These days, there are enough stressors in our modern life to raise the blood pressure of even the most devout religious monks!
However, learning to remain calm and change your mood in the face of these stressful situations is vitally important, as people are less likely to trust and respect the people they see flying off at the handle in the face of minor challenges. Over time, being perceived as a person who can’t maintain control of his emotions can do serious damage to your personal and professional reputation – so take the time to implement any of the following tips to learn how to maintain a calm exterior:
Tip #1 – Take a deep breath
First things first, when you feel stressed out or anxious, pause and take a deep breath. Not only will this increase the amount of oxygen flowing throughout your body – which provides an immediate calming benefit – it’ll also help you to avoid making rash and regrettable decisions.
Tip #2 – Put things in perspective
As you’re taking your deep breaths, take a second to put your situation into perspective. On a scale of 1-10, with one being surrounded by unicorns and rainbows and ten being living in box on the street corner, how bad is your situation? Chances are even if you’re facing a legitimate stressor, there are plenty of other things in your life that could be much worse.
Tip #3 – Compare your experience to the “worst case scenario”
If you’re struggling to keep your stressful experiences in perspective, get in the habit of imagining the absolute worst case scenario that could occur.
For example, suppose you’re facing rumors of possible layoffs at work. While this is certainly a stressful situation, allowing your anxiety to influence your on-the-job performance won’t do you any good! Instead, think through what the absolute worst possible thing that could happen to you would be. In this case, if a layoff might be in your future, your worst case scenario might be losing your job, running out of money, being turned away by your parents and finding yourself in the “living in a box” scenario described above.
Now, take a closer look at each of those elements. Could you lose your job? Possibly, but there are also plenty of things you could do to either improve your performance or make it easier to find a new gig. Might you be turned away by your parents? I suppose, but even if this unlikely situation comes to pass, you probably have at least a few close friends who’d be willing to help you out of a tough spot.
By taking the time to envision the absolute worst possible thing that could occur, your own stressor will diminish in importance, allowing you to move on in a calm, clear-headed way.
Tip #4 – Give yourself a break
When faced with stressful situations, try to remember that your immediate reaction may not be your best one. You might initially jump to conclusions that aren’t correct, or you may experience an emotional reaction that will change as you’re able to consider the logical, rational side of your dilemma.
So instead of reacting rashly, remove yourself from the situation and grant yourself the necessary space to process the stressor. You’ll likely find that, after doing this, you’re able to return and address challenging situations in a much calmer manner.
Tip #5 – Take care of yourself
It should go without saying, but you’re a lot less likely to be stressed out when you take the time to get adequate rest, feed your body with nutritious foods and take part in regular exercise. If you need convincing, think back on the last time you dealt with a stressful situation while you were tired or hungry. How much more likely were you to snap or jump to conclusions as the result of external stressors?
By taking the time to ensure that you’re rested and healthy, you’ll be better prepared to remain calm in the face of challenging situations.
Tip #6 – Surround yourself with supportive people
Another great way to handle stressful situations is to build relationships with people who tend to be level-headed and calm. While these people can help you to see the positive side of a stressful situation, you may also find yourself embarrassed to freak out in their presence. It may not be the most honorable of motivations, but heck – I say, do whatever it takes to project a calm demeanor!
Tip #7 – Fake it
If none of these solutions help you to maintain a calm demeanor in the face of stressful situations, you have one more option – fake it ‘til you make it.
Because there are plenty of negative consequences associated with blowing up or acting rashly in the face of stress, you’ll find that you’re taken more seriously and that you’re more likely to achieve your desired ends by simply putting up a calm exterior. Even if you’re seething on the inside, never let the people around you see you sweat!
Do you use any of these techniques in your personal or professional life? Share your personal “remaining calm” strategies in the comments section below: