9 Habits That Can Help You Remain Calm When Everything Else Is in Turmoil

9 Habits That Can Help You Remain Calm When Everything Else Is in Turmoil

Life has a way of throwing curveballs when we least expect them. Whether it’s a personal crisis, a global pandemic, or just a series of minor inconveniences that pile up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. However, by cultivating certain habits, we can learn to maintain a sense of inner peace and calm, even in the face of chaos. Here are nine habits that can help you navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience.

1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness means being fully present at the moment without judgment. By focusing on your breath, sensations, and thoughts, you can learn to observe your experiences without getting caught up in them. This can help you feel more grounded and less reactive to stressors.

Meditation is a powerful tool for cultivating mindfulness. Even a few minutes of meditation daily can help reduce stress, improve focus, and increase emotional regulation. There are many different types of meditation, from guided visualizations to silent observation of the breath. Experiment with different styles to find what works best for you.

2. Develop a Regular Exercise Routine

Exercise is a natural stress reliever. When you engage in physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals that can boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Plus, exercise can help you sleep better, which is essential for managing stress.

Find an activity you enjoy, such as running, yoga, dancing, or hiking. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. If you’re short on time, even a 10-minute walk can help clear your mind and reduce stress.

3. Prioritize Self-Care

It’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside when life gets busy. However, taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Self-care can look different for everyone, but some ideas include:

  • Taking a relaxing bath
  • Reading a book
  • Engaging in a hobby you enjoy
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a nap

Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Block out time in your schedule for activities that help you feel refreshed and recharged.

4. Maintain a Balanced and Nutritious Diet

What you eat can significantly impact your mood and energy levels. When stressed, it is tempting to reach for comfort foods high in sugar and fat. However, these foods can make you feel worse in the long run.

Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods provide the nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Additionally, certain foods have been shown to have stress-reducing properties. For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds have been linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression.

5. Practice Effective Time Management

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed is easy when you have too much to do and insufficient time. However, practicing effective time management can reduce stress and increase your sense of control. Start by prioritizing your tasks. List everything you need to do and then rank them in order of importance. Focus on tackling the most critical tasks first, and don’t be afraid to delegate or say no to non-essential tasks.

Use a planner or calendar to keep track of your schedule. Block out time for important tasks and be realistic about how long each task will take. Remember to schedule breaks and time for self-care.

6. Cultivate a Support System

A solid support system is essential for managing stress and maintaining mental health. It is always best to have people you can turn to for support and encouragement during a tough time.

Reach out to trusted friends and family members. Tell them what you’re going through, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Consider joining a support group or seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor.

In addition to receiving support, make an effort to nurture your relationships. Set aside time for social activities and hobbies that you enjoy. Building strong connections with others can provide a sense of belonging and purpose, even during difficult times.

7. Practice Gratitude

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, focusing on the negative is easy. However, by practicing gratitude, you can shift your perspective and find joy in the present moment.

Start by keeping a gratitude journal. Each day, write down three things you’re grateful for. These can be big things, like your health or your loved ones, or small things, like a delicious meal or a beautiful sunset.

Make an effort to express gratitude to others as well. Thank someone for their help or kindness, or write a letter of appreciation to someone who has made a difference in your life.

8. Engage in Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful tool for reducing stress and promoting relaxation. When anxious or overwhelmed, focus on your breath for a few minutes.

Start by finding a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and place one hand on your belly. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly fall. Repeat this process for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.

9. Reframe Negative Thoughts

It’s easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns when stressed. However, reframing negative thoughts can change your perspective and reduce stress.

Start by noticing when you’re having a negative thought. Then, challenge that thought. Is it true? Is there another way to look at the situation?

For example, instead of thinking, “I’ll never get through this,” try reframing the thought as “This is a challenging situation, but I have the skills and resources to handle it.”

Practice self-compassion as well. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as a good friend would. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and faces challenges, and that’s okay.

Case Study: Finding Calm in the Chaos

Charles, a dedicated high school English teacher, struggled to cope with the mounting pressures of his job and personal life. Between lesson planning, grading papers, and attending faculty meetings, he often felt overwhelmed and stressed. At home, he was also dealing with the challenges of raising two young children and supporting his wife, who was struggling at work.

As the stress began to take a toll on his physical and mental health, Charles knew he needed to change. He started by incorporating mindfulness and meditation into his daily routine, taking a few minutes each morning to focus on his breath and set intentions for the day. He also began prioritizing exercise, running, or attending a yoga class several times a week.

Charles also made a conscious effort to improve his work-life balance. He started using a planner to manage his time better and set realistic daily goals. He also learned to say no to non-essential tasks and delegated responsibilities when possible. At home, he and his wife began taking turns with household duties and carved out quality time to spend together.

Slowly but surely, Charles noticed a difference in his overall well-being. By incorporating these healthy habits into his life, he could better handle the inevitable stresses of his job and home life. He felt more present and engaged in his teaching, and his relationships with his students, colleagues, and family began to flourish. While life would always have its challenges, Charles now felt equipped with the tools and resilience to navigate them with greater ease and grace.

Key Takeaways

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation to become more present and less reactive to stressors.
  • Develop a regular exercise routine to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase overall well-being.
  • Prioritize self-care activities that help you feel refreshed and recharged.
  • Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Practice effective time management by prioritizing tasks, using a planner, and setting realistic goals.
  • Cultivate a robust support system by contacting trusted friends and family and nurturing relationships.
  • Practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal and expressing appreciation to others.
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • Reframe negative thoughts by challenging them and practicing self-compassion.
  • Remember that developing these habits takes time and practice, so be patient and celebrate progress.


Staying calm in the face of chaos is a skill that takes practice. By incorporating these nine habits into your daily routine, you can cultivate a greater sense of inner peace and resilience. Remember that change takes time. Start small, and be patient with yourself. Celebrate your progress along the way, and don’t get discouraged if you have setbacks. You can learn to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and grace with practice and persistence. You may even find that the chaos around you feels less daunting and more manageable.