How to Stop Yourself Before You Get Stressed

by Rachel Miller

December 21, 2021

ABOVE : Anna Dziubinska

Rushing is not fun. It doesn’t feel good and it doesn’t provide any benefit. It usually leads to mistakes, missteps, and it always leads to stress.

When you’re in the thick of it, though, it feels like the only option. It feels like you’re getting things done. Things keep mounting up and you try to keep up. It’s like you get sucked into a vortex and can’t get out. Next thing you know, you’re tense, stressed, and feel overwhelmed. What if you could stop yourself before you rush? What if you could notice the early signs of rushing and intervene before it’s too late, before it turns to stress?

Try this:

  • Notice the early signs of rushing:
    • Trying to do more than one thing at a time
    • Splitting your attention between two things
    • Feeling mild anxiety, pressure, when looking at the clock
    • Looking at the clock more than once, trying to gauge time
  • Stop and consider: Is this thing essential right now? Is adherence to this plan, this schedule, this task necessary right now? Today? Can it be moved to another time or day, less rushed? What other options are there?
  • Consider: just because you planned for something a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s set in stone—doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. Be flexible to the needs of the moment. What is essential right now? How can you do this thing and not rush? Be open to change. Now might not be the best time to complete this task.
  • Choose what is essential right now. Forget everything else and focus solely on what is most essential this moment. Conquer this one task, this one moment. Then move to the next, one task at a time.

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