“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris
The stress is rising. You’re starting to feel frustrated with situation you’re in. Or angry. Or maybe sad and like you just want to pack up and go home.
But at the same time you also know that you need to calm your nerves and stay cool.
To be able to think clearly. To not overreact, make the wrong decision or to not say the wrong thing in a moment of anger, overwhelm or confusion.
I’m sure you – just like me – have been in situations like these many times.
So this week I’d like to share 17 habits and strategies that have helped me to keep calm and to keep moving forward.
1. Just breathe.
This is pretty much always step one for me.
Just take a few deep breaths and focus fully on them to calm down a bit.
If you have the time in the situation you’re in then I recommend sitting down for 1-2 minutes to do this. Only focus on the air slowly going and out and nothing else.
2. Then think of the consequences.
If you’re in a situation where you need to reply to what someone just said then follow up your few deep breaths with thinking about the consequences if you reply with overly tough words or if you back down instead of calmly standing your ground.
If you have an email or a phone message you need to reply to then consider taking more time to cool down – anywhere between 10 minutes to the next day – to get yourself into the right headspace before you reply.
3. Remember: It’s not always about you.
If someone attacks you with harsh words in a conversation or via email or phone then remind yourself that this may not even be about you.
He might be going overboard or overreacting because he’s having a bad day with a sick child or just a lot of things going wrong.
Or she may lash out because she’s unhappy with her job, marriage or haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while.
This reminder helps me to not take everything so personally and to think for a minute and calm down instead of being reactive and escalating the situation.
4. Take it just one small – or tiny – step at a time.
If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out then don’t make the classic mistake of thinking you have to do everything at once to solve this situation.
Just focus on making a start.
On one small step or even just a tiny one you can take to move forward.
I find that when I approach a situation like this then I rarely get stuck in analysis paralysis and my mind calms down when I…