How to Relax During Stressful Situations

Trying to relax during a stressful situation can be a challenge. After all, it’s hard to relax when your mind is racing and when events are stressing you out. If you find taking a break to relax difficult when the pressure is on, consider the following approach.

During the last days of World War II, someone commented to President Harry Truman that he appeared to bear up under the stress and strain of the presidency better than any previous president, that the job did not appear to have aged him or sap his vitality, and that this was remarkable—especially in view of the many problems which he faced as a wartime president.

His response was, “I have a foxhole in my mind.” President Truman mentioned that he was able to go inside his own imagination to escape stress and to relax.

In essence, the president created a “theater in his mind” (a phrase created by Maxwell Maltz, M.D.) where the president went when he wanted to leave the many problems and challenges he inevitably encountered.

This is great advice for people today. When things get too stressful, give yourself a mental time out and retreat into a peaceful place you create in your mind. The best part is that you can do this anywhere, anytime, whether you’re at home, in your office, or stuck in traffic. The reason this works is that stress is an emotion, and emotion always follows cognition.

Males generally find it easier than women to compartmentalize because men have already cultivated the approach. However, by using a theater of the mind, women can also be successful.

The more you realize that the only way to change a feeling or emotion is to change your thinking, the more effectively you will be able to handle challenges. Of course, understanding this is only the first step. As with any procedure, it needs to be implemented at least seven times before your brain will have made new neural connections to form a habit. Therefore, give it a try today … and the next day … and the next. Keep going and watch your stress level decrease.

Live Without Stress

Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at