Breathing exercises and emotional support playlists can come in handy.
But staying cool, calm and collected in the midst of stressful moments are less about your immediate reactions.
They have more to do with cultivating a better perspective.
Whether it’s a big move to a new city, or conflict at the office, here are 9 habits that can help you look at the stressful moments in your life differently.
1) They sit with uncertainty
What makes a situation stressful?
Perhaps they evoke strong emotions that we have to scramble to process. And usually, it’s a reflection and reaction to uncertainty.
Life events that signify change are usually the culprit.
For example, starting a new career can make your mind go in all sorts of directions trying to feel like it’s in control. Imagining scenarios that may or may not happen.
Your intuition is also at play here because when you feel unsafe or uncertain, it’s a confirmation that change is imminent.
This understanding and faith can do wonders as you face new chapters in your life.
But how can you stay calm when it feels like there’s no guarantees?
2) They know how to disconnect
Well, you can start by taking that fear of uncertainty as a sign that you need to lower your intake of anything in life that doesn’t serve you in that moment.
…Things that aren’t reciprocating your desire to grow and only serve as distractions that keep you in limbo!
Like social media, TV, unhealthy eating habits or other distractions that keep you feeling less than amazing about yourself.
People who are able to stay calm in stressful situations are able to take a break from things that aren’t helpful to their mental wellness. They know they’re entitled to rest.
It might feel odd because you might feel like you aren’t doing enough. Your brain will at first go a million miles an hour adjusting to this and make you feel like you’re losing even more control.
But people who are able to sit with their discomfort and disconnect understand that this is just a part of it. They know they’re just making more room for better things in alignment.
3) They know how to pivot
Which can be more than just staying busy!
To me, pivoting is making small changes that help you feel more comfortable with discomfort. Or asking questions to help break down a problem or task you have.
Not only does this push you to change in a realistic way, but it reinforces new beliefs in your mind and emotional body. That there’s more to life than your comfort zone.
That you can’t miss fate as long as you don’t give up on yourself.
Pivoting can also mean adjusting yourself mentally by lowering or fine tuning your expectations. I don’t mean settle, but rather decide what deserves your time and energy the most.
To have your priorities straight requires you to let go of expectations. It also means not allowing rejection to shape your decisions in a negative way.
Because it’s simply a sign that something better is waiting ahead.
But what exactly does “better” mean?
4) They regularly reflect on their values
This is where “better” adopts a new definition where it doesn’t boast or compare.
Instead, it molds to your needs and wants. Which requires you to know yourself.
People who are able to ride the waves of life are able to look at a situation and decide how they want to go about it based on what they value.
If you base what you value on external factors such as what other people think, you will find that your foundations won’t be as stable.
And they will only wobble more when you’re caught up in the midst of uncertainty.
If you want to find out what your values are, pay attention to your emotions and what helps you feel safe. Is it consistency? Integrity?
And allow yourself to change your mind and experiment until you find values that work for you.
These will be the pillars you can fall back on during life’s harsher weather. And gently let you know when you should let go of something unaligned.
5) They practice patience
When you take the time to reflect on yourself and prioritize what you need, the whole narrative changes.
I never really understood when people would say patience is virtue. Or when people would talk about how we need to surrender to allow change to happen.
Because sure, I can “surrender” but what should I do in the meantime? Just sit here? Think about what I want? Sleep?
And the answer is a bit of everything!
Truly, the definition of patience isn’t about waiting for something to happen. But rather taking your mind off of it to focus on everything else you’ve put off.
It’s allowing more doors to open than the one you really want. It’s believing that you have more doors than you think!
So in terms of habits, this can mean keeping busy with things that soothe you and bring you joy. Because being patient isn’t being patient towards the universe or whatever else, it’s being patient with yourself.
6) They stay creative
You don’t have to paint every day to keep your cool. Being creative can be anything that helps you have fun and think in a non-linear way.
This could be cooking something delicious for yourself, or experimenting with new make up! Anything that allows you to get out of your comfort zone in a stress-free way.
That way, you can apply that energy to times when you do feel stressed out! It’s all about teaching yourself that achieving your goals is a combination of hard work and fun.
Being creative also helps you stay flexible so you can pivot, come up with solutions or kill time with ease.
7) They make time for their community
Sure there are large-scale situations like change that require you to cut back on socializing. But there are also small-scale stressors that occur in our everyday lives.
Especially if you spend a lot of your time in a collaborative environment, whether that’s professionally or personally.
If you’ve ever met someone who always seems to know what to do or has great leadership skills, it’s not entirely because they know everything. Nor is it because they have some kind of superpower.
It’s because they value their community and other people around them!
When you understand that you’re not the only person that is affected by your decisions, you move differently. Your focus becomes less on yourself but on the greater good.
Similar to how your personal value system can help you not focus on certain losses or setbacks, serving your community helps to eliminate certain stresses as well.
By volunteering, or even helping out a loved one, it can help you shift your focus in a way that grounds you.
8) They check in with their support system
Once you find the power in serving yourself as well as the greater good, it’s time to balance it out!
And you can do so by connecting with people that reciprocate your efforts and support. So you can continue to be independent as well as interdependent.
This puts everything we talked about together. From being deeply rooted in yourself, having values that ground you, and people who remind you what matters!
Some ways you can tell you have the right people around you is when they’re able to give you new perspectives but not make you doubt yourself.
They add to your pre-existing foundation.
By regularly keeping up with people who genuinely care for you, you can stay accountable and build trust with yourself and others.
This not only helps your emotional well-being, but also helps you grow mindfully.
9) They manage their time and energy wisely
Now, switching gears to some nitty gritty, specific habits!
Being organized, planning ahead and staying on top of your health all pertain to this. Because staying calm isn’t about dealing with stress when it comes up, it’s about managing it regularly.
Like an immune system!
This involves having your priorities straight, but also about being disciplined in your day to day.
Like making sure you’re eating and sleeping enough. Or if you’re struggling with remembering certain tasks, using a timer or alarm.
This is a great place to experiment and take the time to get to know what helps you stay motivated.
Personally, I find that the things that keep me motivated are things that are a reflection of things that I value.
In fact, I believe that motivation is the product of feeling in alignment with the unknown. It reminds me that I am safe and can take on new challenges with ease.
It all comes down to taking care of yourself and being intentional
Your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health are all interconnected.
A calm mind, body and soul is not just efficient for when life hits you with a curve ball.
It’s also one that can stay open to new possibilities. And handle being surprised here and there.