On any given day, most of our personal lives are crammed with so many stressors and chaotic activities that it may seem impossible to stay calm and to not buckle under the pressure.

Between long hours of work, meeting deadlines, running errands, taking care of your family and making the right decisions, it’s often easy to get caught in the chaos and lose control of yourself.

learn how to stay calm
Learn how to stay calm in stressful situations

This is why it’s important to learn how to remain calm and maintain inner balance.

Here we list a few habits and strategies that can help you stay calm in stressful situations:

1. Breathe deeply. When you are in a stressful situation, pause for a minute and take five slow breaths in and out. It is common for us to hold our breath or take shallow breaths in times of stress. Make sure to breathe deep into your belly, or diaphragm, as if blowing up a balloon. When breathing out, imagine the stress leaving your body. (5) (8)

breathe deeply to stay calm
Take deep breaths to de-stress and calm down

2. Loosen up. Identify the tense areas of your body like clenched jaws, rigid shoulders, or stiff muscles, etc. Gently massage the body part that is under tension to encourage total relaxation. It also helps to release all major muscle groups in a progressive relaxation sequence. (8)


3. Don’t over-analyze. When you unnecessarily worry about things, it can quickly lead to mounting stress. Don’t stress over things that are beyond your control. If you notice yourself over-analyzing, go out for a short walk, listen to music, or read something that will help distract you. Focus on things that make you happy.

4. Don’t take things personally. It’s not always about you. If someone attacks you with harsh words, remind yourself that it may not be about you at all. He might be lashing out, having a bad day, unhappy with his job, or might be simply irritated with himself. It could be anything. When you put yourself in someone else’s place, it will help you calm down instead of being reactive.

5. Visualize calming things or places. Imagine you are in a safe place that calms you, like a beach or nature trail. Imagine being with someone whose company soothes you instantly or think of past moments when you felt at ease with yourself. (8)

visualize calming things or places to stay calm

6. Tune into your intuition. Listen to your intuition and trust your gut feelings, no matter what the status quo is saying. Listening to your instincts will help you make the most satisfying decisions. The impact of such decisions will help you improve the quality of your life and provide you with much calm and peace.

7. Listen to your heart. Your heart tells you what is right for you. Following your heart will help you to be true to yourself, and you will be more in sync with your morals and values in life. This will also help improve your peace of mind.


8. Journal your thoughts. Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a great way to relax. Writing can help you quiet the chatter in your mind, bring clarity, and help you identify concerns or challenges in your life.

9. Set routines. Setting routines in your life will reduce the need to make decisions about what to do next and help anchor any restless, nervous energy. When you have a set routine, it helps you free up space in your mind for other important tasks.

10. Get up 15 min early to plan the following day. Planning your day will make your life easier. Wake up 10 or 15 minutes before your usual time. Then create a rough plan of how you plan to spend your day. Make a list and cut out events as you finish them. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and will help you stay calm when stress arises.

get up early to stay calm
Think of the things or places that can help alleviate your mood

11. Create a to-do list. Create a to-do list to help you prioritize. It is often too easy to jump from one task to another throughout the day, without truly focusing on a single one. This creates extra stress and clutter in your mind. When you have a to-do list, you are relieved that everything will be taken care of and it relaxes your mind.


12. Reduce your to-do list. A long or endless to-do list can freak you out and amplify your stress. Break down your to-do list and work on it one step at a time. Break it into tasks you can do today, and tasks that can be done next week. This will help you quickly focus and get started with doing the most important things on the list.

13. Create a not-to-do list. Sometimes it can be helpful to identify extra things you are taking on that are not your responsibility; as well as things you can delegate to others when they have asked if you need help. Many times, loved ones want very much to help us but are waiting for us to ask.

14. Organize and de-clutter. Clutter in your home or workplace can create stress and frustration. De-cluttering your space can help you clear your mind and calm down.

organize and de-clutter to stay calm
Properly organize your home and workspace to stay calm

15. Eliminate unessential stuff from your life. Get the unimportant and unessential stuff out of your life, whether it’s material things or people. Remove the things that aren’t important to you. It can be liberating to release yourself from any unnecessary commitments and can reduce a great deal of stress.

16. Split your goal into several mini-goals. If your goal requires a lot of time and patience, split it into several mini-goals. Achieving several goals will give you a sense of achievement, keep you encouraged, and will give you the patience to stick to all your goals.

17. Avoid multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. Choose one task until you get it done, trying not to head on to the next task too quickly. Take breaks between tasks if necessary. This way you won’t work yourself into a tizzy, and you can stay calm the whole time.

avoid multi tasking
Handle one task at a time to stay relaxed and stress-free

18. Pause and analyze your perspective. If something is stressing you out, pause for a moment, take a deep breath and ask yourself if it is worth stressing about. Will it matter after a few hours, the next day, next week, next month or even next year? Soon you would realize that most of the things stressing you out won’t even matter after a few days. Let go of things that are out of your control.

19. Ask yourself what someone else in your place would do. Get out of your own head for a moment and change your perspective. Find a person in your life that you truly like and respect and ask yourself what that person in your situation would do? This will help you find a new perspective.

20. Solve the issue that is bothering you. If you are aware of a specific situation weighing you down, resolve to address or confront it, with an intent to release the underlying stress and extra burden it’s creating in your life.

21. Assume nothing. Trying to assume things or mindreading people can cause unnecessary stress and tension in your life. So instead, communicate and ask what you want to. This will make things simpler, help you stay calm, and likely improve the relationship.

22. Accept and let go. If something from the past is bothering you, try to accept it rather than push it away. When you accept perceived failures or negative experiences, they lose power. They matter less to you, and it will help you stay calm when triggered. You can say to yourself, “Even though that happened in the past, I can still love and accept myself now.”

