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.
– 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!