Facing Stressful Situations

Cleveland Clinic Staff

Traffic jams, a demanding boss, arguments with your spouse: Stressful situations happen in life. There’s nothing you can do about most of that. But you can control how you react. During tense situations, do you spiral into negativity or do you acknowledge the moment and forge ahead without berating yourself and others? Learning to manage tense situations can help you keep your sanity intact in that moment and — as new research points out — over the long haul as well. As it turns out, how you respond in critical moments is a strong predictor of your emotional health years later. According to Scott Bea, PsyD, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, you can’t change someone else’s behavior, but you can change your reaction to it. To do that, he recommends practicing mindfulness meditation. This practice, over time, allows you to witness the moment without harsh judgments. When you’re able to let go of the meaning you assign to a stressful event, you’ll be less likely to get caught up in your emotions, and the event will feel less stressful.

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