How to actually keep calm and carry on.

Keep Calm and Cary GrantBy Cole Henley

The British are better at so many things. Throwing weddings, speaking in cool voices, and above all, keeping calm. They are really good at not losing it. Examples: Mary Poppins, Dr. House, Will and Kate, Giles from Buffy, Helen Mirren, and Angela Lansbury’s greatest role ever as Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast.

I think Americans are known for being rushed, busy, and always wanting and needing things “on the go.” Or we’re thought of as being lazy. I guess it depends on who you’re asking.

As an American who always wanted to be British when she grew up, I’m trying to be more level-headed like our friends “across the pond.” It’s very hit or miss. In some situations I’m calmer than others. I’m able to stand back and assess the situation, realize how others are responding poorly to it, and not do what they’re doing. In other situations I act like the workers at Springfield’s nuclear power plant during a practice evacuation. In an effort to help myself, I’m going to help you too. Because I think when we give others advice help ourselves too.

— You’ve heard many times that you should take a deep breath. But do you actually do it? A legit deep breath? Here’s what you do. Before you go into a potentially stressful situation, like work on Monday morning, sit in your car (or boat or subway or whatever), close your eyes, inhale, hold it and exhale. When you inhale do it slowly and count in your head to three like you’re a robot, not like you’re a rushed person heading to work. Then let it go. That’s it. But it’s very important to be present when you do this. Don’t do it just to do it. Really think about it.

— Listen to Huey Lewis and the News. I’m serious, when something makes you nervous, listen to the first few seconds of this, and you’re set. Look at how successful Patrick Bateman is!

— Realize that at some point, the day is going to end. Time has to go by. What looks tough now is going to be a memory tomorrow, and that’s just a fact.

— Find the calmest, most put together person in the room, and copy them. If you can’t get it together, find someone who can, and do what they do.

— Think of an escape plan. If you’re the kind of person who thinks immediately of the worst case scenario maybe stop trying to fight it. Go ahead and think of the worst case scenario but instead of making it spooky, look at how you’ll rationally get over it. If you did something stupid at work, come up with your escape plan. “I’ll apologize, ask what I can do to make it better, and if I get fired I can use this as a learning experience and ask my friends if they know of any job leads and in the mean time sell my plasma for cash.” If you had a fight with your partner, think, “Okay if they break up with me, I’ll be all right, I’ll collect myself and talk to my friends and/or mom and take a personal day and learn from this experience and buy another cat and pick up a bottle of whiskey.” And so forth.

— Ask yourself, “Is this actually going to matter a week from now?” Think of other times in your life when it seemed like you were on the brink of disaster. Don’t you now realize, I can’t believe I freaked out over that?

Here’s what not to do:

— DO NOT post about it on the internet. It may bite you in your bum later. (See, British people say bum.)

— DO NOT speak out of anger. That’s just going to lead to more anger.

— DO NOT cry in public. That’s what your car is for!

If this post helped you at all then read It’s Okay for more advice.

How do you keep calm and carry on?


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19 thoughts on “How to actually keep calm and carry on.

    1. Almie Rose Post author

      I totally forgot about gogurt. I would eat that all the time. I think there was a cotton candy flavored one. Good God what was everybody on??

  1. Kaitlin

    DO think to yourself “what would Donald Draper do?”. he is almost always calm in any situation- even when something at work with some client is going terribly awry!

    DO NOT start smoking! i tried that for a year and it only made my nerves worse. personal opinion.

    1. Kaitlin

      i realize my do’s and don’t’s might be contradicting, considering that Donald Draper smokes. just consider this quote in particular: “We’re going to sit at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us because we’re creative – the least important, most important thing there is.”

  2. Jenny

    My kids (they’re big now) have a fine step-family, and every single situation is drama-packed. Anguish! Bitterness! Broken objects! Threats, hysteria, passive-aggression. (You know the ones: the inspiration for the phrase “the whole shootin’ match.) I wish they were all British. If each Hatfield and McCoy wore gloves and perhaps a cunning little hat, you can bet the whole operation would run more smoothly.

    1. Almie Rose Post author

      Everyone upon birth should have a British option implanted in their brain, waiting to be activated.

  3. April

    Hi, I think I love you. This was a great post, very practical. Not crying in public is my number one recommendation. You won’t believe how many times I’ve cried in public. The escape plan suggestion is also top-notch. I do that all the time, but now I have a name for it. Also known as “imagine worst case scenario and deal with that” – then you’re ready for anything.

  4. Matthew Meriwether

    I’ve only cried in public once. At school. During English. It was weird. Thank you for this.

  5. d

    yeah, I do that whole “is this going to matter in [insert indeterminable amount of time here]?” a lot and it keeps me from giving a shit.

    also, watching The Wonder Years helps out when it comes to the ladies. Kevin Arnold was always losing his shit with Winnie, but she kept coming back to him.

  6. Erica

    Lol It was so weird, as I was reading the sentence “…I act like the workers at Springfield’s nuclear power plant during a practice evacuation.” that very same thing was happening on my TV. Anyway great post ;0)

  7. Lisa

    If you’d been to any large town in England on a Friday/Saturday night, you would not be praising us for our calmness! We have a big of an issue with binge drinking and let’s just say, it’s hard to keep your cool after 17 WKDs and 8 Jaegerbombs!

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