I was never calm. In fact, relaxation exercises made me tense because I was killing myself to comply and do them right. When people tell you to be calm, it is like some random person telling you to smile when a bomb just went off in your life. It does not feel good.

If you have just been assaulted by bad news or are a chronic worrier how are you supposed to be calm, cool, collected, and breathe? For me, breathing just never seemed like enough to turn tension to tranquility. Like a wisp of air trying to blow out a huge flame.

I never, ever thought I would be the person answering this question for myself or anyone else. But when I was blindsided by something a few years ago, none of the usual remedies helped. Concerned that maybe my plight was worse than some of the people I treat, I knew I had to figure this out. I had to get calm. There was no choice. 

First of all, to Be a Calm Person in general can be an easier goal than calming down in a singular crisis. That’s because it involves small steps over time rather containing a catastrophe with a panicky mind. If you have no former experience with moving your mind to a serene place it can feel impossible to gather yourself. Building the skill beforehand helps when difficulty hits.

Small steps pack a big…I was going to say punch, but l will say remedy. Consistent baby steps with a bit of stretch are the best method for True Change (internal, solid, real, lasting) in most endeavors. Practice the new habit over time so it becomes part of you.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle)

Even if you can only spare five minutes, use it to stay in touch with your self as a gathered soul. The point is to not lose your connection, however fragile or loose, to the calm self that is being created. Hold on to the effort and the belief that you will become such.

I have to tell you that I have been crazy and I have been calm and calm is better.

How to Be a Calm Person:Methods for Mind Over Matter

1. Immersion: Do a yoga or meditation class 4-5 days a week for one month. Why? Immersion helps you master something deeply, quickly. If you like it, it’s yours.

2. Conjure calming Imagery. One friend likes Falcor the dog-like, father-like, flying fluffy dragon in the children’s movie The Never Ending Story. Another friend imagines herself with wings when she is pushed around or deflated.

3. Let yourself take Naps. I saw a sky blue sign with happy red letters that said, “I Like You and Naps.” It was on Pinterest. Sleep is good for creativityand calm. The unconscious mind can sort through confusions at rest. 

4. Remember, it isn’t you. Well sometimes it is, but if you are to blame, I am going to assume that you have figured that out already. If you read Psychology Today, you are probably psychologically minded, and able to take responsibility for your issues.

Sometimes there is a sick person and a not-sick person in a conflict. If the sick one is sadistic and shooting disturbances into you (this is called projection) you must give this angst back to them. Don’t make it yours by engaging. Rather Give the Mess Back by detaching so they can deal with it and get better. As one client declared to a devilish relation, “I can no longer be the receptacle for your unwanted characteristics.” In short, don’t get suckered into a regressive battle and allow the baseness of the other to infiltrate you.

5. Observe, detach and choose to Go Your Own Way as in the Fleetwood Mac song. Listen to the Fleetwood Mac song. Or the song from The Never Ending Story, which cheers as well as calms. Ride the good dragon. Let go of upsetting relationships even if you thought you were pinned for life.

6. Listen to Music That Calms

7. Get Into the Right Setting. Beach? Woods? A café? Know your deceleration setting. If you can’t get there now, plan for later. Dreaming, drawing, collaging and writing about this place keeps it real and reachable. Take a walk in a park. Hide in a quiet corner for Ten Mindful Minutes (Goldie Hawn wrote a great book by this name.)