Keep calm

    Keep a cool head and manage reactive emotions like panic and anger

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It’s not always easy to keep calm in the face of threats and conflict, so how can we control our emotions and respond constructively to problems?

We may like to think of ourselves as calm and rational people, but we are all very emotional. Emotions drive action, shape our perception and influence our choices. Without emotions, we wouldn’t get much done.

Most of the time, our emotions work alongside our intellectual side to guide our actions, but sometimes emotions can dominate our minds, distorting our thinking and stopping us acting rationally.

The most noticeable examples of this are panic and rage, where fear or anger overwhelm our minds and make the situation worse. In these moments, we need to learn techniques to calm ourselves down, so we can respond to events in a more thoughtful and effective way.

Dealing with the physical symptoms can help, and so can creating an intellectual distance from the problem, giving your mind more time to consider a response rather than rushing to action. Cognitive techniques can help create this space and keep your mind calm.

Your emotions also influence your thoughts and behaviour too, creating a “cognitive triangle” in which all three combine to inflame your mind. Breaking these feedback loops is the key to staying calm.

Download our free tip sheet on how to keep calm (PDF, 131KB)