ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Deal With Stress

Updated on October 12, 2008

Stress Can Be Either Good or Bad

Despite its negative connotation, stress itself is both good and bad. Basically, stress is nothing more than the body's response to a change in circumstances. Something in the external environment has changed and we need to react to it.

For instance, the starting gun is fired and the runners take off - here stress is healthy and beneficial in that the body reacts to the challenge of the race and it is all systems running full throttle to win. Another example, you are running a few minutes behind but should still be able to make the important meeting on time. Suddenly the traffic on the freeway comes to a halt. You are trapped in the middle lane and between exits. Action is required and your body again energizes all systems to charge ahead. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do and the stress of being energized for action, but being forced to sit helplessly in your car, results in agony and a wearing down of your body.

Mental Attitude is Key to Dealing With Stress

Fortunately, we are not fully at the mercy of bad stress. True, we cannot control all of the negative stress factors in our lives, but the way we mentally approach stressful situations can enable us to either avoid bad stress in many situations or, at least, reduce the effects of bad stress. Our mental outlook and the way we approach stressful situations can give us a great deal of control over the negative effect of stress in our lives. Consider this example: a guy is standing alone at a party and admiring a gorgeous girl across the room. Suddenly, the girl turns smiles and begins walking toward the guy. The stress level of the fellow rises as body prepares for action. Three choices of action are open to him:

  1. He can turn and run from the building. This is good, in that the running will enable him to quickly burn off the energy that suddenly built up in his body, and it will also remove him from a potentially painful emotional experience. Rewriting the old saying “it is better not to have loved than to have loved and lost”. Life may be dull for this fellow, but it is probably not stressful.

  2. A second option would be for the fellow to start questioning why such a beautiful girl would want him. Going a step further, he convinces himself that he is not good looking enough, he is too dull for this woman, he is going to make stupid comments and lose her. Just like the car in the example above which is trapped in a traffic jam with no way out and no way to release the pent up energy, this fellow is trapped in a traffic jam of his own fears with no way out and no way to release his pent up energy. Stupid as this scenario seems, it is common enough so that comedians like Ray Romano (Ray Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond”) and Jason Alexander (George Costanza in “Seinfeld”) have made fortunes playing this type of character on TV.

3 The third option is for the fellow to be overjoyed at his great fortune. Here he was, standing on the sidelines of the party trying to locate a woman to approach and trying to work up the courage to approach her, when, suddenly, the perfect woman smiles and comes to him. Taking advantage of the new rush of energy and excitement, he smiles back and begins walking toward her eagerly anticipating where this might lead. His stress is put to good use and propels him on to bigger and better things.

In all three cases above, the situation was the same but the stress was negative in only one of them. In the other two cases the stress was either neutralized (example 1) or put to good use (example 3). The determining factor in each example was the mental approach to the situation.

The simplest and best way to deal with stress is to have the right mental attitude. Understand first that we have very little control over our bodies becoming stressed or over our feelings and emotions. These are pretty much automatic reactions by our bodies and we have no control over them. However, how we deal with the situation immediately following our bodies’ initial automatic reaction is largely under our control. In the case of the car stuck in traffic, the driver can either sit, in the car, allow his anger to build and worry about being late or, simply accept the fact that he is going to be late and calmly wait for the traffic to begin moving again. Just because worry and anger were his body’s initial, and normal, reaction to the traffic jam doesn’t mean that he has to cling to them and stoke them. Hanging on to these emotions converts an annoying situation with minor stress into a crisis with major negative stress. Going a step further, this individual could use the time stuck in traffic to analyze the situation and see that the real problem here is not the traffic jam but his habit of leaving late which means that any type of obstruction or unanticipated event will result in the commute being interrupted and his being late for work. Deciding to re-arrange his schedule and leave earlier each day is a proactive response to the traffic jam that will greatly reduce the chances of encountering stressful delays in the future.

While not the only way to deal with stress, a proper mental attitude can be a giant step forward in managing and dealing with stress in your life.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kosanya profile image


      5 years ago

      I like the idea about being proactive and making the best of things and just accepting. Although, mental attitude sometimes does not protect from all the stress out there. Read my blog about stress management

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you, useful! To me dealing with stress has always been a struggle. I do try and rationalize things at the end =)

    • profile image

      El Ray 

      7 years ago

      Hey Chuck,

      This is an excellent article on how to deal with stress through mental outlook and approach. Btw, the example given and the choices were classic.


    • profile image

      Francoise Bonhoure 

      8 years ago

      I've really enjoyed this post. Being proactive and responding by going forward in the situation feels good and uses the energy not only positively but also allows energy to expand, which is the better result one could hope for!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)