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stardust's avatar

How do you stay calm when everything seems to be going against you?

Asked by stardust (10552points) August 10th, 2010

What do you do to prevent yourself from losing faith when everything seems to be going pear shaped?
Do you have to tell yourself to trust that things will pan out the way they’re meant to?
How do you stop yourself from being swept away on a wave of panic?

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30 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I relied on medications and the help of friends when I was going through depression and feelings of hopelessness after my wife died. I’ve come out of it stronger and able to help others, most notably a very special young lady who badly needs that help.

zophu's avatar

I let the panic come, and help it along. It goes away quickly enough and then I go on the rebound cycle. It’s the irrational good moods I have after panic attacks that disturb me the most. But I make use of them and don’t need to convince myself everything will be fine. I just hope things get better so the next panic attack isn’t so bad.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar



truecomedian's avatar

Ahh, this is one of my favorite types of questions, because it is so hard to answer. You can get a sense of the emotion behind the question and the realness of the situation that the asker may be in. That being said, there is an answer. There is a way to behave when in a crisis. When you’re in a sinking boat, that’s filling up with water, the right thing to do isn’t to pour more water in the boat, that would be crazy, against your survival. You have to do things that are pro-survival, and in the proper order. I don’t know it, I only know this much, and I’m not going to pretend like I got all the answers. But one of the first things you should do is take in your current surroundings, and take stock of what you have. They teach this kind of stuff in the military, and you almost have to be militant, or at least vigilant. I know that when I get into a panic that my perception of reality changes in proportion to, the degree of panic. It’s not like I am in danger, or not in danger, it’s how much danger am I in. We as humans are always in some kind of danger, we all have our boundaries and limitations. The threat may be internal, such as an illness, or it may be external, like a guy that wants to fight you for cutting them off in traffic. I am a certifiable lunatic, I got credentials, but it’s only because I used to be smart. So I hope that you can look past me and find something useful here, I mean, the truth is the truth, it could come from a pebble and I would be a fool not to listen.

BoBo1946's avatar

@stardust what i’ve learned over many years of living, is to remember, “it so shall pass!” I just keep telling myself that this is short term. We have to go through the valleys to enjoy the mountains. EVERYONE deal with these trials and tribulations of this life. So, i just keep telling myself, this is temporary. Tomorrow will be a better day. After all, “the sun does not shine on the same dog’s ass everyday!”

Cruiser's avatar

Good question!!! This very recently happened to me and took me near a week to get out of it. Main thing is try and not panic. Try to keep your day to day stuff front and center and make that your priority. For me adding in extra exercise helped in fact I think is what saved me from a total melt down.

This too shall pass rang true for me as after a day or two I was able to see better the things that were tipping the scales towards insanity for me and I was then better able to focus on what was important and to also realize there is only so much control you actually have over your own life and other things will try to nip away at your life but only if you let them. DON’T! I also strongly recommend against self medicating with drugs or alcohol. If things are that bad where you feel that need, invest in a therapy session or two where a trained professional will help you determine what extra help may be needed.

Meditation and exercise is a great place to start…Good luck!

ucme's avatar

Because I know that whatever shit life throws at me i’ll win in the end, always have always will.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Meditation and exercise with a touch of rage inbetween ;))

Austinlad's avatar

Lots of good input above, and I would add that medication probably isn’t your answer for the problem—only the symptoms. And maybe not even for those. I would suggest speaking with a professional who can try to help you get to the root of your panic.

BasilR's avatar

Focus on feeling just a little better in each moment. It is too hard usually to switch from panic/fear etc to feeling joyful/happy/contented/optimistic or hopeful, so you pick anything that helps you feel just that little bit better, and keep on doing it. As you feel a little bit better, focus on those things that will make you feel just a little bit better than you are feeling now… and so on and so on.

This may include exercise/meditation, etc as others have suggested. Do what works for you. And

With each thought that makes you feel bad/negative, look at the thought and turn it around a little, find a different way of looking at the content of the thought that feels just a bit better… For example: “Everything’s falling apart!” Find something small thing that isn’t… are “Well I got myself out of bed today… I’m still here… Feeling scared or panicked means I’m alive… People are answering my question on Fluther, that’s good.. ” What small things have worked… And you will go from strength to strength!

I enslaved myself in depression for many years, did the Prozac thing (and I was fortunate it worked very fast and well for me). It was not a solution and it is not good for the nervous system. The answer lies within in your own Power (and You have it), in managing your thoughts, it’s a skill you can learn easily just by intending it and practicing.

I think it was Mahatma Ghandi who said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”, He was speaking about his country. It applies to each of us in our personal lives. Be the change you want to see… and watch what happens. :)

As an aside, my ‘depressiveness’ was cured with the help of a diet give to me by a good friend and tough teacher. It worked for me, and I have that freedom now. I include the diet in the hope that it may be useful to you or others.

I know you CAN do it. I did. And I am not unique in this.

As given by my teacher and friend:
This is a high protein and high fat diet which is most excellent for stabilising the nervous system, including brain activity. It will also be excellent for your depression.

Eat 3 meals per day.

