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11 Ways Successful People Stay Calm
Blog / Motivational / Nov 22, 2022 / Posted by Mike Ciccolella /

11 Ways Successful People Stay Calm

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We all experience stress and anxiety. In today’s fast-paced world, stressors are abundant and unavoidable. Stressful events can include job interviews, excessive workloads, group presentations, prospecting and sales calls, multi-million dollar revenue quotas, deadlines, moving, injuries, illness, divorce, marriage, loss of a loved one, and other high-pressure situations. Stress is simply part of the deal if you live an “engaged” life. Rather than letting it run you down, you can find constructive ways to deal with stress.

Keeping a clear head in stressful situations is an important skill. It helps you think clearly and make wise choices. The benefit of keeping calm in challenging situations is immeasurable – it will keep your stress levels in check and open up new opportunities. It leads to more remarkable personal and professional growth. I’m confident, at least once, you’ve been overwhelmed by the moment and lost your cool. However, I’m sure you also wish you had handled yourself differently. But that kind of control isn’t always natural. It has to be learned and cultivated through practice.

These musings are partly a result of decades of daily practice of meditation, breathwork, affirmations, and yoga while doing my day job of helping companies transform their businesses and increase company profits. I’ve already shared some of these thoughts with executives, sales and marketing teams, and clients. May these eleven ways help you stay calm no matter the stressful situation.

1. Don’t worry, be happy.

On a sunny summer day, I sat on a park bench playing improvised rhythms on congas with a fellow drummer at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. People would stop to listen, smile, and sometimes dance. At one point, I heard beautiful jazz singing behind me that kept getting closer. Eventually, I saw the voice belonging to Bobby McFerrin, who flashed me a big smile. He said it best in his #1 hit a cappella song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Worrying is a natural and normal part of the human condition and helps us cope. Frequent tendencies to get caught up in thoughts about things that have happened, are happening, or might happen in life, especially during stressful situations, is easy.
Instead of worrying so much, focus on the good and positive changes made and how you’re moving forward and growing. Excessive worrying and ruminating on the bad only increases stress, keeps you stuck, and prevents you from completing tasks and accomplishing goals. Instead, focus on the positive – what you’ve accomplished, learned, and progressed.

2. Relax, Rest, and Rejuvenate

Before my sales and marketing career, I was a homemaker/companion to the elderly and disabled in private homes, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes for three years. The majority of people were lonely to varying degrees. Some had family that visited or called, and others did not. Some folks were incredibly lonely.

The common theme all the elders discussed was the importance of taking time off work to relax and enjoy life. Everybody wished they had spent more downtime communicating or simply being in the presence of loved ones, family, and friends

You need to take care of yourself first to serve and take care of others. Excellent self-care can include massage therapy, acupuncture, cupping, chiropractic, cryotherapy, spa treatments, herbalism, nutrition, sound baths, reiki, solitude, staycations, vacations, and enjoying high-quality sleep.

3. Breathe

Breathing exercises are an effective way to relax the mind. Controlled breathing is a core technique used in various mindfulness practices, including mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy.

When you’re stressed, try taking a few moments to breathe deeply. Focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your body. Notice the sensation at the tip of your nose, the rise and fall of your chest, and the feeling of your lungs filling up with air. This simple act can help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and reduce feelings of anxiety and panic. When your breathing is under control, it’s easier to remain calm and clear-headed – essential qualities for handling stressful situations.

There are many great classes, videos, books, and apps on breathing techniques. Here’s a free, easy 10-minute breathwork example, Relax and Breathe: Do Nothing for 10 Minutes. I especially like the Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof and the work of James Nestor. I encourage you to explore and discover what works best for you. So when you’re feeling stressed, focus on your breathing for a few moments. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Exercise daily

Exercising has numerous mental and physical health benefits, including significantly reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and strengthening the immune system. Studies have shown that exercising can reduce negative moods like irritability and anger. Plus, exercise releases natural mood-enhancing endorphins that make you feel happier and more relaxed. When your body is in working order, your mind becomes clearer, too.

If you’re feeling stressed, try getting in a quick workout. Run, hike, cycle, swim, dance, row, lift weights, play competitive sports, do yoga (vinyasa style is my favorite), or walk for 30 minutes. Here’s a relevant and informative article: The Average Walking Speed—and What It Says About Your Health.

The important thing is to move your body to improve circulation. The more vigorously you work out, the more endorphins you’ll release. In other words, regular exercise can transform you from a stressed-out person to a happy and relaxed person. Investing in your physical health has significant mental health benefits, too. When stressed or exhausted from a stressful situation, the last thing we often want to do is exercise. We want to do nothing. But could you fight that impulse? Don’t let it turn into a negotiation with yourself. You can say, “Now it’s time to get up and move.”

5. Meditate

Meditation is an excellent way to clear your mind and reduce stress and anxiety. It involves focusing on your breathing and tuning out external distractions to achieve a state of mental relaxation while cultivating greater compassion and awareness.

