Share on Facebook

7 Ways Naturally Calm People Handle Stress

Anyone can borrow these easy tricks and habits that savvy people use to stay calm in stressful or angry situations.

man sitting on window sill in living room looking outsideWestend61/Getty Images

Keep your cool with these tips

Staying calm does come naturally to some—and there’s a lot you can learn from these people. Here are some of the best ways to control your anger and keep your chill before feelings escalate.

woman standing at home entrance looking outsideRidofranz/Getty Images

They stay mindful

Genetics and upbringing are heavy forces in determining whether you are a naturally calm or anxious person, but it’s not the final word. Research shows that the brain and nervous system are flexible. No matter how you are “wired” to react to stress, continued practice can bring your level of everyday anxiety down a notch. “You can shift the needle toward calmness,” says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, the science director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. One of the best mental habits to cultivate is to focus on the present moment. Thinking about the past and future can greatly diminish how you feel right now. “We worry about possibilities that aren’t as threatening as we imagine them to be,” says Simon-Thomas. Mindfulness will help you realize that life in real time—this particular moment—is not a threat. These mini meditations can banish stress from your brain.

man in side view mirror reflectionJacabel/Getty Images

They maintain an “I’m lucky” attitude

People who are naturally calm also feel a sense of gratitude. They might say things to themselves such as, “I’m so happy my mother watched my kids yesterday so I could have a date night.” To practice feeling grateful gives someone the ability to think about all the good things in their lives, notes Simon-Thomas. And most importantly, it shifts the mental state from scarcity into one of abundance and support.

woman taking a break while hikingTomas Rodriguez/Getty Images

They take deep breaths

“Just taking a few deep breathes engages your parasympathetic nervous system,” says Simon-Thomas. Take a deep breath through the nose—the kind that fills your belly. It’s called a diaphragmatic breath. The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as the “rest and digest” system, slowing heart rate and relaxing the gastrointestinal muscles. Deep breathing is also one of the secrets of people who never seem frazzled.

young woman looking in mirror at herselfIryna Yeroshko/Getty Images

They cultivate self-awareness

“Just notice what is happening in your mind and body in real time and allow it to pass,” says Simon-Thomas. Do you get caught up in a snide remark or a conflict with a colleague? Make note of what gets you in a tense state. The idea is to figure out what things individually you’re reacting to that are not a threat in the grand scheme of life.

friends having fun at the beach during sunsetKiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm/Getty Images

They get lost in the moment

Research suggests that the ability to be present for moment-of-moment experiences is an indicator of overall happiness and a sense of well-being. “When our minds wander, we often think about unpleasant things…our worries, our anxieties, our regrets,” says Matt Killingsworth, PhD, a researcher whose data created the landmark study “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind.” Instead, get lost in the moment you’re actually in, whether it’s surfing the internet, diving into a project for work, reading a captivating book, or focusing on a conversation with a friend. If you have social anxiety, here are some tips to calm down your mind.

two women talking to each other in a coffee shopSDI Productions/Getty Images

They give others the benefit of the doubt

If you find your hackles raising because a driver cut you off or your coworker interrupted you in a meeting, step back and appraise the situation objectively: What if your interpretation of the moment is wrong? Are you assuming the other party had bad intentions? Do you really know them well enough to say what they were thinking or feeling? Take this attitude, and you may find yourself taking the lead on fostering cooperation and understanding in tense situations.

senior couple sitting on couch and talking to each otherMoMo Productions/Getty Images

They really listen to their life partner

“It seems to be built into our emotional mechanisms to become defensive and adrenalized when our intimate relationship seems in danger,” says psychologist Randi Gunther, PhD, of couples who “lose it” during tough conversations. One of her tips: Pick an object sacred to you and agree that only the partner holding it is allowed to speak. Instead of responding to a challenging critique right away, you’ll be forced to pause and respond more thoughtfully. Once you realize your knee-jerk reaction is a response to fear of loss of the relationship, you can become more open-mined to better ways of communicating. Next, learn how to calm down from a panic attack.

Sources