What is Situational Stress and How to Deal with it
Stress is part and parcel of everyday life. Stress can be of various types. Situational stress is one of these types. Let's take a closer look at situational stress and think of ways to combat it.
What is situational stress?
Situational stress occurs when you're faced with a situation you have no control over. Usually, it is associated with a negative event, person or place. Unlike prolonged stress, situational stress is limited to certain situations only and doesn't extend over hours. Situational stress can creep up on you when you're least prepared. So it is recommended that you arm yourself with methods to battle it, well in advance.
How to deal with situational stress?
Avoidance is the primary tactic. Always choose to avoid the situation that causes you stress, if you can. Of course, this may not be possible every time when you will have to face it.
If your situational stress is tied up to a person – devise ways to avoid meeting him/her. If you are forced to come into contact with them, try and keep your cool. Stand your ground. Maybe they annoy you and get a rise out of making you angry – don’t react. Understand that this is what they’re playing at. They want you to get worked up and lose your cool. Don’t let them rub you the wrong way. Chances are, you are already familiar with their behavior so that you can anticipate it. Prepare yourself for this behavior and you will notice that you no longer experience the same anxiety you used to at the thought of crossing paths with this person.
If there is a particular place that gives you situational stress, don't avoid visiting it. In fact, go as often to the place as you can so you can overwrite the bad memories associated with the place, i.e. resulting in your situational stress from it. Once you've made new memories with the place, it will no longer give you situational stress.
Self-awareness is a great tactic to follow for situational stress. Your body and mind automatically give out signals when you're beginning to get stressed out. Recognize these signals. Don’t withdraw into a shell when this happens. Instead, learn how to override them and function despite their presence.
Most situational stress is a result of a conflict. Acquire conflict management skills to minimize the pressure you feel when faced with conflict.
Everybody reacts differently to situational stress. Some people may have trouble keeping their emotions under check. If this is you, learn how to control your emotions and channelize your negative emotions into positives.
Some useful tactics:
- Know your limitations and refuse to say “yes” to things that are not possible for you – Eliminating stressors is fundamental to relieving situational stress.
- Secure your environment – If there are stressors in your environment that you can get rid of, do so.
- Avoid topics that agitate you – If you’re uncomfortable discussing certain topics in conversation, remove yourself from the conversation when those topics crop up.
- Don’t bottle up your feelings – If something is stressing you out, let people know. How else will they be able to help?
- Take control of the situation – Confront the situation that is causing you anxiety and try to find ways around it – so it no longer gives you stress.
- Learn to prioritize – Make to-do lists and number them according to priority. At the same time learn how to manage your time between these tasks.
Everybody faces situational stress some or the other time in their lives. If you know what is causing you this stress, you will be better prepared to handle it. So take some time and try to get to the root of the problem that is causing you this stress – you won’t regret it.