In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you

10 Things Calm People Do

Want to feel calmer? Act like a calm person.

If you want to feel calmer, try acting as a calm person would. Calm people: 

1. Deal with problems as they happen.

Calm people don’t endlessly anticipate problems. They promptly deal with problems once they occur rather than putting off handling issues.

People who are bad at coping with stress tend to do a lot of worrying about problems before they happen, and then avoid dealing with problems that have actually occurred. 

2. Treat themselves kindly.

Calm people don’t beat up on themselves about their mistakes or weaknesses.

3. Take bad luck in stride.

Calm people know that life will have ups and downs. They believe in their capacity to cope with bad luck and occasional things that go wrong.

4. Stop and smell the roses.

Calm people pause to savor their successes and the good things they have in their life.

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5. Recognize that other people sometimes behave weirdly.

Calm people don’t overthink it when other people act strangely towards them. For example, if someone is a bit rude, they don’t assume it must be due to something they’ve done.

6. Cut other people some slack.

Calm people don’t beat themselves up about their own mistakes and they also don’t set unattainable standards for others. They expect that even when other people do their best, there will sometimes be glitches.

 7.  See the middle ground.

Calm people look for middle ground options rather than being all or nothing. For example, if they don’t have time to do all of a task, they’ll do little bit rather than avoid getting started.

8. Stay active even when they’re feeling down.

Calm people will stay active when they’re feeling down. They won’t let 5 days of dishes build up. They know that they need to give themselves some emotional space to recover from sadness and disappointment, but they don’t go into complete sloth mode or cut themselves off from other people.

9. React in proportion to events.

Calm people distinguish between genuine catastrophes and small blips/frustrations. They don't make mountains out of molehills.

10. Take time to chill.

Calm people utilize their downtime for relaxing rather than stuffing every spare minute with work, or spending their down time worrying about the next thing that could do wrong.

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Alice Boyes, Ph.D. translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives.

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