Erase stress from your dictionary with these dos and don’ts that'll stop you turning into the big green sulk...

DO

*Keep calm. Stress feeds off anxiety, so, when possible, take a deep breath and respond accordingly. Psychologist Mandy Kloppers advises, “Take time out to compose yourself and regain perspective. If you act impulsively, you may end up taking a course of action you later regret.”

*Focus on resolving things, rather than feeling sorry for yourself. “Once you accept the situation, resistance is rapidly eased and tension lowers," says Kloppers. Ask, ‘How do I move forward with this?’ rather than ‘Why me?’. Try to bring your focus back to the present moment, as often we make the situation worse with ‘What if?’ thinking. Figure out what you can control now and work with that.”


*Know what you want. Don’t dilly-dally around like a child in a sweetshop. Be assertive. Knowing what you want out of a situation will keep you calm because you will be motivated to achieve your goal rather than floundering, going in circles or seeming unsure of yourself,” says confidence coach Mark Maitland.

DON’T

*Be afraid to say no. Stress can make us do funny things. As a consequence, saying yes to a request can be easier than saying no. There are ways to combat this. Confidence coach Matthew Davies suggests having a set of defined values that you adhere to. “Having clear boundaries makes it easier to say no, rather than saying yes all the time. Remember, no is a full sentence.”

*Ramble. Talking quicker than a speed freak on a three-day bender will not allay concerns that you’re stressed or not in control. “Avoid over-talking, because this will show that you are nervous and reduce the impact of what you are saying," says Maitland. Strong performers are clear and concise when they speak, and then they stop to allow what they've said to have weight and meaning.” 

*Fidget. If you look in control, you feel in control. “People who are feeling uncomfortable internally often reveal this in their outward appearance. This can manifest in behaviour such as tapping your hands and feet or fiddling with change or keys. Maintain a good posture and ground yourself with strength and stillness, rather than nervous energy,” advises Maitland.

And if all that fails – imagine something like this and let all the stress just flow right out of you…