March 8, 2024

4 Strategies To Stay Calm And Relaxed When You Are Stressed

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Note: This is a guest post by Sara Taylor one of my subscriber. I am publishing this article on her request. I hope you guys will love it.

Sara says, We only get one life – and it’s up to us to enjoy ourselves as much as we can, while we’re still on this planet. To that end, following are four tips on how to stay calm and relaxed in life when you are stressed out.

Learn to ditch the drama and enjoy what’s happening around you RIGHT NOW – no matter what your life currently looks like.

Tip #1: If you want to stay calm and relaxed stop thinking about drama as a ‘good thing’.

Suppose on the way to work, you get held up in gridlock for an hour and so are late for work. On arriving in the office, guess what the FIRST THING that most people will say to their colleagues? … ‘Man!

Traffic was TERRIBLE this morning!’ And then they’ll argue, at length, about how awful traffic ‘in this city’ is how terrible ‘drivers in this country’ are how annoying it is when you make the effort to leave your own house early enough and then are foiled by ‘other people’s’ stupidity and so on.

If you want to have a relaxing, enjoyable life and cultivate feelings of deep contentment, happiness, and gratitude, guess what?

You need to make an effort to stay calm and relaxed and GET PAST this small-potatoes stuff.

Because you know what? It’s always going to keep happening and if you continue to make a practice of talking about how ‘terrible’ or ‘annoying’ these things are and if you keep FOCUSING your energy on it, using it as a jump-off point to bond with others and start conversations.

Then you’re going to SERIOUSLY get in the way of your own relaxation, likeability, and general excellence as a human being.

Don’t be one of those people who use minor – or even major – annoyances in life to forge relationships with other people.

The relationships that result will be shallow and immature, and you’ll be deliberately compromising your own peace of mind – for what?

A few seconds’ worth of shallow commiseration? Just don’t do it.

Next time you get stuck in traffic, lose your wallet, have to stay late at the office because someone else made a mistake – here’s what you’re going to do: NOTHING.

And here’s what you’re going to say: NOTHING. You’re going to carry on with your glorious life as if these petty contrivances don’t even matter. Because you know what? They really don’t.

STAYING CALM AND RELAXATION-MAGNIFICATION TASK #1: 

Next time something mildly or even majorly annoying happens to you, don’t even mention it.

Just go about your day, conversations, and relationships with others as if this thing hasn’t even touched you. See how much more powerful you feel.

Tip #2: Use ALL your time to relax and stay calm - even when you’re washing dishes.

Here’s a novel idea: Relaxation isn’t something that happens when you’ve finished work for the day, finished writing the chapter, or finished cleaning the house.

It’s something that happens all the time. But most people think of it as something that can only be experienced when ‘X’ has been taken care of.

This mindset divides your life up into two distinct chunks: the ‘good part’ that’s worth living and enjoying, and the ‘bad part’ that’s horrible, stressful, and NOT worth living.

When you live life this way, you cheat yourself of so much of your time on this planet.

You ‘suck yourself away into the future’ and literally prevent yourself from living and experiencing each moment of your life for what it is – something neither good nor bad, but your life.

And it’s passing by, one second at a time. Vietnamese Buddhist monk Venerable Master Thich Nhat Hanh (pronounced Tick-Not Hawn) believes that when we rush through the less savory aspects of our lives in order to get to the good part, then we are not really alive.

He uses the example of washing dishes – pretty much a universally loathed task – to demonstrate his meaning.

“There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes. The second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes. 


If, while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, then we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. If we can’t wash the dishes, chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either – we will be barely aware of the cup in our hands Thus, we are sucked away into the future – and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

Dishwashing as a spiritual experience? Why not?

Here’s how to apply this beautiful, enriching mindset to your entire life: Stop rushing through your life.

Make each moment a spiritual experience by consciously being at one with whatever you are doing.

