How to Chill Out: 3 Effective Habits

One very helpful life skill is to be able to chill out.

To be calm in negative situations and not overreact about all kinds of things. Or invent big, big problems in your mind – or create them in your world as you drag other people in through arguments – by making mountains out of molehills.

By being able to chill out when needed to you will:

  • Have a lot less stress, worry and pointless conflicts with other people.
  • Waste less of your time, energy and thoughts on things that aren’t really that useful.
  • Attract what you are. To be able to draw people who are more relaxed and positive about life into your life then you have to be that person yourself. People like to hang out with people who are similar to them (because it’s comfortable, because it brings more fun and success, because people have 24 hours in a day and so choices need to be made).
    Being someone that can be cool and relaxed about things is a positive and attractive social quality for any kind of relationship.

So how do you do it?

Well, here are three good habits that help me to chill out instead of overreacting and becoming angry, frustrated, fearful or worried about small and medium-sized stuff – and oftentimes even the big issues – in life.

Ask yourself if this even really matters.

By asking yourself the wrong questions you can make any little thing into a huge problem. By asking yourself better questions you can see things from a more helpful perspective.

  • Who cares? Very simple. Asking yourself this makes you realize that no, this isn’t a big deal to fuss or worry about.
  • Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now? One of my absolute favorite question combos. It is very useful in many situations and is often all I need to change my mood and mind. If you ask yourself these questions you will discover that if you put something into a more healthy perspective then few things matter that much.

Get a life.

If you find yourself sitting around too much and not having enough to do then it’s very easy to get stuck in negative thought loops and go into a downward spiral. Simply by filling life with more fun activities and people I have found that I have become a lot more relaxed and less prone to overreacting about the little things.

I have found that when you have good and exciting things going on then you don’t magnify small things to create drama in your life. Because you have very little time to do so and you have more important and fun things to do so issues tend to retain their correct size rather than growing into mountains.

So spend less time analyzing life and more time living and exploring it in whatever way you’d like. By doing that you are also often confronted with having to expand your comfort zone and perhaps face a fear. This leads to better self-confidence and less fretting about if you can handle things that may come up.

What would someone else do?

This is a good way to find a new, more useful and sometimes more playful perspective. You simply ask yourself what someone else would do in your situation.

Maybe you ask yourself:

  • What would Winnie the Pooh do?
  • What would Jason Bourne do?
  • What would mom or dad do?
  • What would [insert name of your calm and wise friend] do?

The point is to play around and find a new perspective and drag yourself out of your current negative, stressed and confused headspace and see things in another light.

Just doing that can help you to calm down, realize that this isn’t a huge deal and help you to think a bit outside of your own box and find a solution that you can apply.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • “So spend less time analyzing life and more time living and exploring it in whatever way you’d like.” I like this statement. It rings true for some people out there. They will find fault at everything around them instead of enjoying the experience. I mean we have limited time on Earth, we should live our life to the fullest by trying out new things instead of worrying about what others will say.


    Love the article to bits, I already have a happy fun filled life and always encourage other people to be more happier and stress less.

    • prudence

      Being part of this blog its already changing my emotions.

  • Sujay

    Just what is needed for today’s busy but stressed out folks. Great advise, have been trying to practice this as much as possible.

  • I love this question: “What would Winnie the Pooh do”? Why, he’d ask Piglet, of course! We should all have a Piglet in our lives!

    Do many of the things we stress about even matter? An excellent question!

  • Bonnie

    This is great. I just used the first question. Thank you for the 2nd and 3rd. They will help when I have future conversations with the work team.

  • I loved this post. I needed a way to better manage stressful situations in my life and this is just the ticket. I’m excited to try out this new POSITIVE outlet. “What would Jason Bourne do?” haha. Classic. I think I’m going to try “What would Forrest Gump do?”

  • Great post. And very simple as well.

    Not always easy, mind. Still takes a bit of conscious effort, to replace the subconscious programming, but the experience (when I’ve managed it) is worth it.

    And of course, you can always try EFT, which is a great free tool to help chill out by de-stressing a certain situation.

    Thanks for the post;-)

  • Titus Ayeni

    This approach to life should be the standard in order to have peace of mind. No matter what we are grappling with we should bear in mind that it would pass. There is a time duration for every problem to lapse. Worrying may not speed it up rather being calm and reflective as you explained above is the key. Thank you.

  • Good read, thanks for the nice article Henrik. By the way”Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now?” is my favorite question whenever I am in a tough situation.

  • Makes me think, ‘what would Frodo do?’ “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

  • Rachna

    Nice Henrik

  • Thank you everyone for sharing your kind words and best insights on how to chill out! :)

  • Hello Henrik,

    thank you very much for this post and and for the passion you put in everything you write in your blog!

    When we are in bad mood or we get angry we often lose control of ourselves and therefore everything seems even worse, they only way to chill out is to shift our attention to something else. If we keep thinking about that negative thing sadness will spread all over our mind and it will become harder to replace it with happiness. As you correctly stated another useful strategy to get rid of this situation is analysing it in a objective way: ask ourselves what others think about the situation, what we will think about it in the future, what relevance in does really have in our overall life time.

    Anyone should read this topic since the ability to chill out is a must: when we overreact we act in a way that is not “our way”, we say and do things we would never do, we are not ourselves.

    thanks again,

  • I think the lost art of chilling out is so important in today’s busy, always-connected world. Unplugging from it all, embracing silence – these are the things that allow us to really appreciate our lives…heck – allow us to NOTICE them.