Life can be stressful at the best of times and when everyone around you is stressing out, it can be really difficult to stay calm. However, you don't have to succumb to the stress around you; you can learn how to stay calm in stressful scenarios, instead of losing your cool along with everyone else.
I've often thought of people's emotional states being akin to sponges. If you're a very empathetic person, you may find it difficult to block out what everyone else is feeling which could lead you to absorb some of their negative feelings. Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., author of High-Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout, wrote about how to avoid feeling others' emotions in an article for Psychology Today. Dr. Bourg Carter said, "...humans are highly susceptible to 'catching' the emotions of others. In some cases, this is good; in some cases, this is bad. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and insight, you can improve your chances of catching a good case of emotions while at the same time inoculate yourself from catching a bad case." So don't go beating yourself up if you find it difficult to block out the emotions of others — it's perfectly normal.
What you can do is work on your own peace of mind. This will hopefully help you to gradually create your own emotional armor, that deflects any unwanted negative emotions. So here are some tips on how to stay calm when everyone else is stressing out.
1. Listen To Some Relaxing Music
If the environment you work in is slowly turning toxic and it's getting difficult to breathe among the negative, stressful vibes, pop your earphones in and block it all out with some relaxing music. Clinical NLP Practitioner and Life Coach Lisa Bardell discussed catching other people's stress with Women's Fitness writer Louise Pyne. Pyne said, "Next time you feel the pressure brought on by a colleague at work, crank up some uplifting tunes on your iPod. Music has a massive impact on our emotions, and studies even show that playing music can help to relieve psychological stress." Download your favorite chill out music onto your phone, or check out different relaxing playlists on YouTube if you fancy something new.
2. Do Some Hardcore Exercise To Vent Your Frustration
When you've had an emotionally exhausting day at the office, a stressful morning planning your BFF's bachelorette party, or you've accidentally absorbed some of your partner's anxiety, exercising is a great way to reduce your stress. England's National Health Service (NHS) reports on the benefits of exercise, informing readers, "Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease." Dr. Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant, told the NHS, "If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented." You could try spinning to get your sweat on, opt for kickboxing to really unleash your frustration, or do some yoga to help center yourself.
3. Take A Break From The Stressful Environment
Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the muggy fog of a stressful environment, in order to clear your head and get your own emotions in order. The Huffington Post reported that walking can help to relieve stress, so excuse yourself from your situation and take yourself for a stroll.
You could even take a break from the stress-filled scenario and go and immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings. Writer and Stress Coach Ros Hunwicks informed readers of Mindbodygreen, about ways to utilise nature for stress relief. Hunwicks said, "Research has shown that spending time in the great outdoors lowers our blood pressure and eases muscle tension. So get outside whenever you can — go somewhere green and peaceful. Sit in your garden or in a park. Go for walks, go fishing, or go swimming. It doesn't have to be a wilderness, just get outside into the fresh air, into the green."
4. Learn How To Meditate Anywhere
Did you know you can learn to meditate anywhere, at anytime? Meditation is a state of mind. Certified Holistic Health Coach Amanda Cook discussed how to meditate without actually meditating in an article for Tiny Buddha. Although it sounds bizarre, it makes a lot of sense. Ms. Cook said, "...you can turn any daily activity into a meditation practice: washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, ironing your clothes." She favors baking bread. So learn the basics of meditation, perhaps through a handy meditation app, then start incorporating it into your everyday life and routine. While everyone else is stressing out, you could be mentally floating on your imaginary cloud of peacefulness.
5. Look At The Bigger Picture
Occasionally you have to step back from a situation and look at it with fresh eyes: Does it really matter that you and your colleagues have to start work half an hour early this week, or your friendship group's travel plans have to be postponed? Don't get caught up in unecessary drama with others, instead think about how this situation will affect you in the long run and decide for yourself if it's really as bad as everyone is making out.
Perry Manzano, writer and author of the free guide, 5 Surprising Ways to Reduce Stress and Promote Positivity, discussed ways to stay calm in an article for Tiny Buddha. Manzano says, "Simply put, if an asteroid hit Earth and life as we know it was about to end, you’d have a choice: Would you really spend your final days stressing and worrying about something you have absolutely no control over? Or would you be happy with your loved ones with whatever time you have left?" Choose not to spend your precious life feeding the fires of stress along with others around you. Look at the situation objectively and you're sure to keep your cool.
6. Bring Animals Into The Equation
If there's a stressful atmosphere at work, surprise everyone by bringing your pooch into the office. Alternatively, if you don't have your own pet, see if you can arrange a puppy delivery, like when Uber and the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl teamed up to deliver puppies to workplaces, to bring joy to workers and find puppies a forever home. If you prefer cats, take inspiration from the time Uber delivered adoptable kittens to offices to celebrate National Cat Day.
According to The Telegraph, having kittens in the workplace could help stressed workers. Professor Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Manchester Business School, told The Telegraph, "They don't get rid of the sources of your problem. There is chronic stress, where you're stressed out by something substantial, such as a bullying boss at work. But there's also temporary, acute stress, like an exam, or a very busy week. Having a kitten could help with the latter." Although, it might be best to check with your boss first before you bring in a box of kittens (or even your own pet) because chances are, work will be put on the back burner for a short while. If bringing a pet to the office just isn't an option, swing by the local shelter on your lunch break for some kitty chill time.
Your state of zen shouldn't depend on anyone else, and hopefully these tips help things stay peaceful.
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