When you are in the present moment your mind naturally feels more relaxed and calm. 

So drop the attitude of ‘getting it over as quickly as possible’, and instead, focus on doing whatever you are doing as well as possible.

Experience the moment, not as a good thing or a bad thing, but simply as one of many moments in your life – there to be experienced, nothing more.

STAYING CALM AND RELAXATION-MAGNIFICATION TASK #2: 

Focus on being present when you wash the dishes – because if you wash them faster ‘so you can eat dessert sooner’, this will mean that the time spent washing dishes is not worth living.

What’s your own equivalent task to washing the dishes?

Next time you do it, practice making it into a spiritual practice: be at one with whatever you are doing, and put your focus on simply breathing, feeling good, and being present while you do it.

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Tip #3: Do what needs to be done as soon as you notice it needs doing.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by encroaching clutter.

Dirty dishes, animal hair, wet laundry, paperwork – all of these things undermine the feeling of sanctuary that you should get from your home, and create an unspoken ‘to-do’ list that constantly hammers in on your consciousness and steamrollers your chances of relaxing.

It may SEEM easier to put off what needs to be done so that you can ‘relax and stay calm for now’ but here’s the thing:

It actually takes MORE energy to resist doing what needs to be done than it takes to just do it.

I’ll give you an example: Sundays in my home are usually a time of sanctity. I like to keep one day a week free of ALL chores – anything that even remotely feels like an ‘obligation’ has no place on my list on a Sunday.

I had a seminar to attend on Friday and all day Saturday (and a friend’s party to attend on the Saturday night) …so I wasn’t able to give my house the usual once over it gets on a Saturday afternoon. 

As a result, I woke up on Sunday surrounded by a dirty house, a cluttered living room, and an attendant feeling of dread.

I so did not want to spend any of my precious Sunday – not one jot! – picking up the detritus from the previous week.

So I decided to put it off until ‘later in the week’, and try to enjoy my Sunday as usual – chore-free.

I got up, fixed myself some breakfast, made some coffee, and tried to relax with the Sunday paper but every time I glanced up from the page, it seemed like all the appliances and furniture in the room had come to life and were dancing about like characters from a Walt Disney movie, singing, ‘We need to be cleaned!

We need to be cleaned!’ I couldn’t enjoy my coffee, breakfast, OR my paper at all, because I had no attention to spare for them and all because my brain was too busy trying to FEND OFF the realization that I had ‘cleaning to do’. 

I literally COULD NOT relax and actually get present in the moment – with each bite, all I could taste was, ‘Ugh … this house is kinda dirty.’

By bite number four, I’d already realized that I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy anything about the day until I’d done what needed to be done.

So I put down my coffee, put my paper aside and cleaned the house. When I was done vacuuming, picking stuff up, and doing the dishes, the house was clean, and felt good to be in.

It wasn’t exactly ‘pristine sparkling’ (I’m not the type to go the whole hog with mopping and dusting unless I really need to) but only 90 minutes had gone by, everything was comfortable and cozy once more and, most importantly, I still had all of Sunday stretching in front of me to be genuinely enjoyed. With a clear conscience.

If being more grown-up about things, and doing what needs to be done as soon as you realize it needs to be done, allows you to enjoy yourself 100% instead of fighting off waves of dread, guilt, or procrastination well.

And let me tell you: even though my waffles had to be reheated under the grill, they tasted a LOT better the second time around – when I could eat them in clean surrounds!

STAYING CALM AND RELAXATION-MAGNIFICATION TASK #3:

If you want to learn how to stay calm and relaxed do what needs to be done as you notice that it needs doing if you have the time to do it then. (You almost always will.) 

If you don’t have time to do the whole thing, make a start: if you can’t pick up the whole room, just pick up 10 things.

You’ll feel better, more adult, and more competent immediately – with the knock on effect of added relaxation and minimal stress.

Tip #4: Know that when your mood is sour, everything else will seem sour too - even when it’s not.

