55: What to do When Someone Tells You to “Just Calm Down”

55: What to do When Someone Tells You to "Just Calm Down" Meant to Bloom

We’ve all been there, in a rage over something minor, worked up over an inconvenience, flying into a panic attack out of nowhere, then someone says: “just calm down” and everything intensifies. You get hit with that burning hot desire to just throat punch them. 

But what if we didn’t get angry when someone says this to us, what if we really did “just calm down?” 

Today I want to share with you my thoughts on this topic, how I really feel when someone says this to me, and some of my best practices and resources for calming down.

What if we did “just calm down?”

Hey friend, welcome back to Meant to Bloom. It’s me, your friend Brittni. Today I wanna chat about something that might upset a lot of people. We’re gonna talk about a very triggering phrase, and that is, you know, you know when you’re really getting worked up. You’re really just in a rage over something that might be kind of minor or you’re really worked up over an inconvenience, or you’re just flying into a panic attack over nothing.

Like you’re literally just dealing with anxiety and you are just blinded to everything happening around you. And then all of a sudden someone, someone you usually love and care about deeply, they just say, Why don’t you just calm down? Just calm down. It’s the most annoying phrase in the world, and it always comes at the worst time.

Correct. But this is what might be super triggering to anyone listening because Oh my goodness. I triggered myself when I came up with this idea , like when I said this to myself, it was self triggering. I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life. And I have heard on so many occasions, you just need to calm down and I understand the white hot rage and that desire to throat punch this person for having said that to you.

But hun, what if we really did just calm down, Like I know you wanna check out right now, but hold on, listen to. Really, we’re here for growth. We’re here. We’re here for personal development, and there’s no personal development in hanging on to that, that rage and that anxiety when someone is trying to help.

Yeah. It doesn’t feel helpful in the moment for them to say, Just calm down, because it’s like, Oh really? I would if I could, but actually you can. It’s called self-regulation, and we talk about it here all the time. When your kids are annoying you, what do I say? Step outside, take a deep breath and reflect on why you love them.

That’s just calming down. That is self-regulation. We talk about how in the moment when your kid’s throwing this major temper tantrum, the best thing to do is co-regulation, which means you self-regulate.  and then you co-regulate. You have to calm down in order to calm them. If we’re gonna be the calm and the storm for our kids, we kind of do need to take this really stupid advice to just calm down.

And I wanna chat about that a whole lot today. All right, so today I do, I wanna share some of my thoughts on this and my best tips for calming. So when someone is telling you to calm down, they’re just trying to help. First of all, you have to see it as them trying to help. They don’t know how else to help when you’re, you know, throwing an adult tantrum.

That’s honestly what it is, and I know you don’t wanna hear it, but it’s how I’m gonna tell it to. I don’t know if you can hear my dog. She’s being super annoying. She’s breathing. It’s really annoying, but I’m gonna calm down. It’s okay. So what if, what if we say, what if we see someone telling us to just calm down?

What if instead of flying into that white hot rage, instead of getting angry at them, how dare they suggest we calm down? Right. How dare you? It’s not that easy. What if we saw this as an opportunity to self-regulate? What if we saw this as a chance for growth instead of just digging our feet in and getting more outraged at this sentiment?

Because you have to realize this person is trying to help. They really are. And if you realize that everyone’s doing the best they can with what they have, give them grace for having said that to you. I think as a society, we need to just not get so triggered by this phrase to just calm. Because honestly it is really great advice.

And if we saw it for what it is and we actually took this advice, how would that change the climate of your home? Cause remember, you’re the one in charge of the energy Mama as the woman of the house. You are the gatekeeper for the energy. You are the one who decides. You are the one who sets the tone.

You know, we know this. We talk about this all the.  so I know how it feels to be told to just calm down when that’s the last thing you wanna do. Because you are angry. You are anxious, you are upset, and you think it’s not so easy to calm down. You’re blinded to the situation that’s really occurring. You are triggered.

