Stress and Coping: How do I get over the feeling of stress?

(Originally published on Quora on August 15th, 2013)
The essential antidote for stress is to be able to concentrate fully on what you are doing at any given moment, instead of worrying about what comes next. I will simply list the elements I believe are critical for this:

  • Don’t Hold It All In Your Head – get todos/projects off your head and onto some trusted system (read up on Getting Things Done or other productivity methodologies.)
  • Make Decisions – If there are decisions you’ve been avoiding making, make them now, or at least set a deadline for when you must make them.
  • Accept Your Limitations – Things that are beyond your power to change should not cause you stress. Making a clear distinction between what’s within your power to change and what’s beyond it can work wonders on stress.
  • Learn to Concentrate – Vipassana meditation as well as many other meditation techniques train you to focus your mind on the activity in front of you, rather than jumping around, worrying about the future or remembering the past.
  • Broaden Your Perspective – If a stressful situation becomes unbearable, I find it always helps to look at it from a broader perspective. Is it going to matter much in a year, five years, a decade? Is it possible for you to be happy even if the worst case scenario happens? What are the chances of the worst case scenario playing out? Are there things to be grateful for, to appreciate about this situation?

Hope this helps!