3 Steps to manage stress

Jan 6, 2021 | Career Advice

I Hate It

Every summer for the past 6 years, instead of enjoying the sun, like many of you right now, I put myself through stress being worried about my exams.It didn’t have to be like that if I’d known what I know now.Why do we do crazy things, work crazy hours, and kill ourselves to pursue some notion of success?

The reason is possibly due to fear. Consider this: why do people stress out about taking exams? Because they’re afraid if they don’t get at least a 2:1 or 3.6 GPA, they won’t get that banking or consulting job they want. Why do people in relationships stress out when they can’t answer their text message on time? Because they’re afraid of what their partner will think, say or do if they don’t get a prompt reply.

To reduce stress, I’ve found it to be helpful to just stop being afraid. Another way to look at it is like this: Only control the controllable. This means if something is not in your control and you can do absolutely nothing to impact something, accept it, and let it go. If you have exams coming up, all you can do is prepare the best you can. After that is done, you don’t control the questions on the test paper. The other thing you can do to reduce stress is create a contingency plan for your worst-case scenario.

For example, if you prepare for an interview and you don’t get the job, you could decide that you will simply apply to a different company.Sure it’s not ideal, but it’s hardly the end of the world. So next time you are feeling stressed out, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can I do anything about what I’m stressed out about? If so, do it.
  2. Is what I am stressed out about out of my control? If so, what’s the worst that could happen? What’s my concrete contingency plan?
  3. If I’ve already done everything within my control and I’ve already developed my worst-case scenario contingency plan, then everything else is out of my control. Let it go. Just let it go. Don’t allow room for fear. Without fear, there is no stress.