Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

Many people fail to distinguish between worrying about something that is bothering them and taking action to change the situation.  Sometimes, there are people who seem to think that talking about the situation, complaining about how bad it is or how much it displeases them is enough to change it.  Often we tell ourselves that just venting helps them to feel better.  Often it does not.

As a result, people often do not consider whether the situation that is upsetting them is something that they have any control over or just something that they must figure out how to endure it.  Here are some helpful steps for manage the impact that stress can have on us.

Identify the trigger.

Explore what is causing you to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Try to identify when the feeling first started for you and spend some time being honest with yourself about your feelings and your reactions to events, circumstances or people that you have encountered. While there are times that you may be reluctant to admit what has upset you to someone else for fear of how it may be perceived, you should always be honest with yourself.

Analyse the trigger.

It is important that you explore why you have reacted the way you have to the trigger event or situation.  Knowing this can often help you as you plan how best to address or respond to the situation.  In addition, you should also examine whether it is something that you have any control or influence over. Or is it something that you must simply decide whether you can accept it or not.

Decide how you will respond.

You have the power to decide what action you will take, how you will respond in the stressful situation and whether you will accept or change your involvement. If you have control or influence over the trigger, you can decide what actions you will take to remedy the situation. Once you have decided, you must then, take the action. If you fail to take action, when you have the power to create the change you want, you no longer have the right to complain about the situation.

If, however, you do not have any control or influence over your situation, then you need to focus on deciding what change you will make, either in your mindset or in your involvement in the situation. Either you will change the way you look at it so that it becomes more tolerable or you will leave and move on. To decide what you want to do, you need to ask yourself some key questions.

  • Can you accept the situation as it is?
  • If you cannot accept the situation as it is, what changes will you make in yourself to find the situation more tolerable? How will you change your mindset or your perspective?
  • If you are not prepared to make changes in yourself, then you have to be willing to remove yourself from the situation that consistently causes you stress or leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

In summary, the strategies for dealing with stress are simple. Either you can change the stress point or you can’t. If you can, change it. If you cannot, then accept it or move on. Either way, worrying or complaining will not help the situation. Therefore, they are not effective strategies for managing stress and should never be used.


Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance.  She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados.  For more of her writing visit



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