How to Stay Calm in Stressful Situations 

Want more inspiration and purpose in your life?
Subscribe to Mary’s YouTube Channel

3 tips for remaining relaxed and present, no matter what’s going on around you

Sometimes, events happen in our lives that appear to be clearly, completely, terribly bad.

During those periods, it seems like there’s no contesting the “fact” that what’s happening is horrible, and it’s enough to make most people miserable.

But if that’s the case, how do some people manage to stay happy and positive, even in the face of situations that other people dread?

How do they keep from being thrown off balance when “bad” things happen to them?

In this blog post, I reveal the secret to their sense of unshakeable peace, as well as three simple but highly effective tips that you can use to immediately feel more present, happy and relaxed, no matter what situation you find yourself in.


how to stay calm farmer story

But first, a quick story

Back in the late 1800s, there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day, his son left a gate open and his three horses ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. 

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horses returned, bringing with them 40 other wild horses. “How wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed. 

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” said the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “This is terrible news,” they said.

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the farmer’s son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated for his good luck. “Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t,” said the farmer.

The moral of this story is, of course, that no event, in and of itself, can truly be judged as good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate, but that only time will reveal what ultimately happens.

In addition, it can be considered a great waste of time to judge minor inconveniences as misfortunes or to invest tons of energy into circumstances that look outstanding on the surface, but may not pay off in the end.

The wiser move, then, is to stay as calm as possible, taking all things in stride, whether they originally appear to be “good” or “bad.” To help you do this, here are three simple tips for you to follow whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.

how to stay calm

How to Stay Calm in the Presence of Stress and Chaos

1. Notice what you’re noticing.

Are you noticing the obstacles and problems in your life, or are you noticing the blessings and opportunities? Are you noticing too many things at once, and trying to handle too much information at the same time?

Here’s the truth: If you focus on your problems and how much pain and stress they are causing you, your negative feelings will only grow.

So the first step I recommend you do in any stressful situation is to take a deep breath. Notice that you’re breathing, and feel the air flowing through your nostrils, going down into your belly, then rising back out of your body.

Next, notice that you can notice. Notice that you have that faculty, just like you have hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting faculties.

Notice the tip of your nose, your right index finger, your left kneecap, the bottom of your right foot, the tips of all ten toes, your cheeks, your chin, the top of your head.

You have a choice in this very moment – you can choose to be aware of what you’re noticing, to notice that you’re alive and that you can notice, or you can choose to continue to think about your problem.

Use this practice to bring your awareness back to yourself and your body, and take a moment to let your mind rest and become present again by focusing on the simple sensations that tell you you’re alive.

2.  Ask yourself, “What possible good could come from this situation?”

Every challenge has within it the seed of equal or greater benefit, and like any seed, it has to be found, planted, nurtured and grown before it can be harvested to move you forward in life.

The key to seeing the possible good in the challenge you’re facing is to stay open and curious – this is how opportunities present themselves to you!

Ask yourself, “What possible gift could there be for me inside of this challenge?”

Then, stay open and write down the answers that come to you.

remaining calm in chaos woman

3. Practice the Rectangular Breathing Exercise.

When we are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, we can actually feel physical symptoms – rapid heartbeat, sweating and even shortness of breath. When we’re in this state, called “fight or flight,” we may feel panicky and unsure how to change this state to one of calm and relief.

A really helpful tool in this situation is the Rectangular Breathing Exercise. Changing our breathing can very quickly change our energetic state and help us to find calm in a stressful circumstance.

The first step is to breathe in through your nose for a count of eight seconds (this could be considered the long side of a rectangle), then pause for a count of four seconds (this is the short side of a rectangle). Next, breathe out for a count of eight and pause for a count of four.

The Rectangular Breathing Exercise is used to move your physiology from “fight or flight,” or sympathetic nervous system, to “rest and digest,” or parasympathetic nervous system.

Repeat this until you feel your physiology begin to change. Do this for five minutes whenever you feel anxious and upset.

how to stay calm in stressful situations woman

Let’s review the 3 tips for staying relaxed and present in any situation…

Whenever you find yourself in a stressful circumstance, I recommend you try the following:

  1. Notice what you’re noticing.
  2. Ask yourself, “What possible good could come from this situation?”
  3. Practice the Rectangular Breathing Exercise.

One more thing: Sometimes, it’s easy to think that circumstances or situations are bigger than you, and that they have the power to control your life.

However, the secret to maintaining unshakeable peace is to realize that YOU have the power within you to choose presence and happiness, no matter what’s happening, as well as to create harmony with your circumstances, so that you no longer feel like the universe is working against you.

Do you feel like there must be more to life, but you just can’t seem to figure out how to get there?

Do you feel stuck… in a job, relationship or body that you’re not happy with?

If so, I highly recommend you read my eBook, Master Your Mind: Turning Fear into Fuel.

Fear has a sneaky way of creeping into our minds and making us believe that our biggest dreams in life are unattainable, or worse, that we’re not worthy of them.

In reality, this simply isn’t true. We’ve just been conditioned to think this way. We’ve become afraid to try new things, move out of our comfort zones and reach for the stars.

Master Your Mind eBook

The only way to overcome this fear is through a process called “thought re-patterning,” which you’ll learn all about in my FREE eBook, Master Your Mind: Turning Fear into Fuel.

If you’re ready to cut ties with the fear that may be holding you back, download the eBook today!


Categories: Mindset

Comments (11)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *