5 Minute Fix: 3 Simple Steps to Cope With Stress When You’re Under Pressure

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woman not coping with stressSometimes we feel stressed, overwhelmed, guilty, pressured, anxious. It’s easy when we’re in these states to get caught up in our stressful thoughts and feelings, so it can be helpful to have a quick-fix technique to cope with stress.

NOTE: This technique isn’t about avoiding the deeper issues within our stress, it’s about helping you affirm yourself and get on with your day. And Step 3 will stop you from simply burying the feeling, helping you shift and move through the feeling at a time more convenient to you.

3 Steps to Cope With Stress When You’re Under Pressure:

Step 1) Simply NOTICE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT that you’re feeling overwhelmed, guilty, pressured, stressed, anxious etc. “Oh, I’m feeling __________”

Step 2) AFFIRM YOURSELF through a helpful affirmation or MANTRA. If you can, say it aloud. Here are a few examples to help you cope with stress:

  • “I am doing my best. This is all I can ask of myself.”
  • “I can handle this feeling – and easily manage my day.”
  • “This feeling of overwhelm/anxiety/guilt etc will soon pass.”
  • “I am safe and I am loved. I can handle whatever I am feeling.”
  • “I trust and can take care of myself. I will take care of this feeling later on today, when I have more time.”

Now use this mantra (or one you create for yourself) throughout the day, whenever you notice you’re feeling anxious or stressed again.

Step 3) Finally, TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEELINGS at a time that works better for you.

This will help relieve the pressure. So, make sure you commit to taking a few moments to reflect on what caused the stress or overwhelm – and take care of yourself. It could be right away, or it could be in half an hour over a cup of tea, or even 5 minutes before bed. Then try:

  1. What’s important about the feeling of __________ today? What do I need to learn from this?
  2. Soothe yourself. Try, “There there. It’s OK. I/we/you can handle this.”
    Tip: If you struggle with this, imagine a frightened child needing you to gentle and soothe it. What (and how) would you do it?

Avoiding our unpleasant feelings and stress may appear to help, but in the long run it creates a destructive habit. If we never prove to ourselves that we CAN handle the feelings and cope with our stress, we remain fearful of it. So, one important factor in helping us cope with stress and overwhelm is to TRUST that we can – and will – take care of ourselves. It’s great to have a quick-fix technique but if we want to feel better the next day (or perhaps if this is a habitual state of being), we must learn to take care of ourselves. And as we get better at it, our stress and overwhelm is less burdensome in the future.

In Summary: Our feelings show us who we are; when we avoid what we feel – we literally abandon our ‘selves’. So, first, recognize what you feel. Second, affirm yourself through a mantra – as often as you need to, to get through the day. And third, create a new way of being; find a calm, loving and supportive presence inside that allows your feelings and soothes you, allowing the feeling to pass naturally.

“She had finally allowed her negative feelings to surface, feelings that had been repressed for years in her soul. She had actually FELT them, and they were no longer necessary, they could leave.” Paulo Coelho

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