Today I developed a new appreciation for bus drivers. Perhaps it was because during my short 15 minute bus commute to work I saw my bus driver be the direct receiver of other people’s stress and frustration 3 times. Just a guy, doing his job, and doing it well – and all the while being blamed, targeted, held responsible, and insulted for literally doing nothing wrong. I don’t know about you, but I sure couldn’t do that job.
All this to say I imagine bus drivers and other individuals in those types of customer service roles have got to have some pretty heavy duty coping and stress management skills and techniques. Some of which likely include aspects of Stress Management Strategy Number 4:
Accept the Things We Cannot Change.
Sometimes some stressors are unavoidable (think losing ones job, becoming ill, being yelled at by a stranger, being snapped at by a loved one…) In cases like these sometimes the best thing is to figure out how to accept things as they are. Of course this is often MUCH easier said than done, but in the long run, it’s a whole lot easier than fighting a situation we cannot change and may not have any control over.
In essence, don’t try to control the uncontrollable: We are much better off using our energy to think about and choose how we want to respond to uncontrollable situations (for example, the behaviours of others). We always have control over how we react.
Look for the upside: Overcoming and moving through challenging situations and interactions without losing ones cool is not only very satisfying but it also increases our capacity to handle difficulties without getting too, too ruffled.
Learn to Forgive: Although it would be nice if the world were fair, just, and hassle free, unfortunately it is not, nor will it ever be. Expecting it to be so only leads to unnecessary hopelessness, anger, and resentment. The world is imperfect and people make mistakes. If we can accept and bare this frustration we will free ourselves to enjoy life much, much more.
Talk to supports: A friend, family member, therapist… whoever we feel safe and comfortable talking to. Expressing what we’re going through can be very healing – even if there is nothing that can be done to change the stressful situation.