Most instances of stress develop from issues that require difficult decisions to be made. If an issue does not require immediate resolution, my first step would be to relax by directing my attention elsewhere to cope with stress. If I’m home at the time, I take a beer out of the refrigerator, walk outside to my patio and lean back in a comfortable lawn chair so I can remove the problem from my thoughts as if it didn’t exist. I also allow myself the luxury of recalling the last time I went fishing or engaged in some other leisurely pass time.
Later, when I’m completely at ease, I focus on the problem again and am able to think about it as if it were a new issue. However, it’s an issue for which I’ve already considered possible resolutions, so I’m better able to organize my thoughts about them without pressure. I often brainstorm issues – have myself and other astute people, if they’re willing and available, randomly suggest solutions. We write out lists of both the benefits and the drawbacks of each suggestion in the form of a balance sheet for each and place them side by side so I can visually compare them to determine which one seems to be the most effective. This analytical approach relieves almost all the stress.
One of the other major reasons for stress is an impending deadline that I don’t believe I’ll be able to meet. To first get a perspective on the situation, I consider the worst possible outcome. If it’s not catastrophic, I relax while I think of all the alternatives in managing the situation. Then I proceed to implement the ones that appear the most promising. I think positively, telling myself I could be dealing with a more difficult situation, so the particular problem seems easy.
If it is an impending possible disaster and I can’t relieve the stress – I accept it. I persuade myself that becoming agitated about the situation is not going to help resolve it, if anything it will make it more difficult. I convince myself to remain calm and don’t allow stress to interfere with my judgment.