So many of us feel like we are under pressure all the time, balancing work, family, and so much more. Yet for some people, all of this pressure translates into being permanently stressed out, while for others, it doesn’t. What’s the difference?

According to Dr. Derek Roger, stress is not caused by other events or people – but by a person’s reactions to those events or people. The pressure is turned into stress when you “ruminate” or think about it too much – especially, thinking about past events over and over in a negative way. With that in mind, Rogers suggests four actions to take so you can keep the pressure at a manageable level without letting it stress you out.

  1. Reconnect with the world around you. You can do this by noticing the things around you and using your senses more. Move around. Engage more with people and tasks. If your mind is engaged otherwise, there will be no space for rumination.
  2. Redirect where your attention lies. If you’re attention is on ruminating, refocus on something. Roger suggests drawing a circle and putting the things you can control inside the circle, and the things you can’t control outside of it.
  3. Keep things in perspective and reframe if necessary. Step back and look at your pressures from an outside perspective. Think about how they compare to other kinds of problems or pressures. Think about how important these things will be in a few years’ time or what the worst possible outcome is. Ask yourself what opportunities or positive things may arise from the thing causing pressure.
  4. Let go. Take a breath or two or ten. Accept the things you can’t change. Create a plan for how to take action on what you can change.

You can learn more about Dr. Roger’s views on stress from the Harvard Business Review.

For more stress-busting tips, check out our previous article, 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Beat Stress.