Breathe. How Successful People Maintain Their Calm

Everyone knows that remaining calm and in control is the secret to success, but let’s face it: it’s easier said than done. The successful seem to have the eerie ability to remain calm no matter what. Their company may be falling apart at the seams, their stock may be plummeting, their break room may be literally on fire, but they just take a deep breath and take charge. The good news is that this isn’t magic. It’s a learned talent that you, too, can develop.

Getting the Environment Right

When you’re trying to remain calm, you need to first address your environment. We humans are frail creatures: we can be influenced by just about anything. Poor sleep habits, caffeine, a lack of exercise… all of these factors are going to damage your ability to control your emotions and make rational decisions. There’s a reason why many of the habits of successful individuals involve getting enough sleep and eating right. Caffeine, in particular, can make you jittery every day without realizing it. Exercise is critical not only for a healthy body, but also a healthy mind. Anxiety and depression is fostered in an environment in which you’re not taking care of yourself. And if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t be making decisions that affect other people.

Start Thinking Positive

Thinking positive doesn’t mean ducking your head in the sand and trying to avoid the negative. Far from it. Thinking positive means thinking critically about a situation and then focusing on the positive elements you’ve discovered. This gives you more of a sense of control regarding any negative aspects. There is always an answer and a way to resolve a situation: you just may not have found it yet. And if you really just can’t find anything positive to focus on, it may be time to just take a break. Protecting your own mental status is important:  you are your own most important tool.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

One of the most liberating realizations a person can have is that, for a large part, almost everyone else is just faking it, too. If you don’t feel calm and in charge when you walk into a room, you can fake that feeling. And a remarkable thing happens. Eventually, you are in charge, and you aren’t faking anything at all. When you start feeling nervous or excitable, replicate the feeling of being calm. Take a deep breath. Start to think things through slowly. Sit down and drink a (non-caffeinated) drink and consider your options. By acting calm, you’ll find that the physiological mechanisms that increase anxiety will be removed from the equation, and that you’ll truly feel calmer.

Calmness and control is a skill to be learned. Not everyone can be immediately in charge of their emotions: it’s something that needs to be worked on slowly over time. But by achieving a more positive, calmer outlook, you’ll find that success comes more easily to you in every avenue of your life.

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