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How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation

How to Remain Calm in a Trying SituationI’ve had my fair share of overwhelming times. There have been times where I’ve been so thrown back in my chair that I had to excuse myself from the situation to get a grip on things. If it wasn’t anxiety it was a punch to the gut as some sort of veiled insult or rejection. These things can happen often and it takes skill not to let them get the best of you.

Just yesterday I was hanging out with a girl I liked and she mentioned that she had a new boyfriend. That may seem trivial, and it probably is, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. I’ve learned (with a lot of practice, though) to just roll with the punches. I don’t let trivialities get to me much anymore and I think it’s a skill that could benefit everyone.

If you think about it, it’s much harder to get angry than it is to just sit still. On top of that, getting angry or worked up has the potential to ruin relationships.

We’ve all been through trying moments. They will continue to occur throughout the rest of our lives. Learning how to get a grip on yourself in these moments is an essential skill to develop for your wellness toolbox.

The first thing to remember is that nothing big is going to change as a result of a trying moment. Even if something big does happen as a result, you will still be alive, you will still wake up in the morning and you still have to go to work and live as a human being in society. These are essential truths that most people take for granted. Life is still just a series of days. What you do with them is your choice.

It seems a given to anyone with a good deal of life experience that tragedies happen. The little moments of panic are fleeting. My aunt says, if it’s not going to make a difference in a year or five years it’s not worth worrying about.

Staying calm in these moments may also require some momentary stress relief tactics: taking a deep breath, excusing yourself to the restroom or sitting still for a few moments. These small tactics can help you get a handle on things without abandoning the situation.

Leaving a situation altogether at a moment of panic is akin to escaping. Being bold in the face of trying situations can build a resiliency for future moments. It also speaks to your character and garners you a level of respect for following through and working to find a solution. Even if it’s something you can’t change, sticking through the tough parts is what gives you courage.

There are tactics for after the situation as well, when your mind is reeling and you can’t seem to get a grip.

The most important thing to do after the fact is to accept the situation wholly and completely. All this requires is saying to yourself, “I accept this,” and “I accept that some things can’t be changed.” This simple act helps you calm down and live with the situation. It creates the realization in your mind that no matter what happens, life goes on. Big things can throw us off for a few days or longer, but after everything’s blown over, life goes on.

It’s important to know that whatever it is, it will blow over and you’ll still be the same person you always have been with the same life you’ve always lived. It also has the potential of saving you from doing something drastic somewhere down the line, trying to change things that can’t be changed.

The truth is, there are numerous situations where these tactics can work and being rejected is just one small blip. They can also work in situations where a loved one betrays you or where a family member passes away or when you hear that you have a diagnosis of a major chronic illness.

Accepting things you can’t change is the most important part. It’s the bread and butter of being a sensible, calm individual. I should know. I’ve lived with a major mental illness for almost nine years. Learning that one trick has made a world of difference for my happiness and anxiety.

How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 13 Nov 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.