Tips on Taming Stress: How to Handle Pressure in the Moment

Debra Riley


Pressure is a normal part of life. The truth? We all come up against challenges, roadblocks, and obstacles we need to overcome almost every day. 

What’s not normal? An extreme, debilitating stress response.

So if you’re experiencing overwhelmingly stressful emotions in response to life’s daily pressures, something could be seriously wrong. 

Stay with us as we identify the most common stress response, provide you with strategies to maintain a calm, peaceful state of mind, and give you tips to tame your stress. 

taming stress

Fight or Flight? An Overwhelmingly Common Stress Response

One of the most commonly experienced stress responses? Fight or flight. It’s our natural physiological and psychological reaction – inherent in us humans since caveman times – to overwhelming, distressing, fear-inducing, and genuinely terrifying situations. 

Picture this: you’re foraging for berries – dressed in your best animal hide loincloths – and an aggressive saber-tooth tiger appears, keen to make you its dinner.

Do you fight it, or do you flee to safety? In response to this extreme stress and impending danger, our body’s natural reaction is to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the nervous system.

These hormones fire up the body into super-human, life-preserving action, and could quite literally save one’s skin from a hungry predator ready to pounce. 

Yes, fight or flight is innate – and in the case of cavemen and women, it was necessary. But fast-forward to today, and do we really need this innate physiological relic of times past?

Perhaps more to the point, if we have an overactive fight or flight response, we could be causing ourselves unnecessary stress. This is an emotional state that’s simply not helpful, or useful, to experience. So how do we overcome this unnecessary response to stress?

Stress-Reducing Strategies: Tips to Tame Our Triggered Emotions in the Moment

In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to regulate our stressed-out emotions – especially when we’re experiencing an elevated flight or flight response. Keen to overcome this? Here are some active steps we can take to reduce stress in the immediate moment:

  1. Identify: What’s Triggering Me?

The first step to calming our stress flare-ups is to identify our triggers. What is it that’s stressing us out in the first place? Self-awareness of the cause of our stress is key to stress regulation.

  1. Detach: Take a Step Back

Next, consider this: putting some distance between you and the stressor. Like a bird flying overhead, observe the situation as though you’re looking in at it from the outside. This will help separate your stressed emotions from what’s actually happening in real-time.

  1. Process: What’s Really Happening Here?

Taking a step back and detaching yourself from the stress can clear the way for you to calmly process what’s happened. There’s no use trying to think rationally when our minds are clouded by stress. Instead, try looking at the problem from an analytical perspective, so that you can grasp the severity of the situation with a clear, calm mind. 

  1. Rationalize: Am I in Genuine Danger?

Finally, rationalize the situation. Is it as bad as you initially thought, or were you just triggered into an overactive stress response that wasn’t warranted? Rationalizing can also assist with coming up with a solution to the problem – which in itself can help you feel calmer and more in control. 

woman under pressure at work

Keep it Going: Maintaining A Calm Mental State Long-Term

So, you’ve learned a little about how to tackle and tame your stress in the immediate moment. But, are you still seeing stress rear its ugly head at any given opportunity? You may need to seek professional support to help soothe and regulate your stress responses. 

The good news? Doctors, medical practitioners, and nurses who have completed online accelerated BSN programs can recommend and even refer you to licensed therapists and counselors. These mental healthcare professionals can provide the emotional support you may need to cultivate a calm mental state and lessen your elevated stress responses. 

stressful feelings

To Finish

Momentary stress is common. What differs between us is how we handle stress in the immediate moment. 

If we’re experiencing elevated stress responses, this could indicate that we need to take active steps to regulate them. Our tip? We should identify our stress triggers, detach ourselves from the situation, and process the cause of our stress rationally. 

The best part? Doing this will not only help calm you down but ultimately, enable you to handle virtually any pressure life throws at you.