Eat plenty of fatty meat, preferably grilled and medium cooked. This includes bacon and eggs.
Eat plenty of salmon, either grilled or in smoked form.
Eat plenty of green vegetables, either cooked or as salad.
Eat plenty of nuts, unsalted.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit as fruit salad, but avoid deciduous fruit.
Eat plenty of soft creamy cheeses.
Eat plenty of butter, but avoid starches. Butter to be used in cooking and eaten liberally with cooked vegetables.
Eat plenty of cream with fresh fruit salads, or deserts made with cream.
Eat plenty of double cream yoghurt.
Eat plenty of ice-cream.
Drink as much full cream milk as desired.
No more than 2 glasses of dry white wine at dinner time.
The use of herbs and spices is allowed.

Foods to be avoided:
Deciduous fruits and juices thereof.
Starches (potatoes, pasta, noodles, rice, bread, biscuits, cake).
Red or orange vegetables, except for tomatoes.
Red and sweet wines.
Alcohol, other than the wine that is allowed.

Frenchfry's avatar

I take all kinds of walks where the fresh air and look at some trees and nature helps me. Lifes full of ups and downs… I tell myself that. and it’s true. I don’t let my problems overtake me. I am in charge of my life. It’s just decision time that all. That’s what I tell myself when things are not at their best. Boy! Have I had some dooseys. If that don’t work for you everyone is different go to a professional and get some meds.

BoBo1946's avatar

@BasilR good stuff…

BoBo1946's avatar

@Frenchfry some dooseys! isn’t that the dang truth!!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I find it quite easy these days. I used to suffer from stress a lot, but I trained myself to think more rationally than emotionally. Whatever the situation, the only effective way to deal with it is in a calm and calculated manner. Stress, anger and anxiety are not helpful, and so are not things that a person should indulge in.

CMaz's avatar

There is really nothing (in general) you can do.

No matter what, the sun will come up tomorrow.

truecomedian's avatar

I feel like this often, I take pills, they sometimes help. When they don’t, I try a smoke. When that don’t work it’s some beer. I think I might be making things worse for myself in the long run by handling this sometimes overwhelming feeling of doom by chemical means. Odds are it’s 50/50, you got a 50% chance that it’s all in your head. But the feeling is still real. It is possible to be in real trouble. I’m in some now. I am trying to let it ride and hope that the pattern of my life is wrong, and that my luck will change. It’s basically being on the verge of being homeless again. I can’t be homeless where I live, I can only do homelessness in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, or San Francisco. So I have to get a plane ticket, fly to one of those cities, and be a bum. And try and get myself up from that situation, try, but I know I can’t. Heads to messed up. Ate one too many paint chips as a child. I’m worried.

stardust's avatar

Thanks for the helpful responses. Since my post and reading many responses, I’ve decided not to indulge in any negative feelings about my much as I can at least The insecurity of not knowing if things will work out is niggling away, but not as strong. “This too shall pass” is more helpful than I can tell you @BoBo1946 & @Cruiser. Thanks for that.
@truecomedian I’m sorry to hear you’re going through all of that. I hope things work out for you and hope you have a roof over your head while they’re working out.
@BasilR Thanks a mill :)
It’s very helpful to be reassured and to be reminded that everyone has tough times. It certainly takes away from getting into victim mode.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

It comes natural to me, try meditation. or just lye down and think with your eyes closed.

downtide's avatar

I usually end up severely depressed and relying on anti-depressants until circumstances change.

Nullo's avatar

My faith sustains me.

truecomedian's avatar

thanks a bunch, it sucks but it might just work out. Got some good news from a doctor this morning. Testing negative for something, woohoo. Hope it stays like that.

woodcutter's avatar

take care of one thing at a time, it’s the only way

Ludy's avatar

I am not a patient person but somehow in crisis I am very positive, I always think that things happen for a reason, It could be worse, try to look the blessings I have in other areas of my life, and if I can’t do something about some situation I just stop worrying, at the very end when everything else fails i believe God works in ways I don’t understand and he sees further than I, so i go back to the beginning: things happen for a reason :)

Jabe73's avatar

I’m a very spiritual person and I believe everything happens for a reason. We do not come into this life to have a dream run. Bad things happen to good people all the time and many will ask why this happened to them. What did they do to deserve this? I asked these same questions myself when many horrible things happened to me and my family in the past 8 years. I have been tested again this past week. My belief in eternal life (spiritually) and a higher purpose is what gets me by.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that I will get through it. If it’s something that is really getting to me, I talk to my husband about it and he always seems to know what to say to help me feel better.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Jabe73 and @Seaofclouds You both said everything happens for a reason. Do you feel you have to know this reason, or are you content to believe that there is a reason out there?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Most of the time I’m content knowing there is a reason out there. Once in a while, I’ll really want to try to figure out what the reason is.

Jabe73's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Both. I believe the answers will come when we pass. I do not feel like turning this into a “proof of afterlife” argument. I sense a greater motive on your part behind your question.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Seaofclouds Fair enough, thanks.
@Jabe73 Thanks for your answer. My motive is simply to understand your point of view – the fact that I do not believe as you do is quite irrelevant to the discussion.

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