- Set clear boundaries for yourself
Think about separating yourself physically from the stressed-out person until he or she has a chance to calm down or vent to someone else. If they must vent to you, email or phone is more manageable than being in someone’s presence while they’re venting.
- Build up your emotional immune system
Finding things to do that relax and recharge you and which you can do often that are purposeful and meaningful to you in your life. Whether it’s walking, cycling, hiking, yoga, going to the beach, spending time with close friends or find other things you find fulfilling.
- Block out the negative
Envision something you love or that makes you laugh before you enter a situation you predict will be stressful. Now you have an authentic reason to smile. It’s not the person in front of you. It’s what is in your head.
No time to prepare but want to ensure that you exit the emotional exchange relatively unscathed. Hone in on one positive thing during the interaction. For example, saying I love your shoes sets the tone and allows your positive emotions to take precedence.
- Remember to breathe
When we become stressed our breathing often becomes more rapid or we may even forget to breath from time to time. When you feel yourself getting stressed pay close attention to your breath and remember to breathe low and slow. Breathing in for 6 seconds and out for 6 seconds is ideal.
- Go outside for a change of scene
If you physically distance yourself from the source of negative stress the less the stress will affect your wellbeing. Moving outside and communing with nature can be a positive choice. Research shows that being in nature can increase feelings of well-being while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
- Exercise to change your state
Exercise is a fast way to destress. Physical activity which is eustress (good stress) triggers your body to release endorphins — “feel good” chemicals that serve as your body’s natural painkillers. Even five minutes of aerobic activity can reduce your anxiety and help you better cope with stress.
Sit quietly in a peaceful place, close your eyes and breathe low and slow. Closing your eyes can make it faster and easier. Counting your breath in for 2, hold for 2, out for 2 and hold for 2 makes relaxing easier. You may want to slow the breath down to a 4 or 6 count rotation.