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Stressed Beyond Belief: How to Keep Calm When You’ve Had It up to Here

stressed out

Have you ever done something, then realized later that how you responded was all wrong?

So a few days ago the phone rang, my friend was on the other end and she was completely freaking out.

Before she began to tell me what was going on I was running all the possible scenarios in my head. Then she said it, and I was kind of taken aback.

Although it was something that was rightly stress inducing, I still thought her reaction was a bit much. She was completely stressed out over this one thing.  In her eyes, life as she knew it was basically over.

It was something that didn’t even have a bearing on her everyday life. But she was living it, not me, so I had no idea what she was really thinking.

All I knew was that she was putting herself in a place where she wouldn’t be able to move forward.

Her nerves were shot. She couldn’t focus on anything and things were only getting worse by the minute.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying when it rains it pours.

The fact that she was having a problem wasn’t really the issue, it was how she was handling it. Somehow it was spilling over onto everything.

The problem is you end up carrying these feelings and the response impacts other things. It becomes a crazy domino effect, knocking down everything.

But you can’t let one experience leave all other aspects of your life in ruins.

Changing how you handle it can change how much of your life it impacts.

Every Action Has a Reaction

You’re overreacting because your emotions are running wild at the moment. You let your feelings get the best of you.

All you can think about is the worst possible thing.  Because you’ve surrendered all rational, your feelings dictate your actions.

Why has letting go in this moment become so easy? Because once you pick up that something isn’t right you immediately think all hope is gone and lose control.

Being able to handle things in a calm state promotes a better outcome. When you’re level headed and thinking clearly it’s easy to obtain the objective.

Stressful situations are always going to arise so it’s best to know how to handle them so things still work out the best way possible.

Just because you hit different bumps in the road doesn’t mean you can’t live the way you always dreamed. It just means you have to know how to get over the obstacles so you can get back to your goals.

1. Watch Yourself

Pay attention to how you respond to stressful situations. What’s your first instinct? 

What’s your first thought?

Do you go from zero to 100 in a nano-second?

You default reaction may not suit every situation, or any for that matter. Monitoring how you immediately respond to something can tell you a lot about your feelings towards it.

2. Relax

When something ruffles your feathers it’s important to gain control again. Take a moment to pull yourself together.

Take slow and deep breaths to stop your heart from racing.

Once you’re able to control your physical reaction to the circumstance you can move on to the mental.

3. Don’t Take It Personal

Just because something crazy is going on in front of you doesn’t mean that it’s all about you.

So your boss has been short with you all morning, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything. His day could’ve just started on the wrong foot before he even got into the office.

You tend to think that bad things you have to deal with are a direct reflection of you or something you’ve done but it may not even involve you.

4. Question Yourself

When you’re in a tough situation you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing so you can improve it, instead of making it worse.

Before you say or do something, make sure it isn’t adding fuel to the fire. Make sure it will have a positive impact and it can help turn the situation around.

The last thing you want to do is make matters worse than they already are.

5. Take Five

If you’re still finding it hard to keep stay calm, take a break. Allow yourself a couple of minutes to collect your thoughts and calm your nerves.

Sometimes when things get really hot really quick it can be hard to get things back under control in an instance.

A few minutes away can give the peace needed to move forward on a positive path.

Stopping the Dominoes

When your natural reaction is to throw your hands up or start shouting at the top of your lungs, it can be hard to get yourself to a calmer level but you have to try.

Just because something is stressful and challenging doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

You can still get back on track once you’ve tackled this issue. Once it’s over and done with you can get back to business as usual.

Stop letting one thing ruin everything. Keep it calm, keep it together and continue on.



What stresses you out the most? How do you typically respond to it?


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  • Hi Lea:
    Happy New Year
    Indeed, life is so stressful
    From the time we awake
    To the time we hit the sack
    So many stressful things in our life
    WORST part is –
    It gets REAL HARD
    To deal with the stress
    All the time
    And that can be real bad!
    Great post.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Best wishes and regards.

