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How to Manage Stress and Stay Cool, Calm and Collected

March 07, 2022

Person looking through a journal

Staying cool, calm and collected when your cortisol levels are rising isn't always easy. While there are things you can do in the moment to welcome back a sense of calm, the best strategies are the ones implemented before the stressful event even arises. 

It's about cultivating a mindset that allows you to accept, adapt and evolve in stressful situations.

Just remember, you need to practise these strategies over and over again before they become your "default" stress response. 


Focus on what you can control

Ask yourself: Is this within my control? 

If the answer is no, let it go.

It's easier said than done, but focusing on the latter steals time, energy and resources away from the things you can actually control. 

Focusing on the controllable will also help shorten those moments of frustration and stress, instead of letting those feelings spill into days and weeks.


Expect change

Change is inevitable. The desire and expectation that things will stay the same is often the root cause of stress and suffering.

When you resist and resent change, you will naturally suffer more. 

When you expect, prepare and embrace change, you will be in a better position to adapt and evolve.


Reframe the situation

Your mind will believe anything you hear or tell it repeatedly. This can work for you or against you. Your perception of stress changes the way stress affects you. Remember, intermittent levels of stress can increase your focus, boost your performance and encourage growth.


Repeat mindset-shifting affirmations

The fact is, you have power over your mind. You can train it to believe anything. Repetition is key. 

My favourite affirmation to repeat when life gets a little stressful is this:

Life is happening for me, not to me. 

This affirmation promotes acceptance (of the things you can't control) and allows you to problem-solve your way through setbacks.

When you choose to believe that life is happening for you, it's easier to move into a state of acceptance.  


Breathe deeply

I feel as though I only started learning how to breathe properly in my late twenties. Prior to that, I was just shallow breathing my way through life. 

Do you feel the same way? 

Take a deep, slow and steady breath through your nostrils. Hold it for a second at the top. Slowly exhale with control through both nostrils. 

How good did that feel?

That's accessible to you all day, every day. 

When you exhale for longer than you inhale, you're relaxing and de-stressing your body. Use your breath to welcome back a sense of ease and calm an overactive mind. Make this a habit. It will be one of the best habits you'll ever build.