In October, we celebrate the Mental Health Month in Playtech Estonia. For that, our Software Analyst Vsevolod wrote down his tips of how to deal with stress.
Nowadays, there are many approaches to dealing with the consequences of stress. You may have heard about different solutions like practicing yoga, going on a nature retreat, etc. Each of them has a different level of feasibility. I endeavour to tackle a given issue from a different perspective. How can one manage stress or at least minimise its damage? The goal today is a better understanding of emotional pressure and how to handle it.
We will start with our perception of reality and how we react to certain events. A good start is not to take things personally. Occasionally, life unfolds in mysterious ways, and that is no one's fault. Be prudent and understand that events may appear difficult or just confusing.
You may be asking " Exactly how can I prepare for the unexpected?". There is one trick from Napoleon: before battle, he asked his generals what troops would do in different situations on the battlefield. Yes, history shows that he was not prepared for everything; however, it also shows that if you are prepared for most situations, you still may be successful. While life is guaranteed to surprise you, what about a situation that you have never faced before? Obviously, it is hard to be prepared for something new, but don't let fear overwhelm you and blur your mind. It’s likely that someone else has had a similar issue before. The rule is simple: "Better ask stupid questions than act in a silly way."
In feudal Japan, people practised self-cultivation. One of the pillars of this wisdom was the art of steadfastness. In the morning, seasoned samurai would have thought something like: "always bear a sword before leaving the house because the world is a tough place and you must be ready". Luckily for the modern world, today is not as scary in some respects as it was. However, it can bring plenty of difficulties. Therefore, to seize the day, you must be prepared for it by putting yourself in the right headspace. How to achieve that? Cook a delicious breakfast, dress with tones that make you more confident, use a perfume that reminds you of that exciting trip to Paris. Find your own personalized approach to give you mental energy in the morning.
Another suggestion is less overthinking, especially about your life. Although reflection is vital in learning and preventing the same blunders in the future, having the burden of anxiety is not helpful. As I said in the previous passages, life has a lot of surprises. Humans, as intelligent lifeforms, always try to make sense of the events that are happening. That is called rationalisation. Although for many people it is a remedy, for others it is a never-ending cycle of deep thoughts. Don't set yourself too deep in one frame of mind. Slow down and take a breath. Try repeating the following mantra: "Yes, it's tough, but you are strong, and you know how to do it, so do your best". Practice mindfulness and place yourself in another environment to be free from the negative frame of mind.
People have been thinking about the hardships of life for many centuries. This knowledge is summarized in the Jewish saying, "This will go with the time and that also will go" or in a shorter equivalent from Latin, "Momento Mori (we are mortal)". Stop and think about how this event will affect your life in a week, 10 months, few years. The fewer and less impactful consequences you have, the less stressed you need to be. Start practising by casting away irritation with the small things.
Everyone has insecurities, big and small. I would suggest something rather daring: face them. Sometimes there will be an important meeting or a difficult project or an uncomfortable situation. Yes, all of that can cause you unpleasant feelings. One of the lessons from Seneca is that your expectations about the result may be overestimated both in negative and positive directions. Try lowering your expectations and just doing as much as possible to prepare for the given event. If something does not go favourably and it wasn’t your fault, don’t stress about it. I use the following motto: "Be prepared for the worst, hope for the best, and eventually the outcome will be in the middle".
While stressful situations have changed over time, core problems have persisted. Thus, we can use the wisdom that people have gathered over the centuries. I have used these practices myself and can feel how it is easier for me to overcome difficult circumstances. Now I hope that you can find some relief in using these techniques as well.