Stress has an extremely negative impact on the body and mind. It can cause anxiety, make you feel hyperactive, and can even lead to depression. Although it’s undesirable, stressors are often unavoidable. 


Normal, daily life can be a massive trigger from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. In a single day, you might have to deal with traffic, a long commute, being yelled at or punished for being late to work, not getting enough sleep, having difficult co-workers, and not to mention the stress of family life.


No matter what kind of stress you encounter, it’s possible to manage the situation and turn it around for the better. You don’t even have to change your circumstances – you only have to alter your approach and mindset. 


Here’s how it’s done.


  1. Take the path of least resistance


When you’re faced with a stressful situation, make it your goal to take the path of least resistance to avoid creating more stress. For instance, say you’re facing foreclosure and there’s nothing you can do about the situation. One option you have is to sell your home to to avoid foreclosure. You won’t get to keep your house, but you will avoid a lot of unnecessary stress from being evicted when it sells at auction.


Selling your home before foreclosure will also preserve your credit score and ensure you still have access to home loans in the future. In this particular situation, you’ll need to act fast to avoid your lender losing patience and preventing you from selling. However, if you act fast from the start, you shouldn’t have any problems.


Sometimes reducing stress requires taking some losses, but the path of least resistance is always the best way to maintain your peace of mind.


  1. Breathe deeply from your belly


Breathing plays an important role in controlling stress, but you need to focus on belly breathing rather than sucking air into the top of your lungs. When you pull air through your body, bring it down to your belly and let it expand. You’ll get a fuller breath and it will feel better. For optimal stress relief, sit upright in a chair and place your hands on your thighs with your palms up – you’ll get a deeper breath this way. You can also do this lying down by placing your arms at your sides, palm up.


  1. Don’t react until time has passed


Impulsivity is often a natural response when faced with stress, but it never turns out well for anyone. Try to train yourself out of reacting to situations until you’ve had time to think. This is easier said than done, but it’s possible with a little willpower. The more you react, the more stressed out you’ll become.


When you’re faced with a situation in person, calmly and politely let the person know that you need time to process what just happened and you’d like to continue the conversation later. Whether or not they meet you with the same level of calm, walk away without further response. Don’t worry about what they might think or your reputation.


When you’re facing stress online, remind yourself that you can walk away from your device or computer and nobody will know the difference. If you must respond, type a draft and sit on it for several hours or days to make sure it’s really what you want to say.


Your response to a stressful situation has the power to amplify your feelings or reduce them. Practice choosing the response that makes you feel calm until it becomes a habit.


  1. Rewire your perception


It might seem like other people and situations are directly causing you stress, but it’s actually your perception that is the cause. Situations are stressors that elicit a specific perception from you, and it’s that perception that causes stress


When you rewire how you perceive stressors, you nullify them as triggers. In fact, ten people might have completely unique responses to the same stressor, and this is proof that a situation itself isn’t the cause.


You can control your response to stressors


Remember that although the stress response originates from within, not without, you have control over your perceptions. You just have to make the effort to rewire how you internalize stressors. This can be done with disciplined practices like Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or you can face each trigger and train yourself not to take it personally or fall into your usual patterns.


For instance, if someone yells at you, instead of yelling back, stay calm and take a deep breath. When you do this, you’ll train your nervous system out of being reactive. Over time, you’ll naturally feel less stressed when difficult situations arise.