We all know at least one person who can stay cool and collected in any given situation. Although some people are born with a more relaxed disposition, many calm people engage in everyday habits that actually help keep them calm. Participating in activities that help diminish stress along with learning how to prepare for situations that might get you riled up or upset can help you stay levelheaded and serene when faced with conflict or unwanted emotions.
"While some of disposition is hard-wired, other aspects of it are learned," says Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. over email. "We actually learn to be upset, so it stands to reason that we can learn to be calm."
We're all triggered by different situations, but knowing ourselves and we how we react to life's circumstances can help us engage in the right habits. And just because you easily react to situations now and often feel stressed, emotional, or under pressure doesn't mean you're doomed to feel that way forever.
If you want to feel more serene and content, whether it's when you're dealing with your emotions or interacting with friends and family, you might want to consider adopting some of these 11 habits of calm people that help them feel calm.
1. Practicing Mindfulness
Whether you choose to meditate, take calming walks, or do a number of other mindful activities, practicing mindfulness can help you reduce a lot of stress and anxiety. "When you live mindfully you are focusing on the current moment," says licensed counselor Chris Depew, MA, ALC over email. "You don’t allow your mind to wander to things that are not happening right now."
2. Deep Breathing
Studies have shown that the ability to focus attention on your breathe can help you deal with everyday stress, anxiety and emotional ups and downs, according to Harvard Health. "Try beginning your day with simple mindful breathing exercise that will help you develop a sense of calm and focus," says emotional wellness expert Jamie Price over email.
3. Thinking Before You React
"A good rule of thumb is to sit on an email, text, or even a discussion for 24 hours hours before you respond," says relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad over email. "That way, you give yourself an opportunity to process through your reaction, seek consultation, and carefully craft your position. If you move too early, you may regret your impulsivity."
4. Getting Good Sleep
Sleep is more important than we give it credit for. After a sleepless night, you may be more irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to stress, according to Harvard Health, and even just partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. More sleep = more feelings of calm, so it's important to prioritize your beauty rest.
5. Having A Calming Mantra
"Have a personal, calming 'mantra' to help you center and focus," says psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly over email. Silently repeating a single word or phrase to yourself can quiet the system responsible for your mind wandering, according to a study from the journal Brain and Behavior.
6. Managing Expectations
A study from University College London found that in terms of happiness, it doesn't matter if things are going well, as long as they are going better than expected. "Calm people are not attached to outcomes," says Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D. over email. "They have learned to do their best and let go."
7. Avoiding Stimulants
"Limit your use of caffeine, cigarettes, and tobacco-based vaping," says Kubacky. "All of these things are stimulants, and people who are already chemically stimulated will be much more likely to get over-amped."
"Carry a journal to jot down thoughts and emotions that are distressful," says Manly. "This helps give them a 'place to be' to get them out of your mind." Multiple studies show that journaling can help combat stress, anxiety, and depression, and it can even help you recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
9. Appreciating Uncertainty
"Take some time each day to think about how nothing stays the same," says Price. "Recognizing that everything is changing all of the time can help you become more open, flexible, and able to go with the flow by accepting that most things are out of your control."
10. Seeing Life Through The Eyes Of Others
It's easy to react to our own emotions, but it can help to place yourself into someone else's shoes before jumping to conclusions. "When you’re struggling to allow someone to do things in their own way, try seeing things from their perspective," says Price. "Take time to listen all the way through, and be open to learning something new by seeing how other people do things."
11. Trying To Observe Objectively
"When news is stressful, instead of reacting, panicking, or future tripping about what could' happen, try to step out of the storm long enough to become an observer," says psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish over email. "Being an observer keeps you in a calm, slightly detached place, which helps you become more solution-oriented."
Being calm can take practice, but the more you work at it, the more natural it will become.
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