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With the recent happenings in the country, whilst still trying to manage the global pandemic COVID-19, the crisis from the recent protests against police brutality broke out, your first instinct may be to panic. Unfortunately, severe anxiety and stress can result in a complete meltdown. This response can cause long-term damage to your health and lower your ability to perform optimally.
Here are eight tips to help you keep your cool in stressful situations:
If possible, don’t react immediately. Instead, be patient and collect as much information as possible. Ask yourself, Is this really going to matter a year from now? If the answer is yes, step back to remove yourself somewhat from the situation.
When stressful situations occur, your mind may go in a thousand directions and some of your thoughts may be negative. The more your mind wanders, the more difficult it will be for you to remain calm. Stop yourself from beginning to imagine the worst-case scenario. Instead, let go of negative thoughts and refocus your mind on something positive, no matter how small.
This worst question you could ask yourself or others in the middle of a crisis begins with “what if.” This line of questioning induces sheer panic and forces you to process situations that have not occurred and may never happen. What if” questions compound the fear and escalate the problem.
If you make your personal health a priority, you’ll be better equipped to handle a crisis. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and receive plenty of sleep. Exercise lowers the level of stress hormones and helps the body function at its highest level. By improving your health, you’ll increase your self-control, memory and emotional intelligence — important characteristics that will help you respond well to an emergency.
When you’re in the middle of a dire situation, you might be tempted to run to the break room to grab a cup of coffee. Caffeine may trigger a release of adrenaline, giving you a quick burst of energy and physical strength, only to be followed by a crash marked by fatigue and irritability in some cases. Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee, soda or an energy drink, hydrate yourself with water.
Use your support system and don’t be afraid to ask for advice with a stressful situation. Someone who isn’t emotionally invested in the situation will be able to see the dilemma from a different perspective and can help you arrive at potential solutions. When you reach out to people you trust and respect, you’ll feel more grounded. That security will help you control your stress and anxiety.
Pull away from the situation for a while, even if only for an hour or two. When you give yourself time to process a dilemma and the surrounding emotions, you’ll be able to approach the situation with a fresh perspective.
A crisis may require you to put in long hours at the office or spend weekends working at home. If you remain in a prolonged state of stress, you may cause long-term damage to your health and undermine your ability to make rational, informed decisions.