Life is full of stressful situations. You may face minor stressors like the wrong take-out order at a restaurant. You may also have to deal with major stressors like struggling with your mental health. Knowing how to approach any type of stressful situation can help you maintain some control and reduce your level of stress and anxiety.
Explore the following 10 stressful situations you may face in life and accompanying ways you can deal with them to keep your calm and continue your personal growth.
1. The Restaurant Got Your Order Wrong
Unless you cook all your meals at home, you will find yourself on the receiving end of the wrong order at a restaurant. While this may not be the most stressful life situation, it can cause anxiety.
If you experience guilt at the thought of sending your order back, mustering up the courage to tell your waiter can be a stressful experience. The best way to approach this situation is to work on being more assertive. Practicing assertiveness doesn’t mean you act mean or cruel. Rather, it simply means that you ask for what you want with confidence.
Next time this situation occurs, practice asking for what you want. You’ll feel better when you get the right order and feel less stressed about it every time you practice.
2. You Just Moved in With Your Partner
Moving in with your partner for the first time is exciting. It can also feel overwhelming and stressful. Combining finances, merging schedules, and getting to know each other as live-in companions is a huge transition that can take some time to get used to.
If you’re feeling stressed out after moving in with a partner, take some time to identify where your stress is coming from. Is the change in routine causing you to feel stressed? Are you having trouble adjusting to not living alone anymore? Are you worried about your partner judging you for your daily habits?
Whatever the reason, you need to identify it before you can address it. Once you figure out the source of stress, you can take steps to reduce the feeling, whether that means communicating with your partner or setting up some house rules to help you transition.
3. Your Kids Won’t Stop Fighting
If you are a parent of multiple children, you know the stress of hearing your kids fight and bicker. If their interactions become unbearable, you have a few choices for how to deal with the situation.
If possible, step away and find a quiet spot to practice relaxing breathing exercises. This is an excellent way to calm your nerves and give you a second to regroup before talking to your kids.
When you are able, try going back to your kids and using active listening techniques to resolve their problems. Even young children benefit from having their parents truly listen to their concerns, and sometimes that’s all it takes to help them calm down and quit fighting with each other.
You can also try engaging in mindfulness activities with your kids to help them stop fighting and stressing everyone out. Try kids yoga or name your mood activity to help them express their emotions in a healthy way.
4. You Lost Your Job
Losing your job is one of the most stressful experiences you can have in life. According to the American Psychological Association, losing one’s job is tied to several mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It can also negatively impact your financial stability and physical health, which play into dissatisfaction in other areas of your life.
While there is no quick fix for losing your job, you can choose to take a proactive approach when it occurs. Give yourself a week or two to feel your emotions and more around, then develop an action plan to help you find new employment.
Try reframing the loss as a beneficial catalyst that is pushing you to explore new opportunities. This mindset change can help you move forward and may even lead to a better career in the long run.
5. You’re Struggling With Your Mental Health
A significant life stressor is struggling with your mental health. Experiencing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, obsessiveness, intrusive thoughts, or addiction can leave you feeling unhappy, worn out, and unable to cope with life’s normal ups and downs.
If you are struggling with your mental health, it is vital that you seek professional help. Working with a trained therapist is the best way to learn how to cope with adverse mental health issues and get to a better place. You can also try mindfulness activities like yoga, meditation, and guided visualization to calm your mind and promote mental clarity.
6. Your Car Just Broke Down
Having your car break down is a super stressor in life. If you don’t live near a public transportation system (and even if you do), your car likely provides you with the means to get to and from work, buy groceries and visit family and friends. Fixing a broken car can cost around $600 or more, leading to financial worry and stress on top of everything else.
The best way to deal with the stress of a broken-down car is preventative maintenance and access to fix-it funds. There’s not much you can do at the moment of breakdown, but if you consider putting away a few hundred dollars for emergencies and having your car looked at a few times per year, the stress of having your car break doesn’t won't impact you as intensely.
7. You’re Going Through a Breakup
Breakups, including divorces, are one of the hardest situations you can face in life. Losing a relationship means losing more than just the companionship of a person you loved, it also means mourning the loss of the life you imagined with them.
Post-breakup, it is important that you allow yourself to work through the cycle of grief. Many people try to move on quickly as if that will minimize or erase the pain.
Sometimes, the only way to make it through the pain of a breakup is to let yourself feel the pain. Only then can you truly process the loss and move on for good when your mind, body, and spirit are ready.
8. You Are Struggling to Pay the Bills
Financial hardship places enormous stress on anyone who experiences it. Falling behind on bills creates pressure and anxiety, and can cause you to feel shame and unworthiness. All of these emotions can negatively affect your relationships, performance at work, and many other aspects of your life.
The best way to approach financial hardship is to try and remove your emotions about the situation and look at the numbers. If you haven’t already, make a budget for your finances and cut back where you can. If you need to, start applying for part-time work that can supplement your income. Even if you only work for a short period of time, it can give you a boost and get your finances back on track.
9. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed at School or Work
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed at school or work can get the best of you. Everyday pressure can take its toll, especially if a big project is due, your job titles change, or your personal life is interfering with your ability to focus.
If you feel overwhelmed and stressed with your responsibilities, you may need to take some time off and regroup. Whether that means traveling and learning how to relax on vacation or creating a relaxing space where you can unwind at home, giving your head a break can help you press the reset button and stop feeling so stressed out.
10. You’ve Lost a Loved One
Losing a loved one goes beyond normal stress. It is one of the most challenging experiences you may have to face in your life. After a loved one passes, you can expect to feel a wide range of emotions like fear, anger, stress, anxiety, relief, or depression. If not addressed, this rollercoaster can have devastating effects on your ability to move forward.
One healthy coping mechanism you can turn to handle the stress of losing a loved one is to make a point of celebrating their life. You can do this by throwing an unofficial remembrance party for their friends and family. You can also express your feelings creatively, through singing, writing, or drawing. The more you become comfortable expressing and experiencing your grief, the better you will cope with the loss of someone you care about.
Remember, You Can Choose How You React
The truth is that stressful situations happen in life. While you can’t prevent them from occurring, you can choose how you react when they happen. Try to deal with your frustration in a healthy way including proactive planning, reframing, and accepting that you may have to sit with the feeling until it passes.
You can also benefit from using stress-reducing exercises and a logical approach to resolve your stressful situation. These solutions help you make the best of everything that happens and improve your contentment with life.