You know those people who are as cool as ice no matter what the situation is?
How do they manage to keep their feathers unruffled and their heads on straight even if the world is going crazy around them?
Their secret is that they never get stressed, or at least so overly stressed that they can’t manage themselves effectively anymore.
If you think about it, this is an incredible ability that borders on a superpower.
Look, we all encounter stressors in our lives, and most of us can only handle so much stress before we break, much like materials tested in an engineering lab. The more stress we have placed on us, the more we strain to keep it together.
And at some point, we just break.
But the incredible people we’re talking about here almost never get pushed to breaking.
Sure, they encounter stressful situations, but they’re somehow able to handle them so effectively that the stress doesn’t get to them.
We need to learn their secrets, right!?
Well, these secrets may lie in their day-to-day habits and their outlooks on life.
So let’s look at six habits of people who never get stressed, even in tough times, to find ways to reduce the stress in our lives, too.
1) They exercise.
Full disclosure – I’m sitting here writing this with my knee up on my desk and an icepack on it.
I love playing sports and exercising. Always have.
I cycle, play badminton, run, and almost always play soccer twice a week. The problem is that I’m getting older, and my poor knees can’t take the strain like they used to.
Not only that but I also end up injured after every supposedly friendly game. So why do I keep playing? Because I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Like everyone else, I have stressors in my life, things that make me frustrated and grumpy at times.
And I find that exercising, especially playing soccer, is such a great way to get a hold of this stress that I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. I get to run around for two hours, kick a ball (and people occasionally, but never on purpose!), and spend time with friends both during and after the matches.
It’s clear that a lot of the other people I play with are using the sport to get their stress out as well. Some even get really angry and aggressive on the field and then are perfectly lovely as soon as they’re done playing.
As long as no one gets seriously hurt, we all seem to accept this behavior as a relatively healthy way to get rid of what’s bothering you.
I’m not saying I never get stressed, but I know that without exercise, I’d succumb to it a whole lot more easily.
2) They spend time with people they like.
Having friends and loved ones you can count on is a hugely important way to reduce stress in your life.
Socializing has all sorts of great effects on stress, so even the staunchest of introverts should take note of them.
Positive social interactions affect our hormone balance. Your brain produces and releases more oxytocin and dopamine, and these feel-good chemicals counteract a lot of the damage that stress can do, especially dopamine depletion.
You end up feeling a lot better after socialization than you would if you simply went home after a stressful day and spent time alone.
That said, it depends on how you’re socializing. If you’re spending time with people you like and love, like your friends and relatives, people who respect and value you, you’ll get more of these feel-good hormones.
But if you socialize with people who you’re not close to or who don’t seem to value you, this can actually introduce more stress into your life.
So, people who never get stressed, even in tough times, develop strong support networks of people they know and trust.
Together, these people how each other to relieve stress before it builds up to unmanageable levels.
3) They have hobbies.
According to Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, there are several ways that even rats in experiments can relieve their stress.
One of the big ones is having a hobby or activity to use as an outlet for our feelings.
He says that if a stressed-out lab rat has something to do, like chew on newspaper or bite a cage mate, it will have a measurably lower stress response than a rat that has nothing at all to do.
This shows that hobbies are more than just ways to take up our time or produce DIY birthday presents. They actually have a positive, protective effect on our lives.
Perhaps you like bird-watching, making pottery or designing immaculate dioramas of important historical events.
Hobbies like these probably aren’t going to make you any money or win you any awards, but they can be ways to help you calm yourself, focus on productive activities, and reduce stress in your life.
So they’re a lot more useful than watching TV or scrolling through Insta.
4) They do things for others.
Altruism is another great way to reduce stress that many people practice as a habit.
They might volunteer with local organizations like homes for the elderly or drop-in centers for teens. They might collect donations for cancer research or go out on tree-planting expeditions once in a while.
But altruism doesn’t even have to be so highly organized.
Even small acts like picking up groceries for a mobility-challenged neighbor, cooking your grandma dinner, or giving change to a panhandler can help, too.
These altruistic acts can go a lot farther to helping stress than you might think. It seems that they help to take the focus away from your problems because you shift your focus outward to helping others.
It might also help because you realize that you have the capacity to do things for others, and that makes you feel more gratitude toward what you have in your life.
The secret to this behavior is to make it into a habit.
By thinking about others regularly and doing what they can to help those in need, many people find their stress levels are lowered considerably.
5) They maintain firm boundaries.
Here’s one thing that people who never get stressed out do – they build and maintain personal boundaries to protect themselves.
These boundaries are essentially the limits of what they can give or tolerate from other people, or else limits of their own morality.
I once got a job in a busy downtown office where I was the new guy who everyone treated like a frat pledge. I had my own responsibilities, but pretty much everyone in the office seemed to think they were entitled to ask me to get them coffee and do their copying for them whenever they wanted.
Since I was new, I thought this was just how things worked, and soon I’d be replaced as the gopher by someone newer than me. So I tried to take it on the chin and do what I was asked.
As a result, though, I started to fall behind in my own work, and I was getting more and more stressed out each day.
That’s when a coworker intervened.
This woman, Laura, had been working there for a while and told me that new people always got picked on. It was a sort of toxic office culture that had developed over time.
She also told me it was never going to stop unless I stood up for myself. I had to set boundaries and enforce them, or people would keep taking advantage of my eagerness to please.
On her advice, I immediately started refusing to get people coffee. After just two days, no one ever asked me again, and requests for making copies dropped down to a manageable level, so I was able to get my own work back on track.
What a relief!
People who never get stressed know the importance of setting firm boundaries like this and not letting others overstep them.
6) They actively remove stress from their lives.
People who never seem to get overly stressed, even in the toughest of situations, have one more secret weapon in their arsenal.
They actively reduce stress as it comes their way so that it never gets out of control. Even when they’re in incredibly stressful situations, they have such low background levels of stress in their lives that they never get pushed over the edge.
Some people meditate or do yoga to help release stressful thoughts and feelings from their bodies. Others practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
But they all do things that help calm their minds and bodies.
Now that you know about these six habits of people who never get stressed, even in tough times, you can cultivate them as well.
And by doing so, you’ll be able to reduce your own stress to manageable levels and introduce a lot more happiness into your life.
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