10 Ways Suc­cess­ful Peo­ple Stay Calm

The Miracle - - Lifestyle - 1. They ap­pre­ci­ate what they have. Source:www.suc­cess.com

T ak­ing time to con­tem­plate what you’re grate­ful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also im­proves your mood, be­cause it re­duces the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol by 23 per­cent. Re­search con­ducted at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis found that peo­ple who worked daily to cul­ti­vate an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude ex­pe­ri­enced im­proved mood, en­ergy and phys­i­cal well-be­ing. It’s likely that lower lev­els of cor­ti­sol played a ma­jor role in this.

2. They avoid ask­ing “What if?”

“What if?” state­ments throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a mil­lion dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, and the more time you spend wor­ry­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ties, the less time you’ll spend fo­cus­ing on tak­ing ac­tion that will calm you down and keep your stress un­der con­trol. Calm peo­ple know that ask­ing “What if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

3. They stay pos­i­tive.

Pos­i­tive thoughts help make stress in­ter­mit­tent by fo­cus­ing your brain’s at­ten­tion onto some­thing that is com­pletely stress-free. You have to give your wan­der­ing brain a lit­tle help by con­sciously se­lect­ing some­thing pos­i­tive to think about. Any pos­i­tive thought will do to re­fo­cus your at­ten­tion. When things are go­ing well, and your mood is good, this is rel­a­tively easy. When things are go­ing poorly, and your mind is flooded with neg­a­tive thoughts, this can be a chal­lenge. In th­ese mo­ments, think about your day and iden­tify one pos­i­tive thing that hap­pened, no mat­ter how small. If you can’t think of some­thing from the cur­rent day, re­flect on the pre­vi­ous day or even the pre­vi­ous week. Or per­haps you’re look­ing for­ward to an ex­cit­ing event that you can fo­cus your at­ten­tion on. The point here is that you must have some­thing pos­i­tive that you’re ready to shift your at­ten­tion to when your thoughts turn neg­a­tive.

4. They dis­con­nect.

Given the im­por­tance of keep­ing stress in­ter­mit­tent, it’s easy to see how tak­ing reg­u­lar time off the grid can help keep your stress un­der con­trol. When you make your­self avail­able to your work 24/7, you ex­pose your­self to a con­stant bar­rage of stres­sors. Forc­ing your­self off­line and even—gulp!—turn­ing off your phone gives your body a break from a con­stant source of stress. Stud­ies have shown that some­thing as sim­ple as an email break can lower stress lev­els. Tech­nol­ogy en­ables con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the ex­pec­ta­tion that you should be avail­able 24/7. It is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to en­joy a stress-free mo­ment out­side of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you think­ing (read: stress­ing) about work can drop onto your phone at any mo­ment. If de­tach­ing your­self from work-re­lated com­mu­ni­ca­tion on week­day evenings is too big a chal­lenge, then how about the week­end? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go off­line. You’ll be amazed at how re­fresh­ing th­ese breaks are and how they re­duce stress by putting a men­tal recharge into your weekly sched­ule. If you’re wor­ried about the neg­a­tive reper­cus­sions of tak­ing this step, first try do­ing it at times when you’re un­likely to be con­tacted—maybe Sun­day morn­ing. As you grow more com­fort­able with it, and as your co­work­ers be­gin to ac­cept the time you spend off­line, grad­u­ally ex­pand the amount of time you spend away from tech­nol­ogy.

5. They limit their caf­feine in­take.

Drink­ing caf­feine trig­gers the re­lease of adren­a­line. Adren­a­line is the source of the “fight-or-flight” re­sponse, a sur­vival mech­a­nism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mech­a­nism side­steps ra­tio­nal think­ing in fa­vor of a faster re­sponse. This is great when a bear is chas­ing you, but not so great when you’re re­spond­ing to a curt email. When caf­feine puts your brain and body into this hy­per­aroused state of stress, your emo­tions over­run your be­hav­ior. The stress that caf­feine cre­ates is far from in­ter­mit­tent, as its long half-life en­sures that it takes its sweet time work­ing its way out of your body.

6. They sleep.

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the im­por­tance of sleep to in­creas­ing your emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and man­ag­ing your stress lev­els. When you sleep, your brain lit­er­ally recharges, shuf­fling through the day’s mem­o­ries and stor­ing or dis­card­ing them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-con­trol, at­ten­tion and mem­ory are all re­duced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep de­pri­va­tion raises stress hor­mone lev­els on its own, even with­out a stres­sor present. Stress­ful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but tak­ing the time to get a de­cent night’s sleep is often the one thing keep­ing you from get­ting things un­der con­trol.

