How to stay calm in 12 common life situations

January 7th 2015 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson

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When the going gets tough, the tough get going - or at least we can learn how to with these top tips from Life Coach Anna Percy-Davis

From finance to friendship and work woes to housemates, we all go through life problems that make us want to rip out our hair and hibernate under our duvets for as long as possible. Unfortunately however, these are neither practical or helpful solutions and only serve to leave you feeling red faced and infuriated for longer. So then, how do we learn to take the rough with the smooth without going into a total mind and body meltdown?

We reached out to Executive and Life Coach Anna Percy-Davis to get some much needed advice on how to stay cool, calm and collected in even the most hot-headed of situations.


1. Work deadlines

Plan, plan, plan! When the pressure is on this is the time to make sure you are using your time well - focus on the essentials and forget the rest. Also try to remember that less is often more, so if you focus on quality not quantity, you’re more likely to hit the deadline and what you produce will be simple but spot on.

2. Relationship stresses and strains

Rule number one - avoid saying things in the heat of the moment. It’s much better to let things simmer down and then have a conversation, not a row, when you’re both calmer. Try to talk from the best possible version of yourself to the best possible version of your partner. Defensive, angry, belittling conversations don't ever produce good results.

3. Commuting

Audiobooks, music (not too loud though else you’ll aggravate fellow commuters!) and meditation are all good ways to create your own bubble, even if your personal space is being invaded. If you’re finding commuting particularly hard consider signing up for a mindfulness course in the New Year - this is a great way for you to learn to meditate yourself into a calm, positive space even when commuting...

4. Housemate problems

This can be hard as we all need a happy and comfortable home. Try to create the space you need in order to be comfortable and be honest about your preferences. Avoid getting angry and upset about your house mates behaviour - if you see trouble starting to brew, deal with it straight away in an open, honest way and don't over personalize it - criticise the behaviour, not the person. If all else fails - leave and find another housemate.

5. When receiving personal criticism

Try to take criticism as a gift from which you can learn and grow. If you can get the person who is delivering the criticism to site examples and help you come up with solutions that’s even better - this will also give you the chance to gauge whether the criticism is warranted or not. Don't forget to avoid the victim trap - don't use personal criticism as an opportunity to feel sorry for yourself but instead use it as an opportunity to become an even better version of yourself!

6. Being a busy working mother

As a working mum it’s very easy to feel guilty - guilty that you aren't giving your child/children enough time and attention and or guilty that you aren't giving your work enough time and attention. You must stop that negative messaging now. It’s all about believing that what you are doing is enough at work and home - believing that you are good enough. If you’re trying to be perfect in every way you will only make yourself and all those around you feel miserable. Also learn to say no - running yourself ragged and agreeing to every project/meeting/playdate is not going to make you happy, productive or calm - so step back, take a deep breath and say yes to a better work/life balance.

7. Confrontation

The biggest trap we can fall into is becoming defensive or aggressive when dealing with confrontation. If a situation is becoming too heated, walk away and try to tackle the issue when you are both calmer. Also try not to use a confrontation as an opportunity to tell the other person everything that you don't like about them or everything they’ve done wrong - focus on the issue at hand as you are much more likely to get it resolved.

8. Difficult bosses or superiors

Try to understand where their behaviour is coming from - are they unhappy, jealous, overstressed? It’s easier to manage someone if you can understand their thoughts and avoid the triggers that spark harsh reactions. Don't take responsibility for their behaviour though, simply just keep working on your own reaction to it. If all else fails, keep an accurate record of any unreasonable behaviour - you will need detailed examples if you are going to get help from HR or your boss's boss.

9. When you know you’ve done or said something wrong

Above all be honest - lying to cover your tracks will only get you into more trouble - and the sooner you do it the better. If you’re worried that you may get an adverse reaction when you come clean, enlist the help of someone else to back you up. Finally, always apologise if you have mucked up but make sure you really mean it - there’s nothing worse than an insincere apology.

10. Financial stresses

Again this is about planning and honesty. You need to budget meticulously and be very honest with yourself as to what you spend your money on. It’s so easy to fritter your money away, so try and keep a very good track of where it goes so you can make adjustments if need be. If you’re feeling really stuck, enlist the help of your bank - they will have advisors who can help and support you getting into a stronger financial footing. Finances are like exercise or dieting - you have to give it time, focus and self discipline - but the results can be utterly rewarding.

11. Family problems

Again if you’re feeling stuck enlist the help of someone outside the family. Preferably not a work colleague and if it’s a friend try and get someone who can be wise and supportive but not too emotional. Alternatively, a coach or family therapist can be very useful if family life is causing you some distress.

12. When feeling pressured or worried about being single

The first rule here is to stop worrying about it. The more you worry, the more you will make the situation and yourself feel worse. Work hard on accepting the situation and focus instead on what you enjoy doing and make the most of your life today. If you can focus on what you have and not what you don't, you’ll radiate a completely different energy, which will not only make you feel happier but will cause you to give off a brighter, more attractive personality.

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