Techniques for Keeping Calm in Stressful Situations

Everyday annoyances, such as heavy traffic, slow service or disagreeable coworkers, can be stressful, especially when you're facing multiple at a time. And for many people, the holiday season tends to bring an increased number of stressors. Spending time with family members you don't always get along with, concerns about money for gifts, social isolation and increased alcohol consumption can lead to anxiety, depression and, for some, anger.

You may not be able to control some stressful situations, but you can control how you respond in that moment. Here are some strategies for managing stress and keeping your cool.

Learn to Say No -- It can seem like everyone is trying to cram every event into a two-month period at the end of the year. You don't have to say yes to every invitation. Pick a few favorite or must-attend events and give yourself a break from the rest.

Exercise -- With all of the celebrating and eating and drinking this time of year, it can be easy to brush off your workouts. But making time for your health and fitness can go a long way to keeping stress and anger at bay.

Manage Your Expectations -- When visiting relatives, particularly difficult ones, go in with an attitude of "they are what they are." By expecting them to behave how they typically do, you mentally prepare yourself and are better able to handle the stressful feelings that develop from any of their boorish behaviors.

Give Yourself a Timeout -- If you find yourself in a heated situation, take a five-minute walk or go into another room to calm down for a bit. If you're still upset after taking a break, it might be a good idea to leave the situation entirely to give yourself more time to cool off.