Here’s a rule of thumb that makes a lot of sense: Don’t try and tackle anything major when you’re in a bad mood. (Us ‘Mindset’ writers have mentioned this trick before, in a previous issue, but it’s such an important aspect of living a fulfilled life that it bears repeating.)

If you’re tired, sick, grumpy, or feeling sorry for yourself, not is NOT the time for self analysis, having a ‘serious talk’ about your relationship, or, really, trying to do pretty much ANYTHING of importance.

This idea comes from a great book called ‘You Can Be Happy No Matter What’, by Richard Carlson.

The general idea is that when you are in a bad mood, you need to recognize that it’s your MOOD that makes everything seem bad.

Once you’ve recognized that you’re in a bad mood – and that, therefore, your life will probably seem fairly rubbish for the duration of that mood – it makes sense to honor your inherent faith in the goodness of your life by taking a back seat until the bad mood passes over and the sun can come out again.

When I myself am feeling this way – yes, even self-improvement coaches get the blues! – I take the pressure off myself as much as possible by lowering the demands I make on myself during that time.

Even though we humans have the tendency to really kick ourselves when we’re down – seizing the opportunity presented by the bad mood to pick apart our relationships or freak out about how much debt we’re in.

I take a moment to ACKNOWLEDGE to myself that it’s just my mood that’s making the world seem so scary and then I’ll go take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, go for a run, or hang out with a good friend.

(By the way: real friends - people who know the real you and won’t irritate you further - are the only acceptable company at such a time.

If none are readily available, you’ll probably prefer to be by yourself.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: If at all possible, do NOT try to get creative or heavily-demanding work done at such a time.

When you’re feeling low, you don’t have the extra brain-juice necessary for producing high quality work, and most tasks will feel like a super-hard slog.

(Worse, what you produce will probably be sub-standard to your normal level, and you’ll feel even worse about yourself when you look over what you’ve done!)

So if you have the option, don’t try to get a lot of work done when you’re feeling bad.

For me, I generally find it’s much more productive in the long run to take an hour or two to go for a walk, take a nap, or do whatever it takes to ‘reset’ or relax my mind until I feel ready to be creative again – and when I do, I invariably slip through the tasks at hand like a hot knife through butter.

I recognize that not all of us have this flexibility with our work; some of us have to be in a certain place at a certain time no matter how we’re feeling.

If this sounds more like your situation, it’s probably not a good idea to curl up under your desk and ‘sleep it off’ but you CAN take a short break, go out to get some fresh air, make a quick surreptitious phone call to someone you know will cheer you up, or just save the super-heavy lifting until you feel better.

And no, this isn’t skiving off, either – you’re doing this to increase your productivity, because you will work better when you FEEL better.

So do what you can to take the load off and let the mood run its course.

You don’t need to put your life on hold – but do your best to change your focus and lift the demands on yourself, inasmuch as that’s possible, while you feel low.

Sooner or later, the bad mood will slip off your shoulders and everything will seem bright, happy, and optimistic again - without you having to do a darn thing except take a step back and go easy on yourself for awhile. Works like magic, every time.

STAYING CALM AND RELAXATION-MAGNIFICATION TASK #4:

Next time you’re feeling low, and a big task needs to be done, do what you can to lighten your load until your mood improves. This will feel scary at first, but the benefits will prove the worth of this technique!

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Manish Yadav


My name is Manish Yadav and I’m the owner of the blog "Love Finds its Way". My advice does away with the manipulations and mind games recommended by magazines and the surface level advice of TV gurus… We’ll dive DEEP to you actionable steps you can use today. Over 900,000 men & women have transformed their lives, and I've been featured in Lifehack, Return of Kings, Menimprovement, Urban Dater, and so on...
...My only intention is to help you have all of achieve your dreams and desires and live a beautiful and prosperous life.
And we’re just getting started!

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