Some situations become stressful because noone has taken responsibility for them. Imagine yourself as a passenger in a car that is approaching a herd of elephants, and the driver is screaming in alarm and ignoring the brakes. Dangerously unnecessary stress will build up inside that car!
When a bill you can't clear arrives on your doorstep, concentrate your energies on reducing the danger of such unpleasant consequences as your water or power being turned off. Refuse to devote any of that energy to an emotion called panic by taking positive action, such as visiting the municipal utility office and negotiating an arrangement to pay off the excess amount in manageable instalments. If you feel that the amount of the bill does not reflect your actual usage, query the bill first; quite possibly, the meter reader did not come to your home this month, and an inflated estimate was used. Whatever the case may be, creditors are generally more interested in securing payment than in "fixing" you.
Let's take another situation. School begins next week, and you do not have enough money to cover the fees. Going down with stress won't help your child, and your child needs you to take full charge of the situation. Think creatively within the law. You could visit the principal today and offer an instalment plan. If you have a bank account and the bank manager has no reason to hate you, you could go talk to her. Banks are in the business of selling money. If other doors are closed, isn't there something in the house that you can sell this week and perhaps replace later on? This list of possibilities is not a comprehensive one; each one of us has emergency exits they can use in the face of danger. The secret is to remain calm and avoid debilitating panic.
When you deliberately choose to act as a problem solver, you become bigger than the problem. True, some situations are more difficult than others, but it is a better strategy to work harder at tackling them than to fall hard into depression and stress, which bring further, and often more serious, problems. Stay on top of things so things don't crush you.
In the next instalment we shall deal with relationship problems, which are arguably the dominant cause of stress in our world.