    • Lea

      Hi Ved,
      Happy New Year to you as well. Yes, life can be a tough and get tougher that’s why it’s so important to manage the stress well. Because, as you know by now, it’s not going away.

      • Hi Lea.
        Thanks for your wishes.
        All that much
        And so did not see your message.
        How is the New Year treating you.

  • Hi Lea,

    You pretty much summed up what I say in my work about observing ourselves. Not so easy to do, especially when we’re in the midst of something that troubles us, but with some practice, it does get easier.

    I love that you mentioned to question things because it’s a valuable thing to do. Things always appear a certain way, but with some useful ponderings, we see there may be alternate angles and perspectives that may give rise to solutions or insights that might help with the issue at hand.

    As always, great stuff Lea 🙂

    • Lea

      Hi Dana,
      So true. Questioning things also prevents you from jumping to harsh conclusions, that could make matters worse.
      Thanks Dana. Hope you enjoyed the holidays!

  • Hi Lea,

    What a great way you have illustrated stress through the example you have given.

    My gosh stress can turn your life upside down if you let it. It is a normal reaction, but as you mentioned above, there are many ways to handle it.

    I like Take five because a delayed response to a stressor always helps me.


    • Lea

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks 🙂
      I find that to be very helpful as well. An immediate reaction is often too emotional and not rational. Letting your mind process it and getting back to it later usually gets better results.

  • Hello Lea,
    I respond calmly irrespective of the situation!
    It is of no use to get hyper and harm your peace of mind over external situations which are out of our control.
    Very nice article. All the 5 points are practical!

    • Lea

      Hi Tuhin,
      You’re right. You also lose your control when you do that. Letting something you can’t control take the control you do have is nuts.
      Thanks so much, that’s what I aim for!

  • Hi Lea,

    I do have to watch myself about “taking things personally” when they may not be my fault. I’m very quick to accept blame!

    Funnily enough your is the first blog post I’ve come back to after literally taking a 30 minute power-nap because everything was getting too much for me. (Just the Christmas rush…. nothing major.)

    Yes, it feels better 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • Lea

      Hi Joy,
      Ha! That is funny. Yeah, sometimes you just need that break from the craziness.
      Doesn’t it?! Sometimes I just need to lay down on the couch for a minute.

  • Chery Schmidt

    Hello Lea! I loved all your tips on how to keep calm, it is so important to think before we react Right?

    Great Share Girlfriend
    Thank You
    Chery :))

    • Lea

      Hi Chery!
      It’s essential. When you don’t you can make matters worse without even realizing it. Thanks Chery.

  • Hi Lea,

    Just can’t seem to handle stress, anyway. The dominoes just keep falling. I set one up, and another chain of falling dominoes is on the way.

    I don’t know how to relax. My head spins faster than the wheels of a bullet train. I can’t seem to be able to tell myself that it’s “OK” and that everyone goes through this, one time or the other.

    Phew, what can I say…


    P.S: Hey, Ravi is here too 🙂

    • Lea

      Hi Ash,
      Yeah, it can happen like that sometimes. That’s why you have to learn to get a handle on it. Because the more that fall the hard it becomes to handle.
      You should try meditating or just taking a breather so you can disconnect long enough to get yourself together. Don’t think about anything else, just focus on yourself. Hope you’re able to get a handle on it.
      P.S. I didn’t know you knew Ravi, small world 🙂

      • Just decided to do that. Just focus on what needs to be done, and stay at it. I totally agree: if you don’t control it, the darned thing controls you.

        When I meditate, I end up signing songs 🙂 So, I took a deep breath, got off the laptop, and then got back. It helped.

        Yeah, small world indeed. I found you through his blog though.


  • Hey Lea,

    I always have something to worry about. And the decision I took in the past can be wrong but I never regret.
    I am sure, your friend was thinking about something she didn’t want to do.
    It’s important to know the reaction of every action.
    Thanks for this article.

    • Lea

      Hey Ravi,
      Don’t we all? It’s like thing always seem to come up as other things settle down. It’s good that you don’t have any regrets. That can bring about the worst kind of stress, simply because you can’t change what is done.