There are many different types of meditation, including mindfulness, body scan, guided imagery, walking, transcendental meditation, loving-kindness, and more. Over decades I’ve tried over a hundred beautiful styles. Many great options for classes, videos, books, and apps (Headspace by Headspace Health is rated #1) are available. I encourage you to explore and find what works best for you.
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No matter which style you choose, meditation is proven to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and increase focus and productivity. Meditation can also help you develop a healthier perspective by reducing your tendency to overreact to adverse situations and people.

Try meditating for 10 minutes or so when you’re feeling stressed out. The activity has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in a few minutes. The longer you meditate, the more benefits you’ll see. Meditation is a skill that improves with practice, so try to make it a part of your daily routine. I find it particularly helpful to meditate first thing in the morning, before and after exercise, and before going to sleep.

6. Have a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset and focusing on your strengths can help you stay calm in stressful situations. People with a growth mindset tend to be more persistent and less likely to give up due to fear of failure. A growth mindset can also help you bounce back from defeat – instead of letting it get you down, you can use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

When you’re feeling stressed, focus on your strengths, identify areas for improvement, and think about how you can apply these to your challenges. A growth mindset will help you stay calm by keeping things in perspective.

Remember that having a growth mindset is not about being overly optimistic. It’s about acknowledging challenges and having faith to overcome them. To explore this topic further, I recommend The School of Greatness with Lewis HowesThe Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett, and Motivation with Brendon Burchard.

7. Positive affirmations

“Life is good, and so it is!” — Louise Hay

Affirmations are positive statements you can read, listen to, or say aloud to reprogram your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling stressed, you can use affirmations to help you stay calm and keep your anxiety in check.

Affirmations serve as powerful reminders of your strengths and positive qualities – they help you be kind and gentle to yourself during difficult times. When stressed, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being overly critical of yourself.

Remember, there are no limits to what you can achieve! Affirmations can help you break a negative cycle by reminding you of your strengths and positive qualities. Also, you can craft your affirmation based on the situation. Repetition of affirmations leads to belief. When that belief becomes a conviction, things begin to manifest. In this area, I am drawn to the work of Bernadette Logue, such as 400+ Powerfully Positive Affirmations, and also to Louise Hay.

8. Develop a support network

Having a solid support network of trusted loved ones or friends you can turn to when you’re feeling anxious or stressed out can help you stay calm, strengthen relationships and bounce back from challenging situations. Expressing yourself and talking to people can also give you a new perspective and help you stay calm by reminding you that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

It doesn’t matter if you’re ten or one hundred years old; feelings of stress and anxiety are universal – they’re something we all experience at some point in our lives. Having a solid support network of people you can turn to when you’re feeling stressed out can help you stay calm, overcome challenging situations, and help you achieve your goals.

9. Be present

Being present in the moment can help you stay calm in stressful situations. This is essential for anybody who wants to reduce anxiety, increase focus, and improve relationships—being present means paying attention to what is happening instead of worrying about the past or stressing out about the future. Being present can help you remain calm even when faced with difficult situations, like interpersonal conflict, work drama, and friends and family issues.

Be presentBeing present allows you to deal with the here and now and respond appropriately. It helps you focus on one thing at a time instead of getting overwhelmed by the many things you must do. It enables you to put things into perspective and see the bigger picture. It helps you not sweat the small stuff.

Practice being as present as possible in your daily life. Being present allows you to appreciate the world around you, connect with others, and live life to its fullest. It also helps you to reduce stress by taking your focus off of things that cause you anxiety. Don’t let yourself get lost in thoughts about the past or something that may happen in the future. In the bestseller book The Power of NowEckhart Tolle is on point regarding this topic.

10. Smile

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” — Paramahansa Yogananda

Smile and shift your awareness to the positive. A smile facilitates the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins – all of which help your body to relax, lower your heart rate, and lower your blood pressure. Plus, the serotonin released by your smile acts as an anti-depressant, lifting your mood quickly.

When you smile, it benefits everyone around you. Giving someone a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day and make them feel better! Make a conscious effort to smile and uplift others. Smiling is contagious; your mood will improve when you see somebody else smiling back.

11. Be grateful

“Be in a state of gratitude for everything that shows up in your life. Be thankful for the storms as well as the smooth sailing. What is the lesson or gift in what you are experiencing right now? Find joy not in what’s missing in your life but in how you can serve.” — Wayne Dyer

Reflecting on what you are grateful for is a great way to improve your mood, attitude, and state of being. Gratitude can also help reduce stress, improve relationships, and boost resilience.

Set a daily intention to practice gratitude. Every morning set the tone and make it a point to think of at least three things for which you’re grateful. Being thankful for what you have puts things into perspective and helps you appreciate who and what you have in your life.

Conclusion

We all experience stress and anxiety. It’s how you choose to react that matters. I hope these eleven ways help you stay calm and peaceful. Enjoy the ride!

Thanks for reading! Like what you read? Follow me for more helpful strategies and tactics. 

About Author

Mike is the Founder and CMO of Grow Your Sales Pipeline℠. Strong ethos in service to others for positive transformation and vibrant growth. Delivered over $500M into sales pipelines. Collaborate productively and comfortably with C-Suite and other leaders, including Founders, Owners, CEOs, Presidents, Partners, COOs, CROs, CMOs, VPs of Marketing and Sales.

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