Too stressed to communicate well? |5 coping strategies

by Betty Lochner on May 2, 2011

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately, and, quite frankly, this whole positive communication thing gets really challenging when you are feeling overwhelmed and cranky.

My life is pretty full right now.  Like most of us, I have a lot going on.  Work is crazy, my community activities are crazy, my consulting business is crazy, my family is crazy, even the weather is crazy.

Like Penny here, all I really want is a good nap.

At work  I know I should display some energy and enthusiasm for the hard work going on around me during a really busy time. But, I really don’t want to.

Instead, what I really want to do is just go all negative. Maybe complain or gossip a little. Just to feel better about me.  Yeah, let’s make it about me.

Ever feel that way? As you may guess, that’s not a very productive way to handle stress.

“Too stressed to communicate well” – my top 5 coping strategies

1) Look on on the bright side.

There’s always a silver lining. Take a minute to pause, and think of what is going right in the situation, or in your life. Do you have a house to live in? Running water? A job? Be thankful for that. Sometimes we get bogged down and forget to put things in perspective.

2) Find humor in the situation.

When you think about it, most situations we find ourselves overwhelmed about are pretty funny.  When I’m late for work, I always tell my story:  I spilled coffee on my blouse, I couldn’t find a shoe, the dog barfed on the rug, and on and on. It is really pretty silly to be so stressed out about normal human things that happen regularly (well, to me anyway).

3) Prioritize.

When you are juggling multiple things that are stressful, think seriously about what your priorities are. Are you spending the most time on the things most important to you?  Think about that. Give the appropriate amount of time to the situation and focus on the really important stuff.

4) What can you let go of?

Sometimes one of the biggest stress reducers is the power of saying no.  I was recently being considered to sit on a community board that I was very interested in being a part of.  After thinking about how I would manage that, I said “no”.  We both respected my decision, and I am thankful now that I thought it through before I got in over my head.

5) And, yes – do get some sleep.

Being rested can make a huge difference in helping you stay positive and focused.

Once you deal with your stress, you’ll find it’s much easier to relax, pause, and communicate positively.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.

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