It was my first interview.
I tried really hard to convince myself that I wasn’t panicking. I printed the relevant notes, practised in front of the mirror at least 5 times and checked that my attire was prim and proper. I couldn’t and shouldn’t be panicking.
But I was.
I know because I was having that sickly-ache in my tummy that reminded me of a post-sashimi buffet. When I went to the toilet in a feeble attempt to relief myself, nothing came out.
Does this situation sound familiar? If it does, you might be suffering from acute stress, just like me.
According to the American Psychology Association, acute stress comes from demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future.
It might be the interview for your dream job. It could be that make-or-break presentation to your boss. Or like me, it could simply be part of your job scope that you just aren’t handling well enough.
Apart from stomach, gut or bowel problems, other symptoms of acute stress include emotional distress (anger, irritability, anxiety) or muscular problems like tension headaches, back/jaw pains and muscles/tendon/ligament problems.
Thankfully for us, acute stress is manageable and easily dealt with. Here are some of the tried and tested management methods:
1. Take a brisk walk around your neighbourhood; take in the sights and smells. Focus on details you’ve never noticed before, and you will find yourself being distracted from that seemingly herculean task. Prior to the release of my A level results, my best friend and I had a concurrent case of acute stress right after dinner. We decided to embark on a 2 hour long trek along Sixth Avenue and Upper Bukit Timah that proved to be extremely cathartic.
2. Identify what’s stressing you out and compare it to other hard times you’ve been through before. Convince yourself that you’ve already pulled through the hardest and this shouldn’t pose as a difficulty. Akin to facing a common house lizard after T-Rex, the immediate stress of a problem will significantly decrease.
3. Promise yourself a treat upon completion of that hard task. Be it a trip to the zoo, a sushi treat, or just a dinner date with your favourite person on earth. With a reward to look forward to, you will tend to look less at the immediate problem and more to that treat right after.
What are some of the methods you use to deal with acute stress? Tell us more in the comments box!
Jacelyn is interning at JobsCentral with the editorial department. She is halfway through her time here and has yet to successfully manage acute stress. You can give her some tips through