If you’ve followed the content I release on Odyssey, you know that along with writing articles for this website, I also make YouTube videos. My YouTube channel is called Diary of a Socially Awkward, and I release content there twice a week. On Fridays I upload challenge, story time, rant and cover videos. On Mondays, I specifically upload advice videos for people with social anxiety, something that I experience myself. While I enjoy making the videos on YouTube and will continue to do so for a long time, sometimes I fail to get across information that is much better conveyed in written form. For that reason, in this article I want to write the main points of a video I recently released on my YouTube video:
I’ve been going through a stressful time in my life, but I’ve been handling the stress by getting into a manageable routine. Now that I’m getting back into a rhythm, I want to help other people learn to handle and manage their stress. So here are five tips and tricks for how you can reduce stress in your everyday life.
1. Ask yourself, what about the situation can you control?
I often feel stress when I feel helpless, or feel that there is something about the situation I can help with, but I don’t know how exactly to help. If you also experience this, it’s important to think about what in the situation can you control. If you’ve done everything that you can do, now it’s just a waiting game, and that’s alright. Sometimes you can’t help any more than you’ve already done. So if you know that you’ve controlled everything you can about the situation, do your best to relax and understand there is nothing more you can do.
2. Count 5 good things that happened during the situation.
For example, I recently had two job interviews for two different positions at a child development center. During the first interview I was working with infants, an age group I’d never actually had experience with before. There was a moment when all four of the babies were screaming their heads off for four different reasons, and I felt like I was expected to know exactly what each child needed, but I didn’t. Instead of freaking out and calling it quits on the interview, I calmed down and did my best to work with each baby individually. My supervisor ended up taking over for me, but at the very least, I can say I didn’t lose my mind in that situation.
Being able to recall five good things from the stressful situation ensures that you don’t look back on the experience with regret or shame. You can reflect on what you did well and what you can work on in the future.
3. Distract yourself from the situation for half an hour
When you feel like your stress is overwhelming and controlling you, it’s important to take a step away from the situation for at least half an hour, more if you need to. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but if you can, read your favorite book, listen to your favorite songs, watch your favorite show or goof off with your friends. Do something that will distract you from your stress and make you feel relaxed for half an hour. When you return to the stressful situation, you’ll be able to handle it with a clearer mind.
4. Remind yourself that something good will come out of this bad situation
I’m a firm believer not that everything happens for a reason, but that you can always find something good to come out of a terrible experience. Even if the good is just that you learned a lesson, that’s something positive to take away. So even if you’re in the middle of the situation, try and find some small spec of good. You can hold onto this thought while you’re continuing to deal with the bad experience.
It can feel ridiculous to smile when you’re stressed, and I’m someone that looks creepy smiling when I’m not happy. But smiling for five minutes when you’re upset can actually improve your mood. Even if you continue to feel bad about the situation, you’ll make the people around you feel more comfortable, and that, in turn, will make you feel less stressed. So smile.
These five tips and tricks can help in any stressful situation, whether it be a job interview, having a difficult conversation with a family member, or interacting in a social situation when you have social anxiety. I hope that if you try these tips, they work for you, or that you can find your own method of managing your stress.
If you’re curious, the video version of this article is here, along with my YouTube channel where I offer advice to people with social anxiety.