    The above ways are amazing, but for me, I can say them all out but when comes to the problem I really have no control over it. I gotta learn a lot from these.

    Thanks – Ferb

  29. don Ford

    January 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    A Spanish speaking friend of mine at work complained that his stomach hurt all of the time, a burning sensation. I didn’t tell him it was stress, that could have been the reason. Instead I suggested he bring crackers to work, and every couple of hours eat a few of them, keeping something on his stomach for the ACIDS to work on instead of the lining of his stomach.

    In a short period of time, he came and thanked me, and I thought he was gonna hug and kiss me. Well, that wasn’t gonna be happening anytime soon. LOL DON

  30. Suzie Carr

    January 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I love the idea of breathing to erase stress. I get stressed easily, and I think it’s because I allow other people’s actions to affect me. I choose this. Reading this post reminded me, hey I have a choice here… Next time someone else’s actions negatively affect me, I am going to remember to stop and do some deep breathing… Thanks for this post.

  31. Ehsan Ullah

    January 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    Those 10 tips will surely help a lot of people to avoid the problems of stress. Thankfully, I’m living my life with no tension and stress.

    Thanks for writing a detailed post on this Harleena, worth a tweet!

  32. Sue Neal

    January 23, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Fantastic post, Harleena, and very timely for me because I have to admit I’ve allowed myself to get a bit stressed over the last couple of days, due to work pressures.

    I think you’re absolutely right in saying that we have a choice about getting stressed, but the trouble is it’s often down to ingrained habits and ways of thinking, which can be difficult to break.

    Your post brings to mind the teachings I’ve learned from Anthony de Mello – he talks about the fact that we’re all programmed to crave ‘approval’ from other people. Consequently, we often get stressed, anxious and depressed when we feel we’re not living up to other people’s expectations of us.

    I agree with all the tips and strategies you suggest in this brilliant post, but one that I personally find most helpful is self-observation – simply noticing, becoming aware of my own reactions – that can quickly help to take the heat and power out of them, as I recognise what’s happening and remind myself that I do, indeed, have a choice about how I feel.

    Exercise, too – now there’s one of my all-time favourite stress-busters. Get yourself a dog that needs walking every day, come rain or shine, and that’ll bring your stress levels down (cuddling the dog helps, too!)

    Thanks so much for these great tips, Harleena – stress management is something I’m constantly working to improve on, so the more prompts about this, the better,

    Sue

  33. CarolB

    January 23, 2013 at 4:40 am

    HI Harleena,

    Been a while since I’ve commented, but your post timing is perfect. Stress seems to be a constant part of my life. Sometimes I thrive on it, sometimes I shut down. Managing it is the key – as you mentioned recognizing the good vs. the bad stress. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and ideas on helping me to better manage my own stress! Hope all is well with you in this new year.

  34. Christian

    January 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for the great article. Stress is mostly in our head and somehow we have to deal with our head first. I feel stress e.g. every time when my boss talks to me, but why? I didn’t do anything wrong or something, it is something just in my head that doesn’t give me to live…

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      January 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Hi Christian,

      Sometimes feelings of insecurity and fear lead to stress. But the fact remains that it is mostly in our head.

      Thanks for liking the article and for stopping by. :)

  35. Ally

    January 25, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I agree that stress can be better controlled when you change your mindset, I used to be quite stressed but I found that since I started focusing on the positives, and changing the way I felt and reacted to certain situations made a big difference

  36. Donna Merrill

    January 27, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Harleena,

    This is a wonderful subject you have chose. Stress is the leading cause of so many illnesses and negative lifestyle.

    I used to be very stressed when I was younger, but I didn’t have the tools to know how to deal with it. It was so uncomfortable to live that kind of life. But as I became an adult, I went out and got help. Yes, therapy helped me so much because I had PTSD. Back in those days they didn’t know what it was.

    Now, that I’ve learned so many ways to deal with stress, it is easy for me. The other week, when I was bombarded with everything going wrong from my husband’s sports injury to my blog breaking, I could have chosen to be stressed out. But..When I started feeling it coming on, I immediately went to my breathing technique and it worked.

    The above mentioned of how to deal with stress is something people need to learn. Once applied, we master it and can get out of a stressful situation like a breeze!

    Thanks again for this wonderful post,
    Donna

  37. Anita

    February 6, 2013 at 8:55 am

    That was a great read, Harleena! Stress can affect one’s health and personality towards the other. Never losing your heart and a strong faith are the most important ways to overcome stress. Somehow knowing that there are people around you who are willing to lend a hand and understand what you’re going through is such a great relief. You know when I\’m stress, chocolate is one of my best friends.

  38. Brent Oh

    February 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

    . . Thank you. I enjoyed your post.
    . . Our mind will be free if we empty the desire of doing something and of not doing something.
    . . Our body will be sincere if we fill something necessary for our life.
    . . Mind enjoys emptying something. Body enjoys filling something.
    Then there is no reason for us to get a stress.
    . . ♡ MuFillyou 212

  39. Nishant Srivastava

    March 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks your post is really helpful, I will try your methods to reduce stress, I know these things will work for me..

  40. anis

    April 20, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Hi Harleena this is another cool post you shared with us , well to deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally . The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking ;)

  41. Chloe Wallace

    April 30, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Thank you for the tips and advice. During my college, whenever I get stressed out because of all the deadlines, I easily get mad. But after some advice from my friends, i have learned to cope up and handle stress the right way.

  42. Oscar

    May 8, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Hi Harleena,

    I am not quite conversant with this topic, but I know we all do have stress knowingly or unknowingly in or daily activities, and we definitely need to find ways to cope with it. I really love the 10 tips you gave out here. One other I learnt from this article is that there is Good and Bad stress, though for now I don’t know their distinct explanations, but can with common reasoning differentiate them both.

    Thanks for this bomb shell article, I’m glad I came across a blogger like you.

  43. Alex Goldstein

    May 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    There are some people who raise pets who find it comforting and destressing to associate with them during tough times.

  44. Shan

    November 6, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Harleena

    Good post with some excellent tips. Not sure I agree that we can choose not to be stressed. We all have a certain amount of stress – some good, some bad. Good stress is the sort that makes us hurry across a busy road when we see a car hurtling towards us. Bad stress is the stuff we need to avoid because, long-term, it’s known to cause serious health problems.

    When I feel stressed, I take myself out of the situation and meditate 2-3 times a day. Works for me.

    Shan

  45. Rachit Aggarwal

    November 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Yes, i believe stress is definitely a choice but it is very difficult to remain stress free in this competitive world specially if you work in Metros.

    However, my way to beat the stress is start your day early and i have noticed that whenever i start my day early, i quickly complete all the pending things and got lot of time and thus prepared to get work and thus stress free. I think waking up early is a good way but it is mot always possible due to erratic work hours. Drinking a lot of water and once in a while check your breathing also works wonder. Besides, i open 1 spiritual blog on my system in the morning and keep it open whole day and once in a while during less work or while relaxing, i read 1 or 2 articles and that helped me to remain stress free.

    Good article. Truly enjoyed reading this.

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