Anticipating Stress - Managing Stress by Preparing For It
How to use tool:
By anticipating stress you can prepare for it and work out how to control it when it happens.
You can do this in a number of ways:
By practicing for a stressful event such as an interview or a speech several times in advance you can polish your performance and build confidence.
By analyzing the likely causes of stress, you will be able to plan your responses to likely forms of stress. These might be actions to alleviate the situation or may be stress management techniques that you will use. It is important that you formally plan for this - it is little use just worrying in an undisciplined way - this will be counterproductive. Formal planning of responses to stress is a technique used by top-level athletes to ensure that they respond effectively to the stresses of competition.
Where a situation is likely to be unpleasant, and will not yield any benefit to you, it may be one you can just avoid. You should be certain in your own mind, however, that this is the case, and that you are not running away from problems.
Reducing the Importance of an Event:
When an event is important to you, this can make it very stressful. This is particularly true where you are operating at a high level, where many people are watching, or where there is the prospect of a large financial reward, of promotion, or of personal advancement. The presence of family, friends or important people can also add to pressure. If stress is a problem under these circumstances, then think carefully about the event - take every opportunity to reduce its importance in your eyes:
Uncertainty can cause high levels of stress. Causes of uncertainty can be:
In these cases lack of information or the actions of other people are negatively effecting your ability to perform. The most effective way of countering this is to ask for the information you need. This might be information on your organization's performance. It may involve asking what your employer wants from you in the future, so that you can set the appropriate career development goals. If you are unsure of how you are doing, ask for a performance review. Where instructions are inconsistent or conflicting, ask for clarification.
If you ask in a positive way, then people are usually quite happy to help.
By anticipating stressful situations you can prepare for them. This may involve rehearsals, plans to counter stressful contingencies, or avoidance of an unpleasant situation altogether.
Stress may also be caused by the size of an event. If this is the case, put it in its proper context within your goals. Where stress arises from uncertainty, ask for information you need.