We all do different things to calm ourselves down in stressful situations. Sometimes these things were learned in childhood, and others we adopted as adults. Whatever the soothing anecdote is, it can sometimes be unhealthy and lead to more stress in the future.
Daily life holds so many stressors, from family life, work life, relationships stress, financial stress, and much more. From the moment we step outside the door in the morning we are bombarded with external and internal stimuli that could lead us down a path of negative thinking. Hopefully somewhere along the way we have learned what does not work for us in terms of coping skills when disaster arises. And in learning that, we can work on developing more positive steps in getting ourselves out of anxiety and stress, and back to that calming state.
So what do all those people who seem to not be bothered by much do that is so different than those of us who can get stuck in negativity?
The Art of Letting Go
They don’t obsess over every single detail. Have a big presentation tomorrow at work? Calm people don’t work themselves up every night leading up to the presentation, obsessing over every single thing that could go wrong. Have a fight with your spouse? Calm people solve with a reasonable discussion instead of yelling and storming out.
People who maintain a sense of calm, don’t get stuck in their behaviors and thoughts. Said something that hurt a loved ones feelings? Apologize with sincerity, and then let it go. Letting it go frees up so much time we spend on obsessing over what someone else is doing or thinking, and replaying situations over and over in our head. It allows for clear, constructive, and stress free thoughts.
Putting the Emphasis on Thoughts rather than Action
When you’re stuck in a negative thought process, it is possible that this is stopping you from taking action. Many people have anxious thoughts that stop them from being able to see that there might be a solution. We can focus on an event past or present, and continually let the negative thoughts repeat in our heads until we are so clouded over there isn’t any room for a different pattern. If you’ve had a fight with your spouse, do you tend to go over the fight in your head multiple times afterwards? Do you pick apart everything you’ve both said, and play out all the worst case scenarios?
These thoughts don’t leave room for action, or for a change in behavior for next time a fight occurs. Instead of focusing on the last fight you’ve had, think about what words can be said, or behavior that can make the next fight more constructive.
A Negative Thought doesn’t turn into a Negative Day
Your internal dialogue is important in the way you interact with your environment. You might be short with a co-worker because you’re still telling yourself negative things about the fight with your spouse the night before. If someone cuts you off in traffic, it turns into a negative thought about the city you live in, to the job that have to commute to, etc.
Calm people have an ability to experience a stressor, think something negative, and then go back to a calm neutral state of mind. They don’t let one incident or thought, turn into a negative dialogue on repeat for the entire day.
Changing the way we think is not an easy task. It takes practice and effort over a period of time, but it certainly is worth it as the quality of our lives could be so much better with a more neutral reaction to life stressors. Check out this article at Psychology Today for some more insight on what calm people never do.