Changing our attitude towards stressors
There are many real situations, which cannot but cause stress. We cannot help being "stressed" by a car accident or by a street robbery. So what will our attitude help then?
A proper attitude will not eliminate stress and for cases similar to the above ones, that is not necessary; a proper attitude will help us react with less panic and less useless worry or anxiety. Or, in other words, we will react with the "necessary dose" of stress only: we shall be able to estimate the stressful situation correctly and not "overestimate it. This will facilitate our coping with the stressor and will prevent health risks. It is a way of utilizing the stress responses instead of suffering from it.
In the case of stress caused by emotional stressors, change of our attitude can eliminate stressors and thus eradicate the very cause of distress.
The power of adaptation
We can think of problems as obstacles on our way, but we can think of them as challenges, too. We can yammer about the hardship of tackling a problem, but we can also look at that tackling, as an opportunity for gaining practical experience, as a way of training ourselves. Training which otherwise we would not have enough willpower to perform.
Whenever something bad happens to us, something which brings frustration, we had better think of the experience we gain: we can see where our weak points are, where we mistake in our way of thinking and preparing. Instead of whining after a failure, we had better sit and analyze where exactly we have mistaken, could we have prevented the negative consequences and how. We may find out that our abilities to succeed had been far smaller than we have thought; we may have been blaming ourselves unnecessary for things out of our control. Or we may have really made a mistake, but now at least, we shall know what we have to correct in the way we think/act and will be sure that next time the same thing will not happen. If this way of rational behaviour becomes our habit, we will soon forget what frustration means.
We really are not perfect
The trick is to admit that you may fail - fail to win the match, fail to pass the exam, fail to make the right decision…
To admit means not only to tell yourself "OK. That might happen". To admit means to imagine the failure - to imagine it to the greatest detail, feel all the consequences, all the pain, grief, torment, disappointment, bitterness…
When we are not prepared
One of the greatest sources of panic is not the inability to deal with a situation, but the very thought of not being prepared to so. We become used to the fact that best performance comes after a good preparation. That is true. But not applicable to stressful situations.
The mistake most of us make is to try to perform excellently, realize that they are not prepared to do so and finally miss to do what is just enough. We must change this unconscious habit of ours.
Under stress, the trick is to act according to the situation - not to think what you could have done if you were prepared, but just do what is necessary. It is no time for thinking what your teachers, or relatives, or friends will say - it is time for acting, acting with the resources you have now, not with the resources you "could have, if…". Ignore discomfort, ignore the onlookers, ignore your reputation, ignore the pain and just do what is necessary. Do not stop to think whether you are prepared to do it or not.
suggest additional material/new interpretations on the subject
Âëàäèìèð Ëåâè, "Èñêóññòâî áûòü ñîáîé"(in Russian)
Hans Seyle, in his excellent book "Stress and Distress", discusses the very fundamental issue how we can find harmony and meaning in life. He considers those aspects of modern life, which often make us feel disappointed, dejected, purposeless. His book gives a deep insight into the problems of emotional distress and to a great extent it is a philosophical composition. It is one of the best we(the authors) have read and recommend that you also read it.