How to Over­come Stress­ful Sce­nar­ios helps to know how you can man­age your dis­tress. Here are tips on how to han­dle three com­mon stress­ful sce­nar­ios.

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#1 When you’ re deal­ing with the loss of a loved one

Noth­ing can re­ally pre­pare you for this, so it’s im­por­tant that you give your­self time to grieve and fully process your emo­tions.

The griev­ing process dif­fers from per­son to per­son. Your grief may kick in im­me­di­ately or it may only hap­pen after the fu­neral, when you have some quiet time to your­self. You may also have feel­ings of guilt mixed with re­lief, es­pe­cially if your loved one suf­fered through a painful ill­ness.

All these sce­nar­ios are nor­mal, and it’s good to ac­knowl­edge the in­tense emo­tions, know­ing that they’ll fade with time, no mat­ter how painful it feels at that point.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­sti­tute of Men­tal Health, although the sense of loss may still re­main, most of us re­cover from a ma­jor be­reave­ment within one or two years. How­ever, Cas­san­dra Chiu, a coun­sel­lor at The Safe Har­bour Coun­selling Cen­tre, points out that it’s im­por­tant not to slip into iso­la­tion and be stuck on the “what ifs”.

“You could start a new ex­er­cise rou­tine or learn a new skill so the fo­cus is not on the loss. You could also cre­ate a project to com­mem­o­rate the loved one that has passed on, like plant­ing a tree in their mem­ory. This helps to give a sense that their legacy con­tin­ues,” she says.

#2 When you’ re anx­ious

It’s nor­mal to feel anx­ious from time to time, es­pe­cially if you’re go­ing through big life changes such as mov­ing house, get­ting mar­ried or switch­ing jobs.

To avoid neg­a­tive emo­tions from per­me­at­ing your life, Cas­san­dra sug­gests pri­ori­tis­ing self-care and cel­e­brat­ing your suc­cesses, no mat­ter how small.

“Even lit­tle wins like fin­ish­ing ev­ery item on your to-do list for the day can be sig­nif­i­cant. The key is to cre­ate more pos­i­tive men­tal ex­am­ples to build con­fi­dence about your abil­i­ties and strengthen your re­silience,” she says.

Pos­i­tive self-care is all about know­ing your emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal lim­its and re­spect­ing them, so make it a point to de­velop healthy bound­aries be­tween your work and per­sonal lives.

“Stress­ful peo­ple and events can wear us down, but if we’re in a good place emo­tion­ally and men­tally, there is lit­tle these stres­sors can do to us,” says Cas­san­dra.

#3 When you’ re in­se­cure

There are days when your self­es­teem is so low that you need to muster ev­ery ounce of

willpower just to “show up”, even if it’s the last thing you feel like do­ing.

Joy Hou, prin­ci­pal psy­chol­o­gist at Em­pa­thyWorks Psy­cho­log­i­cal Well­ness, rec­om­mends de­vel­op­ing some cop­ing skills to help squash in­se­cu­ri­ties and en­hance your “grit fac­tor”:

Con­sciously re­lax: Dur­ing a hec­tic day, take short fiveminute breaks and fo­cus on your breath­ing. Sit up straight, with a hand on your ab­domen. In­hale slowly through your nose, as you feel your hand ris­ing when the air moves into your ab­domen, then ex­hale through your mouth.

Es­tab­lish a sup­port group: So­cial­is­ing after work can help lighten your men­tal load. Joy says: “Build­ing a sup­port group out­side of the of­fice is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially when you may not

want to vent your frus­tra­tions or dis­cuss work-re­lated is­sues with your col­leagues. Meet up with a few trusted friends after work for a nice din­ner, when you can feel emo­tion­ally safe to un­load and share your in­ner­most thoughts and feel­ings.”

Prac­tise grat­i­tude: Not only does grat­i­tude im­prove our psy­cho­log­i­cal health, en­hance self-es­teem and in­crease our men­tal strength,

but ac­cord­ing to a Yale study, it also helps us to en­joy bet­ter well-be­ing and re­cover more quickly from highly stress­ful sit­u­a­tions.

Don’t know where to be­gin? Keep a grat­i­tude jour­nal and pen down three things you’re grate­ful for ev­ery night be­fore you go to bed.

Find per­spec­tive: If you find your­self dread­ing go­ing to work, sur­round your­self with pos­i­tive vis­ual cues by putting pic­tures of your boyfriend, friends or your favourite hol­i­day to re­mind your­self of why you work.

When you feel your­self get­ting over­whelmed and stressed out, take five min­utes and en­joy the dis­play. You can also put up cards or let­ters of ap­pre­ci­a­tion given to you to re­mind your­self of good things that have hap­pened.

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