Keeping Your Cool When Others Are Losing Their $hit


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Thought | Posted on 05-31-2017

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Keeping Your Cool

[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know I write a lot about happiness. I’ve learned through deep insights that happiness is something inside of us that’s available at all times. It’s not something we get from others (even though we often think it is). And it’s not something we get from stuff (even though we often think it is).

Which is all good in theory.

When everything’s going smoothly and everyone is behaving nicely, it’s easy to access our natural state of happiness.

But what about when people around us are losing their minds and behaving badly? Can we remain calm and not get dragged down to their level?

While it may seem like we have to go down with the ship, we don’t.

In fact, when we keep our cool in the face of others’ distress, there’s a better chance that they will rise to our level.

I had an experience recently which illustrates this.

I was with a friend for the day, and things weren’t going as planned. My friend had spent a lot of time researching what we’d do, and became visibly annoyed and upset when things weren’t unfolding as she’d imagined.

Years ago, I would have been anxious about my friend’s distress.

Because I believed (unconsciously) that I needed the others around me to feel good in order for me to be okay, I would have tried all kinds of things to make her feel better. I would have agreed with her about how much it sucked, and complained of the unfairness of it all.

Most likely, our day would have been ruined, and both of us would have felt crappy.

Instead, without trying to do anything, I simply remained cool, calm and collected. I honestly didn’t care that our day didn’t go as planned, and I also had nothing on the fact that my friend was upset. It didn’t make a difference to me what she said or did, how angry she became or how much she complained.

None of it bothered me as I continued to enjoy the day.

At some point, my non-reactivity to her anger seemed to soothe her. Or at least it didn’t feed into her upset. Eventually she calmed down. She then suggested an area we might visit that hadn’t been part of our original plan, and I happily agreed.

What happened next was something neither of us expected.

Something really fun and interesting was going on when we arrived at the new area. In fact, it was even better than what our original plan had been! We ended up spending many hours enjoying the events, and had a wonderful day.

Had our original plan gone the way it was supposed to, we likely would have missed this other event.

There are a couple of morals to this story…

First is the one I started off with, i.e., that it’s always helpful to keep your cool when others get caught up with their stories or expectations of how things should be. It’s hard to be upset when the person you’re with won’t go along for the ride.

While this may sound easier said than done–especially around people you have a close history with–it is doable.

For me, it’s been a bit of a journey to get there. And I can’t say that I’m there all the time. There are times where I can still seem to get dragged down to other people’s lows. In the past, I’ve had success with techniques such breathing slowly and deeply (think yoga breath) when someone else is upset.

These days, I simply have a better feel for how to tune into my own natural state of peace without any specific methodology.

My mind and body sort of just go there when I let them. After all, it is our default state.

The second moral of the story is that the more we go with the flow, the more potential there is for unexpected treats to be bestowed upon us.

When my friend and I let the rest of our day unfold, we stumbled upon something that may have even been better than what we had originally planned.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t schedule our days or set any goals. It’s just that the less solid our plans or goals look to us, the more flexible we can be with them. With more flexibility, comes the potential for more enjoyment of whatever life happens to give us.

All of this come back to awareness.

Being aware of where our thoughts are taking us, and how they make us feel is key. When we’re aware of how we feel, we don’t have to be dragged down to other people’s low moods.

Have you experienced some times where you were able to remain cool and calm even in the face of other people’s moodiness? Please let me know below!


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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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Hi Jill,

Always a good read, so helpful and happy to see that your just being awesome. Love your strategies, Heather

Thanks, Heather. Always nice hearing from you as well!

I enjoy you newsletter. I have a job interview today and I’m glad I got to read this before I go.

Thank you!