When life gets rough, sometimes it’s hard not to fall apart and sink deep into an abyss of negative emotions. Have you ever wondered how some people can be so calm during the most turbulent times while others can’t? Would you like to adopt some coping strategies that keep you calm during the bad phases of your life? Here are 9 things you can do to get through tough times with a level head.
1. Cry if you need to—for a while.
Some people are more emotional than others. But repressing your emotions doesn’t always help. If you do repress them, it’s like holding a beach ball under the water. You can do it for a while, but it will eventually come back to the surface—and sometimes in an explosive manner. So have a good cry once in a while. Let the emotions out in order to help yourself think more clearly afterwards.
2. Then stop the crying and put your logical side into the driver’s seat.
Once you let your emotions out, make a decision to put your emotional side in the passenger’s seat and let your logical side drive. Logic will help you stay calm and focused during chaos. If you let your emotions out with a good cry or two, you can shift mental gears and do the next step: solve the problem.
3. Be solution-oriented.
Dwelling on the negatives won’t change anything. Let’s say you just lost your job. Maybe it was shock. So you’ve had your cry and/or the time of freaking out, and then you made the decision to put your logical hat on. Now look at the possibilities. Start applying for jobs. Think about a career change or starting your own business. Look at the actions you can take to make your situation better. Then do something.
4. Remove yourself from the situation if you can.
Maybe you didn’t lose your job—but you hate your job. Or your boss. Or your co-workers. Maybe you’re in an abusive or loveless relationship. If there is any possible way for you to remove yourself from a negative situation, then do it. Staying and dwelling on the negatives won’t make you happier or calmer. Sometimes you just need to get out so you can have a better life.
5. Keep things in perspective.
Sometimes what we think is a tragedy isn’t really a tragedy. It may just feel like one. As I look back on my life, some of the things that I thought were the end of the world were really just stepping stones. I like to ask myself the question, “At the end of my life, am I going to look back at this problem and feel that it was significant? Or will I just laugh at how upset I was over it?” If you can give your problems a new perspective like that, it will help you stay calm. Sure, some problems really are huge. But many of them are not—we just think they are.
6. Remember that it won’t last forever.
One of my favorite quotes is: “The only thing constant is change.” While that’s an ironic statement, it’s actually very true. No one stays in once place. It might feel like you’re staying in the same place, but time marches on. If you take action to make a better life for yourself, then you are claiming your power and taking that first step toward being happier.
7. Ask for help.
Unfortunately, a lot of people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s not! Where has it ever been written that everyone needs to go through their problems alone? Nowhere! Having other people support you—either emotionally or by actually doing something to help—will make you feel like you have less of a burden on your shoulders. Less burden equals more calm, collected, and lighter feelings.
8. Realize that it could be worse.
Another thing that helps me keep calm during tough times is that I always remember that there are a lot worse things that could be happening. Maybe you did lose your job, but at least you have your health and perhaps family members to help you get back on your feet. Somewhere in the world, someone has it a lot worse than you do right at this moment. I know it doesn’t always feel that way, but many times, it’s true.
9. Believe that things will get better.
Hope. Hope is everything. If you don’t believe that things will change, then they won’t. I always love to quote Henry Ford when he said, “Whether you think you can—or you think you can’t—either way, you are right.” If you think things will get better, then they eventually will. If you think they won’t, then they won’t. Your beliefs shape your experience.
Staying calm when life gets rough takes practice, but it can be done. If you practice these steps on a regular basis, eventually it will become second nature to you.