23. Don’t expect perfectionism in everything you do. Perfection is a myth, and the sooner you accept this reality, the better it will be for you. Know that nobody is perfect and by expecting it, you would be unnecessarily adding stress to yourself and others.

24. Do things for others. If you find you are focusing only on your own problems too often, or for too long, take a break and do something for others instead. The joy of giving will bring you immense inner peace and calm.

25. Socialize. When you start feeling anxious, turn to your friends who can make you feel better. Spending some time with good friends can reduce your stress a great deal and help you calm down. Learn to laugh and have fun, even when life is stressful!


socialize to stay calm
Spend some time with your friends and relax

26. Practice mindfulness. Practice mindfulness by focusing your attention only on the present moment, without judgment. Take a deep breath, slow down and count to 5, focusing your attention on only one thing. Try practicing mindfulness while eating, walking or working on a specific task. Take time to fully experience whatever you are doing, focusing on each movement. If your mind wanders, just bring your attention back to whatever you are doing. This will train your brain to be mindful, and you’ll be amazed how much it can help you stay calm and composed throughout the day. (8)

27. Get enough sleep. Your body and mind need enough sleep to rest and refresh. Lack of sleep can stress you out and greatly affect your mood. Getting adequate amounts of sleep can be a major stress buster and help you stay calm, clear and relaxed. (4)

get enough sleep to stay calm

28. Power nap. Taking a power nap of 15 minutes can refresh and revive your body and mind in remarkable ways. Even a quick nap can help set your mind at ease on a stressful day, making it possible to start fresh all over again. If you don’t like daytime napping, simple meditation can provide a similar benefit.

29. Meditate or do yoga. Meditation will offer you the kind of stillness that helps to de-stress and relax. Simply find a quiet corner to sit and concentrate on your breath or a prayer. This will help you stay in the moment, reducing distractions and racing thoughts. Like mindfulness, it exercises your ability to intentionally relax and calm down during more stressful parts of the day. (2) Setting aside even 5 minutes to meditate every day can change your life for the better.

meditate or do yoga to stay calm
Meditation and yoga can also help you stay calm

30. Express gratitude. Gratitude hasn’t received the full credit it deserves for its profound effects on our wellbeing. Expressing gratitude has a direct effect on stress hormones; it not only helps you feel better rapidly but also helps you manage large amounts of stress. (3) Take out time to write three simple things each day that you feel genuinely grateful for. If you can’t think of anything start with your eyes, hands, legs, arms, or any other body parts that are working hard to support you.

31. Practice patience in everyday situations. Practice patience every day by exposing yourself to stressful situations. This may seem tedious, but it will help you raise your ability to get calm and stay calm. (6) For example, get into long lines at the supermarket, push yourself to be nice to irritating people, or simply take a long walk in nature. And don’t forget to be patient with yourself.

32. Be compassionate with yourself. Avoid self-criticism. Whenever you are judgmental and disrespectful to yourself, you give away your peace of mind and increase stress. When you are self-compassionate, you reinforce self-worth and value. (7) It helps you nurture vast inner calm and peace of mind. Extend the same kind of compassion to yourself that you would show your dearest friend or loved one. Acknowledge your own reality with compassion and try not to compare yourself to other people.

33. Avoid negative self-talk and beliefs. Constant mental chatter and ongoing negative self-talk can increase your stress and frustration. (1) Pay attention to your daily thought patterns and whenever you catch yourself getting into a negative thinking spiral, stop, and turn it into positive statements. For instance, if you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t handle this,” tell yourself, “I can handle this if I take it slow.” Or “I know how to deal with this. I have done it before.” Positive self-talk helps you beat stress and deal with situations in a composed manner.

34. Unplug from technology. These days everyone is overly connected with technology. Your mind is on overdrive with information; staying preoccupied with emails, social feeds, chats, etc. Your mind doesn’t have the time to relax, to indulge in the present moment and enjoy life. Take some breathers. Unplug from technology whenever you can or simply allot specific times and limits for social media. Know that you are not going to miss out on anything if you are not online all the time.

35. Slow down. When you are in a hurry, you lose control; you can make more mistakes, and lose the sense of where you are going and why. If you are in a rush to do things, you also end up stressed and frustrated. Slowing down will help you move out of stress and confusion, and help you reconnect with the moment. It becomes easier to find a healthy perspective and to consider things in a clear, calm way. Give yourself plenty of time to do everything, even if there is pressure, or if you feel like it takes longer than it should.


  1. Gloria T, Steinhardt MA. Relationships Among Positive Emotions, Coping, Resilience and Mental Health. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/smi.2589.  Published June 24, 2014.
  2. Creswell JD. Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139. Published September 28, 2016.
  3. Emmons RA, Stern R. Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention - Emmons. Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.22020. Published 2013.
  4. Magnavita N, Garbarino S. Sleep, Health and Wellness at Work: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/11/1347. Published November 2017.
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  6. Schraub EM, Turgut S, Clavairoly V, Sonntag K. Emotion Regulation as a Determinant of Recovery Experiences and Well-Being: A Day-Level Study. International Journal of Stress Management. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263937496. Published November 2013.
  7. Shattell M, Johnson A. Mindful Self-Compassion: How it Can Enhance Resilience. Healio. https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/journals/jpn/2018-1-56-1/{e89ab10a-9170-4e0e-8fb7-dae844e4c074}/mindful-self-compassion-how-it-can-enhance-resilience. Published January 12, 2018.
  8. Liza V. Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health Science Journal. http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/stress-management-techniques-evidencebased-procedures-that-reduce-stress-and-promote-health.php?aid=3429. Published November 30, 2011.