Ways Of Coping With Stress

Among several ways of coping with stress, the best is to accept life."Accept the things you cannot change." Think of those words. You find them inscribed on wall plaques and coffee mugs.

Noble thought. But, how do you really "accept" life's brutality? How do you accept the awful things that happen in ordinary life? Very few know how to cope. There are few ways of coping with stress, when things go wrong in day to day life.

Imagine this situation. There is a rumor in the office of impending layoffs. You are vulnerable. You dare not even think of it. You don't know how you will meet home payments, grocery bills and the education of your children. Even as you try to bury those fears, you spend sleepless nights as more and more nightmare possibilities churn in your stomach.

  • To understand the few simple exercises, which provide ways of coping with stress, you need to understand the nature of your mind.
  • Stress is created by subconscious drives, which search for solutions to your problems.
  • Todays problems cannot be solved through physical combat, or by running away. Unfortunately, your animal instincts respond to unsolvable problems with visceral reactions, more suitable for non-existent jungle situations.
  • Increased adrenalin raises heart beats, hikes blood pressure and affects breathing. Acidity increases and even your excretory system adds to your stress.
  • All this happens because your system believes it faces an unacceptable situation. You can swiftly change that viewpoint of the system.
  • Be convinced that a calm response is your highest priority, since it is crucial for your health and well being.
  • Spend a few minutes to quietly evaluate your response in case there is no solution to your problem.
  • Finally, your stress will be hugely reduced, when you evaluate the physical symptoms of your feelings about the problem. Read how this can be done.
  • Once the stress has been reduced, a persistent self awareness will bring durable stillness to your mind.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Coping Through Pattern Sensing
Your mind solves your problems by sensing patterns. It recognizes events in the environment, interprets their impact on your goals and triggers emotions. Drives are generated, which search for solutions. These drives are purposeful events. When you move a chess piece on the board, your mind activates thousands of muscles, with persisting impulses which control them millisecond by millisecond. Your hand does not go off on its own. It moves the piece exactly to its target position. Purposeful subconscious drives manage everything you do.

One of those deliberate events is a search through all your experiences for solutions to the many difficulties you may face every day in life. There is a problem in this process. You inherited a brain, which has reptilian and mammalian components. Sadly, they interpret your difficulties as requiring fight or flight visceral reactions - the knots in your chest and the churning in your stomach. Those drives cause you stress.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - The Wrong Response
When you are faced with a problem, your mind searches for solutions. With its massive knowledge, it will find the solution if there is one. If your road home is blocked, instantly it will find an alternative route. You don't even have to think about it. But, a threat of dismissal is not a problem you can solve in an instant. Lacking an immediate solution, your primitive brains take over. Adrenalin increases to prepare your body for a fight or flight response. Your heart beats increase to improve blood supply. Blood pressure rises and breathing changes. Acidity increases in the stomach. Your excretory system prepares to clear toxin. Those primitive brains prepare you for a fight, or flightresponse, in answer to a career problem.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Changing Levels
By making you jumpy, or jittery, your mind envelops you in an “unacceptable” view of reality. You are immersed in a stressful level of consciousness. But that world view relates to a primitive animal viewpoint, which is more appropriate, when you are chased by a tiger. You need to shift your view point and see the problem more like a computer printout - a statement of facts. Your mind has the capacity to see the problem from that perspective also. That view is possible if you take actions, which enable your RI level of consciousness to take over. “Staring back” at the problem will shift you into the RI level, where you will view the event as just a “bird in the sky.” This one of the ways of coping with stress.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Consider your priorities
You have a new problem on your hands. Do you also want to add permanent deterioration of your body and shorten your life? It is crucial to know that the massive emotional churning is unnecessary. All you need is to do is to get yourself into a different frame of mind. You views will change from that of a bird flailing in a cage to a player studying a problem in chess. You get immediate stress relief. The key is to understand that your misery is just one of the views for your mind. One of the best ways of coping with stress is to change that pereption and see your problems from a calm perspective.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Stare back at the problem
Put RI in charge by asking yourself questions. What will happen if the "dreadful event" really takes place? Can you not live with it? How will you adjust to life if it happens? Can you start doing something you always wanted to do? Can you start all over again and do it differently? Can you make the best of your time before it happens? Look at your life from your grave. Is this event all that important in your life? What difference would it make if it did not happen? A pattern recognition switch occurs, when you seriously ask yourself some of these questions. RI takes over and your viewpoint will shift.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Attention Stills Emotion Signals
It is not an involved piece of reasoning, which you applied on your mind for managing stress. The questions achieve two things. First, your mind switches controls to the unemotional attention of RI. Viewpoints switch from an emotional "Oh, God! What will I do?" intelligence to the "OK, We have a problem here" RI view. Second, the questions still the emotional churning. Science has confirmed that the effect of attention is to still unrelated neural signals. So the churning stops, with immediate stress relief. When you genuinely ask questions, your viewpoint will effectively change. The moment RI takes over and looks at the problem, you will have “accepted life!” Such questions provide the best ways of coping with stress.

Ways Of Coping With Stress - Mindfulness
When RI has accepted the existence of the problem you will have a rudimentary plan to deal with it. Then the agonizing churn and the search processes stop. But, your fear will keep returning. Mindfulness meditation can help you to prevent fear, when the thoughts of failure return. They will return again and again. Just identify the way you feel when you think about the problem. If you can identify the physical symptom, learn to recognize it in the 300-400 milliseconds in which the symptom appears, before the anger, or fear overwhelms you. With recogniton, the emotion will vanish. You will be left with a problem to solve, like making the next move in chess.

These ways of coping with stress need practice.  Learn to identify the stress signals. Study the subject. How do others faced with the problem cope with it? Where can you find more information? As you keep calmly adding data, your mind will find a solution, or accept the consequences of the situation - peacefully.

This page was last updated on 02-Jan-2014

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For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.

I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.

The wide sky and the treetops come to my attention, when I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. I see a single star millions of miles away in space.

I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.

Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.

All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.

My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.

It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.

Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.

While my thoughts wandered far and near, the thought "20 minutes is a long time" also kept floating in. And yet, life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes! I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?

I really loved the self improvement plan post. Its great food for 
thought and the steps are actually actionable as compared to many other self help sites out there.
Joe Glen USA.

As a clinical therapist, I have found your site very useful!
I love it. ...
Andrew Montgomery USA.