In times of stress don’t do anything stupid. Instead, pause and do something special for yourself

Andrea Zanon Confidente
4 min readOct 12, 2023

I learned from personal experience that overreacting in times of hardship can cause more pain than gain. Over the last 20 years I experienced highly stressful situations and I will never forget a few of these, as I rushed decisions resulting in heavier losses for me and for the people that loved me. Had I only paused, analyzed the events with patience, I would have saved money and protected my mental strength. Instead, my impulse and instincts caused and accelerated a crisis that would have not started had I not done anything.

Shit happens: When something bad happens or we think something bad may happen, we should take time to clear our minds and get more information and consider all viable options. Rushed decisions cause more damage and can slow down the recovery process. Distressed situations, and even crisis is often the result of lacking information and overthinking or misreading a situation that is outside of our control. To prevent this from happening avoid negative self-talk at all costs and silence the noise around you. Also practice positive self-talk particularly when we don’t know what is going on around us.

A personal self-created crisis: Just an example. About eight years ago, I was the head of a Development Bank Unit and I kept getting mixed messages from my boss. I jumped to conclusions and panicked. I thought I was getting fired as she acted weird and did not respond to the multiple emails and messages. Wrong! She was having a bad month, and coincidentally she was afraid of being replaced. Additionally, she was not emotionally competent and did not know how to read my needs. Think of how many times we jump to conclusions without having all the data. It is mostly just in our head. Also, think of how many times we create artificial stressful deadlines that lead to more hardship.

The point I am trying to hammer here is that crises happen only in our mind, or at worse they are very mild manifestations of life’s events. And “shit does happen” and you should get used to it. And when we do accept that life is always going to suck a little bit, as beautifully expressed by Mark Manson in his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, we are going to be able to better tolerate pain and become…

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Andrea Zanon Confidente

International sustainable development consultant and empowerment specialist