7. They squash neg­a­tive self-talk.

A big step in man­ag­ing stress in­volves stop­ping neg­a­tive self-talk in its tracks. The more you ru­mi­nate on neg­a­tive thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our neg­a­tive thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find your­self be­liev­ing the neg­a­tive and pes­simistic things your in­ner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Lit­er­ally stop what you’re do­ing and write down what you’re think­ing. Once you’ve taken a mo­ment to slow down the neg­a­tive mo­men­tum of your thoughts, you will be more ra­tio­nal and clear-headed in eval­u­at­ing their ve­rac­ity. You can bet that your state­ments aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your state­ments still look like facts once they’re on pa­per, take them to a friend or col­league you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like some­thing al­ways or never hap­pens, this is just your brain’s nat­u­ral threat ten­dency in­flat­ing the per­ceived fre­quency or sever­ity of an event. Iden­ti­fy­ing and la­bel­ing your thoughts as thoughts by sep­a­rat­ing them from the facts will help you es­cape the cy­cle of neg­a­tiv­ity and move to­ward a pos­i­tive new out­look.

8. They re­frame their per­spec­tive.

Stress and worry are fu­eled by our own skewed per­cep­tion of events. It’s easy to think that un­re­al­is­tic dead­lines, un­for­giv­ing bosses and out-of-con­trol traf­fic are the rea­sons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t con­trol your cir­cum­stances, but you can con­trol how you re­spond to them. So be­fore you spend too much time dwelling on some­thing, take a minute to put the sit­u­a­tion in per­spec­tive. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try look­ing for clues that your anx­i­ety may not be pro­por­tional to the stres­sor. If you’re think­ing in broad, sweep­ing state­ments such as “Every­thing is go­ing wrong” or “Noth­ing will work out,” then you need to re­frame the sit­u­a­tion. A great way to cor­rect this un­pro­duc­tive thought pat­tern is to list the spe­cific things that ac­tu­ally are go­ing wrong or not work­ing out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not every­thing—and the scope of th­ese stres­sors will look much more lim­ited than it ini­tially ap­peared.

9. They breathe.

The eas­i­est way to make stress in­ter­mit­tent lies in some­thing that you have to do ev­ery day any­way: breath­ing. The prac­tice of be­ing in the mo­ment with your breath­ing will be­gin to train your brain to fo­cus solely on the task at hand and get the stress mon­key off your back. When you’re feel­ing stressed, take a couple of min­utes to fo­cus on your breath­ing. Close the door, put away all other dis­trac­tions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the en­tire time fo­cused only on your breath­ing, which will pre­vent your mind from wan­der­ing. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds sim­ple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s al­right if you get side­tracked by an­other thought; this is sure to hap­pen at the be­gin­ning, and you just need to bring your fo­cus back to your breath­ing. If stay­ing fo­cused on your breath­ing proves to be a real strug­gle, try count­ing each breath in and out un­til you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can al­ways just start over.This task may seem too easy or even a lit­tle silly, but you’ll be sur­prised by how calm you feel af­ter­ward and how much eas­ier it is to let go of dis­tract­ing thoughts that oth­er­wise seem to have lodged per­ma­nently in­side your brain.

10. They use their sup­port sys­tem.

It’s tempt­ing, yet en­tirely in­ef­fec­tive, to at­tempt tack­ling every­thing by your­self. To be calm and pro­duc­tive, you need to rec­og­nize your weak­nesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tap­ping into your sup­port sys­tem when a sit­u­a­tion is chal­leng­ing enough for you to feel over­whelmed. Ev­ery­one has some­one at work and/or out­side work who is on their team, root­ing for them and ready to help them get the best from a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. Iden­tify th­ese in­di­vid­u­als in your life and make an ef­fort to seek their in­sight and as­sis­tance when you need it. Some­thing as sim­ple as talk­ing about your wor­ries will pro­vide an out­let for your anx­i­ety and stress and sup­ply you with a new per­spec­tive on the sit­u­a­tion. Most of the time, other peo­ple can see a so­lu­tion that you can’t be­cause they are not as emo­tion­ally in­vested in the sit­u­a­tion. Ask­ing for help will mit­i­gate your stress and strengthen your re­la­tion­ships with those you rely upon.

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