New research is popping up with disturbing regularity to remind us how increasingly stressful our lives are becoming. It affects our relationships with coworkers, our performance on the job and our lives at home. How can you defend yourself against stressful situations? One of the best ways is to make sure that you are mentally prepared for the things life throws at you. Here are two things you can do to help you be ready for stressful times.

1. Keep things in perspective

It really helps to have a firm understanding of what is truly important to you. Is it your family? Friends? Take some time to think about this, because whatever you value the most, it needs to be the benchmark by which you determine the importance of the events that happen around you. That way, when you find yourself getting really stressed at work, whether it’s a time crunch, a workload issue or a people problem, it’s easier to answer the following questions:

In the scheme of things, how important is this really? Five years from now, how much of an impact will this have made on my life? Is this a really a potentially life-altering moment? (and if not, then why am I getting stressed over it?) What’s the worst that could happen? And is the “worst-case” really a bad thing (eg. maybe losing this job wouldn’t be the end of the world).

2. Think “What would I do?”

What would you do if you had a bullying boss, a lazy coworker or someone began harassing you? What would you do if the company suddenly had to start downsizing? What would you do if you were asked to transfer to another city? What would you do if your job description were to change?

The point is that our lives can change at the blink of an eye – and the process of wrapping our heads around changes can sometimes be tremendously stressful. So why not think through potential scenarios ahead of time? You don’t need to stress over them, of course (that would be counter-productive), just consider your options. That way, should one of these situations actually come up, you’ll already be prepared.

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