Don"t Let Stress Make You Rude

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Stress causes a lot of things—heartburn, frustration, accidents, and even heart attacks. It can also cause some people to be rude to others. And then when one stressed out person is rude to someone else who has had a bad day filled with too much on her plate … whoa! You have a recipe for etiquette disaster.

Handling stress and keeping it from affecting the way you treat others isn't easy, but it can be done.

You have to care enough about the way you come across and be aware of everything you say or do.

Tips on Preventing Stress from Ruining Your Manners

Here are some tips on how to keep your stress from ruining your otherwise great manners and relationships:
  • Pay attention to yourself. It is essential to know when you are stressed out in order to control it. If you are having a particularly rough day or hour, stop, take a deep breath, and don't say anything you'll later regret.
  • Avoid sarcasm. Many people find that they become more sarcastic when they are stressed out. For example, someone might state the obvious, and you roll your eyes and say, "Ya think?" That is rude and can have your coworkers and friends avoiding you.
  • Communicate with intention. When you are under stress, your natural inclination might be to blurt the first rude thing that comes to mind. Stop and think before you bite someone's head off, or you'll later regret whatever you said.
  • Be extra kind to your teammates. This could be the people you work with on a project at the office or your spouse who is always there for you. It's natural to lash out at the people who are closest to us, but those are the ones we need to be the nicest to.

  • Find coping mechanisms. Look for ways to help you cope with the crazy amount of stress you are under. No, I'm not talking about alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or food. Find something healthy, like exercise, hobbies, spa treatments, or massages to take you to a non-stressful place.
  • Let other people help. Sometimes there are too many things to do and not enough time or resources to do them. When you find yourself in this position, let go of some of your tasks and allow others to lend a hand. If you have to ask for help, do so in a nice way.
  • Get professional help. If you find that no matter what you do, you can't decrease your stress, talk to someone who is trained in stress management and let that person help you through whatever you are experiencing.

Healing Relationships Damaged by Stress

If you find that your stress has created a rift between you and someone else, there are some things you can do:
  • Apologize. Let the person or people know that you were in the wrong and offer a sincere apology. Give an explanation that you are comfortable with but resist the urge to make excuses.
  • Make it up to the person. Offer to take the person to dinner or out for coffee. As you discuss the situation, allow the other person to express her feelings as well. She might even give you some tips on how to deal with your stress in the future.
  • Ask for signs. Your coworkers, family members, and friends may be willing to tug at their ears or rub their chins when they see that you are about to blow a gasket. Ask them to give you some sort of sign, letting you know when you need to take a step back.
  • Work on being kind to others. When you concentrate on being extra nice to others, you may find that this helps relieve a certain amount of the stress because your attention and effort are diverted from something negative to something positive.
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