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Tag Archives: strategies to keep calm

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It happens to all of us: we reach a tipping point that makes us want to explode, run away, or do something completely rash that we’ll later regret. Maybe a troublesome co-worker hasn’t completed their portion of a project again. Maybe a client is making unreasonable demands. Or maybe you’re about to give a big presentation, and you’re all nerves. How can you deal with a stressful situation and maintain a confident calm?

Try these three techniques:

1. Use the “100 years test”

Picture this: A car cuts you off in rush hour traffic as you’re making your way to work. You can’t find a parking space in the employee lot due to a big client event, and you’re late to an important meeting. At the meeting, you realize you’ve misplaced your notes and have to bumble your way through your presentation. THEN, just to put the cherry on top of your awful day, you realize you’ve parked illegally and your car’s been towed.

You’re fuming—mad as a bull in a china shop. You’re about to return home to your family, and probably lash out at them (unfairly) and make everyone around you feel just as rotten as you’re feeling right now. But wait! This is the perfect time to utilize the 100 years test. The test goes like this:

Will any of this matter 100 years into the future? Will the dangerous driver, your tardiness, your flubbed meeting, and your towed car be remembered in the annals of history? Likely not. All of those unfortunate events pale in comparison to the way you treat your family and the legacy you leave with them.

Remind yourself what truly matters. Every day, we have to deal with a hundred minor inconveniences. Don’t let yourself get hung up on those unimportant annoyances. Instead, use the 150 years test and instantly put things in perspective.

2. Excuse yourself

If you feel yourself reaching your boiling point, sometimes it pays to physically remove yourself from the space or the people who are causing you anger or anxiety. Just creating some temporary relief from the stressful situation can help to give you perspective and restore your calm. Take a short walk (outside, if possible!), meditate at your desk for five minutes, or squeeze a stress ball for a few minutes. Think about the situation while you’re physically removed from it, and then return to the space when you’re feeling calm and ready to deal with whatever has set you off.

3. Assess the “threat level”

Like the 150 years test, assessing something’s “threat level” is a good way to look at a non-optimal situation from a more neutral standpoint. This is a concept articulated in the book True Blue Leadership by Tracey C. Jones. Ask yourself, “Does this current annoyance threaten my family, my life, or my soul?”

When it comes down to it, these three crucial components should be first and foremost in your mind. If the annoyance is non-threatening (a chronically late co-worker, a bad hair day, an upset client), remain calm! There’s no need for a “fight or flight” response. Tell yourself, “I’m dealing with a nonthreatening situation. It’s best to stay calm and collected.”

How will you Keep Calm and Carry On this week? Try one or two of these three methods and let me know how it goes!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S NEW ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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At one time or another, we all must deal with a crisis or emergency, whether at work, at home, or out in the world. While we can never know where or when these events might occur, there are steps we can take to ready ourselves for when that time comes. When we have trained to navigate a crisis, we can remain calm. Remaining calm can give others peace of mind; this will encourage them to focus on the task at hand, and remedy the crisis, instead of worrying about possible outcomes. Here are four strategies for remaining calm during a crisis:

 

Have a Plan: Chances are, your building or office has a first aid kit on site and fire evacuation plan established. It is just as important to plan for business-related crises. With a plan in place, you can tackle a situation proactively, rather than reactively. While there may be no way to plan for every possible scenario, there is value in preparing for potential crises, such as handling a hesitant client or defusing a public relations issue. With a clear crisis management plan, team members can efficiently collaborate to address the situation and begin to execute the plan.

 

Breathe In, Breathe Out: When under mental or emotional stress, your body physiologically reacts; with rapid breathing and increased pulse, your brain may be too worried about your well-being to concentrate on the crisis in front of you. Turning your focus to your breathing for a few short minutes can return you to your previous state. Try breathing in through your nose for five seconds and exhaling out of your mouth for seven seconds. Now, with a calm body and mind, you can pay attention to the current emergency.

 

Be Your Own Cheerleader: The concept of fake it until you make it has some credence to it; even if you don’t always feel confident or brave, telling yourself that you are can help boost your self-esteem. Out loud or in your mind, tell yourself that you know you’re smart and capable enough to conquer the task before you. This is a strategy that you could use every day; that way, when crises arise, you may not need the internal pep talk like you did before. Additionally, when you emanate this confidence in front of your team members, they are more willing to rally behind you and have trust your capabilities.

 

Practice Mindfulness: In moments of crises, your mind can flood with what-if thoughts and negative outcomes. When you practice mindfulness, you can concentrate on the current task without being distracted by unhelpful thoughts and emotions. This allows for better ideas for crisis resolution in a shorter amount of time. If you want to train yourself to be more mindful, you can practice outside of work: focus on each step you take as you walk the dog or concentrate on each dish as you wash it.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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