The Very Simple Guide to Chilling Out

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

George F. Burns

One good 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 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 like 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 four good tips:


1. 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? If you ask yourself this question you will discover that if you put something into a more healthy perspective then few things matter that much.

2. 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 thought loops and go into a downward spiral. Simply by filling your life with more fun activities and people you can become a lot more relaxed and less prone to overreacting about the little things.

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

3. What would someone else do?

This is a good way to find a new and more useful 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 James Bond do?
  • What would mom or dad 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 often help you to calm down, realize that this isn’t a huge deal and help you to find a solution that you can apply.

4. Remember to keep things extremely simple.

At the very top of the whiteboard on my wall I have written down: “Keep things extremely simple”. This is a very useful thing to remind yourself of throughout any day. Whenever I feel I am making a thing bigger or more complicated than it is or I simply become confused or negative in some way I can look at the wall (or remember that sentence if I’m not at home) to help guide my thoughts back into a constructive and calm place.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Join the 80,000 people that subscribe to the Positivity Newsletter and you’ll get practical tips on happiness, self-esteem, productivity and more each week.

You’ll also get these three guides for free:

  • 21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School.
  • 7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy.
  • 10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

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 Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sarah

    I just love this post. This is so helpful, thank you!

  • Love your idea of keeping things extremely simple. It’s amazing how good we can be at making the smallest of things…very complex! I am certainly a fan of chilling out. And the best way for me to be calm and not overreact is to get out of my head (where I try to analyze and figure things out)…and get back into my heart or my gut, which is always where love–and my truth–reside. This requires me to pause and b-r-e-a-t-h-e, and then I know everything is going to be okay.

  • Something I do is to take me out of the situation altogether. As I watch and hear things unfold, one of two things usually happens: A) The other senses come out to play as well and that sensory increase divert my attention from all the stuff my mind was doing (stressing, worrying, judging, assuming, etc.) or B) Without reacting to what’s going on so strongly in a “me, me, me” way, clarity develops. I begin seeing other people as like me (having ups and downs, experiencing emotional reactions, living based upon their past experiences, etc.)

    Shifting my awareness shifts my perspective. And, suddenly and somewhat amusingly, the other stuff just doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Niceee :)

    And I suppose the very very very simple guide to chilling out is: Stop taking thinks so seriously!

  • In Magic of Thinking Big there’s a chapter that talks about this. The question to ask your self, similar to what you have up there is, “What would an important person do?” Good question to ask when petty things get in your way.


  • Wonderful post! What a great blog (first time visiting).

    What I enjoy most about this post is its pointed simplicity. My favorite line: “Spend less time analyzing life and more time living and exploring it in whatever way you’d like.” Growth comes first and foremost through experience, and when you’re able to chill out and see the big picture, you’re much more likely to go after them.

  • Jenny

    I love your blog! I think you are awesome!! :D Keep up the great work!!!

  • This is what I would call positive thinking! It is the ability to look at life and decide how best to deal with it, no matter what! That is the way to chill out!

  • It’s a great life skill and I think “What would xyz do?” is a powerful and proven technique for changing perspectives and mindsets.

  • Good tips, and these will all help your life! Chilling out is an idea that gets lost in modern Western society because we always have to be on the go, and I’m guilty of falling into this trap at times too. Another way of relaxing can be to exercise regularly. Regular exercise produces a general feeling of relaxation and contentment a few minutes after you have stopped exercising, and the effects can last for several days at a time. It’s never a bad idea to chill out – a great reminder post!

  • Hi Hendrik .. you are so right – being happy, being relaxed, reflecting a laissez faire attitude (which being totally switched on) .. encourages others to be with you. You’re the one that matters – not others .. what will matter to you in 5 years time. I agree –involve yourself in something that you enjoy, and/or will help others .. even just going for a walk – can change your thinking. As you so rightly say – keep it so simple, just do and move forward slowly and surely – thank you ..

  • Henri

    I really like the powerful “will this matter five years from now?” and can’t help but ask myself this question everyday. Another powerful trick i use is look at the memories i like the most and figure out the context in which they were born.
    It actually seems that most of my important decisions were not that “rational” but much more “spontaneous” (like a pop up on a web page so to speak). Yesterday’s memories aren’t made of yesterday’s thoughts. I can’t remember what got my mind busy five years ago but i can remember having a “spontaneous” decision which is now a great memory of mine.

    Give us powerful stuff to read.
    Kick our minds !


  • Very interesting and helpful. Thanks!

  • A guide to chilling out?
    I need one to stop doing that!