20 Ways to Be Calmer, More Mature…And More Productive from 20 Ways to Be Calmer, More Mature…And More Productive
20 Ways to Be Calmer, More Mature…And More Productive
20 Ways to Be Calmer, More Mature…And More Productive
Higher productivity and maturity start where drama and whining stop. While this is hard to accomplish, because it’s much easier to complain and judge than to act and work hard, it is completely in your control. The road to a more professional “you,” who can diffuse any situation, solve a problem and win an argument, starts with small steps.
Humor can be a great tool to get people to calm down. “Laughter is a world language,” Dr. Marika Lindholm, psychologist and founder of ESME [Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere], says. “If you can get someone to laugh, it’s a huge step toward defusing almost any situation.” Humor puts people at ease. That’s why almost every speech, lecture or talk begins with some levity to make a human connection and loosen up the audience, she adds. “Laughing about a situation goes far in making it tolerable.”
Don’t overthink everything
“Overthinking is being stuck and when you are stuck you cannot move forward,” Heather Monahan, business expert, mentor and speaker, says. There is a direct correlation between action and success, she adds. “Don’t overthink, just DO!” When you actually need to evaluate things in detail, do your homework and check in with yourself, she adds. “What is your gut telling you?”
Acknowledge other people’s point of view
You are not the only person in the world and the Earth does not rotate around you. Just like you have opinions about everything from how a project should be done to how the office should be designed, your co-workers have thoughts as well. Ask for them, acknowledge them, and take them into consideration. Nothing is less inspirational or motivational than disrespect.
Take deep breaths
“Even just taking a couple of long deep breaths when you’re stressed or anxious can help to take the edge off and help you to manage your reaction,” John Kalinowski, life coach and mindfulness experts, says. If there is one thing you should do during your lunch break when you feel any stress, it’s breathing. It tends to get shallower when we’re upset or stressed, which just exacerbates the unpleasant feelings. “Look up at the sky and take some nice long deep breaths, then tell yourself that you can handle whatever you’re dealing with. You got this.”
Proper body language
If you are hunched over, hands in pockets, looking elsewhere and unable to make eye contact it can signal that you aren’t interested or lack confidence, Dr. Lindholm says. On the flip side, dominant body language can also alienate. “Too much finger wagging for emphasis, aggressive stare-downs and a wide physical stance can put someone on the defensive.” The best communicators demonstrate interest with head nodding and eye contact as well as a willingness to lean in to listen, she adds.
Don’t mock yourself
Self-mockery is not a good way to make people like you, Monahan says. “I am a proponent of speaking about myself the way I want other people to speak about me. Don’t call yourself silly, stupid, ridiculous, flighty, she adds. “These terms will not improve the way that others perceive you. A great ice breaker is finding something that you genuinely like or admire about the other person and sharing it with them.”
Focus on what you have to do
People tend to compare themselves to others all the time, especially when it comes to how much money everyone is earning and how much work he or she has actually done. All of this associating is a waste of time because the only thing you can control is your own situation. Focus on your schedule, your goals, your job, and you’ll be much more productive.
Drawing the line between work and personal life is not an easy task and will take some practice. “It starts with yourself, so it’s important to start creating awareness around when you’re stressed or upset and be able to ask yourself what triggered you and why,” Kalinowski says. First, you need to get clear on your role in the stress, and then you can start setting boundaries.
Ask a lot of questions
“Becoming a better listener requires that you take note of how much you are talking and how many questions you are asking,” Dr. Lindholm says. Good listeners ask lots of questions and base those questions on actually listening to the previous answers, she adds. “Bad listeners talk about themselves too much and focus on the next thing they are going to say instead of listening.”
Don’t talk about others
“If people are gossiping about others, then they are gossiping about you when you walk away,” Monahan says. “Keep your distance from those that gossip.” You will eventually realize that you have done yourself a huge favor. Also, this way, you are not giving any ammunition to co-workers to ruin your reputation at the office.
“Someone who wants to dominate conversation and interrupt isn’t taking in important and useful information that can help you be more productive, whether it’s learning more about something specific or learning about the person you are speaking with,” Dr. Lindholm says.
Give yourself a day
Learning to stay calm and not overreact to everything takes time, practice and patience. One way to start cultivating this new healthy habit is by waiting. “Life has taught me that I need to give myself 24 hours before doing anything,” Monahan says. “If I give myself that time, I will respond from a cool and calm place, which will ensure a better outcome for me.”
Know when you’ve overreacted
You need to train yourself to not overreact to little things. “It starts by knowing when you’ve overreacted,” Dr. Lindholm says. “If in retrospect you wish you hadn’t reacted that way. Go over the times that your reaction was inappropriate or alienated someone.” Learn from your mistakes and if you feel like something is bugging you take a breath before reacting, she adds.
See things from others’ perspective
“When you only see things from your position or perspective you are limiting your potential,” Monahan says. Try to listen to others’ perspectives and see the opportunity or challenge from as far away as possible, she adds. “I like to step back from the situation and challenge myself to see it if I was coming from the tech industry, from a teacher’s perspective or from my son’s perspective.” When you try to put on the hats of others, it makes you see things you would not have otherwise seen, she adds.
Talk to a friend before taking action
“Practice holding your tongue and be deliberate about getting control over your emotions,” Dr. Lindholm says. If a situation is upsetting, write it down or talk to a trusted friend before just firing off a nasty email or speaking your mind, she suggests. “Self-examination is the route to maturity.” On days when you are tired, cranky or upset, it’s easy to overreact, she adds. “Stay in touch with these feelings and learn from past interactions that went wrong.”
Don’t demand perfection
“There is no such thing as perfection; therefore, you cannot demand it from others,” Monahan says. “You can require that others give their best just like you do.” In order to lead, you need to ask others to do things you have done and will do, she adds.
“Gratitude is also an attitude that enhances patience,” Dr. Lindholm says. “Are you healthy, do you have loved ones, do you eat three meals a day?” People who learn to be grateful for the big picture are less likely to erupt over the small stuff, she adds.
Get a specific timeline
This is a trick you can use to subconsciously train yourself to be more patient. “If you ask someone to give you a specific amount of time and then follow up reminding him/her of that timeline, you can potentially increase patience,” Monahan says. “It is important to get the other person to agree to the timeline so they are in it with you.”
Look at the big picture
This will always help. The saying “don’t sweat the small stuff” is a way of expressing that you aren’t looking at the big picture, Dr. Lindholm says. “Are you losing your cool over little things that just aren’t that important? Has getting upset in the past been productive?” It’s important to pull back and remind yourself that everyday irritations and aggravations come and go, she adds.
Don’t criticize on social media
Never lash out at others on social media, Monahan says. Trashing people on Facebook and sites where everyone can see can easily backfire on you. This is a rude and immature action that makes you look like a bully. If you have a problem with someone, of any kind, you should talk to that person in private. This is the respectful and mature way to handle a conflict.