5 Tips to Handling Stress and Pressure
How do you handle stress and pressure? They’re inevitable parts of our daily lives, whether they're due to working in high-pressure environments, dealing with conflict between people close to us, or figuring out how to make ends meet. So knowing how to handle stress is an essential skill to keep ourselves sane.
While different people have different ways of dealing with stress and pressure, there are many similarities across these strategies. Whether it’s improving your work environment, knowing when to take a break, or simply being aware of how you feel, all these tips and tricks to handling pressure are less about avoiding stress and more about making stress manageable.
Here, we list five tips on how you can handle stress and pressure.
1| Understand the source of your stress.
Before you ask how to handle stress, you first need to know and understand where all that pressure is coming from. Is it your to-do list at work that never seems to end? Is it debt you haven’t paid? Is it someone you’re arguing with on Facebook?
It may be just one big thing, several small things, or a stressful mix of big and small things. Whatever it is—or they are—the first step to solving any problem is knowing what you’re trying to solve. It may be heard to admit what it is, but it’s important to be honest with yourself and recognize that something is giving you more stress than you need.
When you have a clear idea of where all that stress and pressure is coming from, you’ll be in a much better position to figure out how to handle it.
2| Know what to prioritize.
Understanding where your stress is coming from also means knowing which of those sources of stress is the most important. Those sources can be big or small, and some can be more urgent than others, so knowing which one to prioritize is a big step in managing your stress levels.
Your professional life may give you a barrage of deadlines, but you know that not all deadlines are created equal. You may be pressured by others to buy the newest gadget model or join them for a trip abroad, but those expenses come second to settling any debt or paying bills. And no matter how stressful work becomes, that takes a backseat when a problem arises within your family.
This also allows you to take more control of your stress and piece it apart into more manageable chunks. Taking it one step at a time is much better than handling it all in one go and risk burning out from it all.
3| Take a break.
You probably saw this coming, and you’re probably rolling your eyes for reading this tip in yet another “how do you handle stress” article. But the reason why “take a break" is such a common piece of advice for dealing with stress is because of how effective it really is.
Of course, taking a break doesn’t mean going on a month-long vacation abroad or becoming completely disconnected from the world (although we wish we all had those options available). It can be as simple as spending the time before or after work doing something you love, going outside and taking a 10-minute walk, or even just taking a moment to breathe. These all allow you to think clearly and keep yourself in check when there’s too much going on.
Taking a break can also apply to your digital life. While constantly staying connected and updated is essential, unplugging once in a while can give you some room to breathe. It’s not like all those notifications are important anyway.
4| Stay positive and optimistic.
It’s easy to feel like the whole world is against you when you’re in a high-pressure environment. Being counted on to solve a lot of problems in the shortest amount of time possible is sure to bring your mood down and make you succumb to all that negativity.
But seeing the glass as half-full goes a long way in helping you handle stress. If you keep looking at stress in a negative light, it’ll be easier for all your problems to consume you and make it harder to move past them. Seeing these problems as opportunities to grow gives you a better mindset in finding their solutions.
Optimism doesn’t have to come from a series of cheesy motivational quotes or several ways of “treating yourself.” It could be as simple as giving yourself time to laugh and making light of the situation you’re in. You might find it easier to handle stress with a smile.
5| If it’s too much to handle, seek help.
There’s a lot you can do to manage your stress levels and handle your pressure, but there’s no rule saying that you should be handling it on your own. Even something as simple as talking to a friend about your situation goes a long way in beating stress.
Unusually large amounts of stress can take a toll on your emotional well-being. If you feel that your mental health is being affected by high pressure, don’t be ashamed to seek help from therapists and other medical professionals. Your well-being is more important than your ego.
While everyone experiences stress, people handle it in different ways. If you feel like handling it alone isn’t enough anymore, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from someone you personally know or from a professional who’s well-versed in dealing with these situations.
Can stress be good?
While these tips can help you in managing too much pressure, know that having some stress in your life can actually be good for you. Several studies have pointed out that having a manageable amount of stress provides benefits to your health, making your brain tougher and your emotions more resilient.