You are in a volatile situation here. And when someone tells you to just calm down, you know what? This spikes in you, This awakens. , your stubbornness and your pride. I know that might be a shocker, right? Or maybe you know that it’s awakening your stubbornness and your pride. Maybe you don’t wanna admit it.

That’s what I’m here to shine a light on these dark areas of ourselves that we don’t wanna talk about and we don’t wanna admit exist, but this is how we grow. We notice what’s not working. We ditch what’s not serving. And we choose new patterns, new habits. Cuz you get to choose in this situation when you are highly triggered, you are anxious, you are angry, whatever it is going on in you, we get to choose whether we’re gonna be stubborn and prideful and we’re gonna stick to our guns and say, No, I’m right and I’m in control of this situation and we’re gonna be completely out of control at that moment, or we get to choose.

I’m in control of this situation. I’m in control of myself. I control my nervous system. I can calm down and I can approach this differently because that anxiety and that rage are not gonna help you make clear decisions. The stubbornness and the pride. They’re going to cloud your judgment and they’re going to make you convince yourself that you are right without looking at any facts or details.

And this is when we get ourselves into situations that we later regret. This is when we end up saying things that we regret and then we blame it on PMS or something. Because we don’t wanna admit that we made the wrong choice. Right? I know you don’t wanna hear. But taking that stupid advice to just calm down might be the best thing for you to do in that moment.

You don’t have to stop being upset, and you don’t have to immediately admit that you’re wrong, and you don’t have to forget about what triggered you in the first place, but approaching it from peace and calm, that’s gonna be your best bet at getting through it. Okay, When we calm, It allows us to make rational, insane decisions.

And we know making decisions is not always the easiest thing to do because we make thousands and thousands of them every day and we get really sick and tired of it, and I get it. But making them from a place of calm, making them from a place of love that’s gonna change things, that’s going to help you in the end, to let go of the stubbornness and the pride and.

Be okay with it. Okay? It’s gonna help you avoid making decisions that you’re gonna regret later. Avoid saying something stupid, something rude, something mean something that was not loving. Okay, Now here’s. I kind of wanna sidetrack a minute and tell you this little bit of a story of what happened last week and it was an eyeopener to the amount of growth I’ve had, but also an eyeopener to the amount of stubbornness and pride that I still have in my life.

Okay? Last week, my husband, I told you guys all about this on Instagram, but my husband locked my keys in my car. Because the trunk was locked when he went to get a package outta the trunk. So he thought I wanted the whole car locked. So he locked the car and then he went to work with my spare key in his pocket because he had no idea that I had left my keys in the car so that it was one less thing to worry about in the morning.

I already had everything packed in my car. We live, we live out in the country in like we’re fenced and gated and I can leave my cars unlocked and no one’s gonna get in them cuz you know, three German Shepherd. And a quarter mile driveway with a locking gate, like no one’s gonna mess with my stuff. We can leave it unlocked.

We are blessed to live in an area like that where we do not have to lock our doors at night. So it gets really annoying when my doors get locked. And so my husband went to work with my keys and my, or with his, with the spare key, and my key is locked in my car. So I could not drive my kid to school and I had to end up taking his truck, which was a whole deal because I always said I never wanted to drive his truck.

I had to move it in the parking lot or in our driveway one time, and I felt very vulnerable and panicky. I was going into an anxiety attack because it’s just, it’s way bigger than what I’m used to driving. So if you’re used to driving, like a midsize SUV and then you go into a Super Duty 350 lifted, it’s like driving a bus. I don’t wanna do it. It’s way too big. (That’s what she said.) 

But anyways, I had to take that to get my kid to school and I was stressed out most of the time, driving really slow.  and there was even a time after I dropped all my kids off that it was just me in the truck and I had this small voice in the back of my head that’s, you know, those nasty, intrusive thoughts that come in.

So like, you should just drive it off the bridge, show him, you know, like just total the truck and kill yourself. It’s a great idea. Of course I didn’t do that because it’s stupid. That would be a really dumb thing to do because it’s not that big of a deal. And what I had to do was let go of my stubbornness and.

that were, you know, digging their heels in and telling me, Nope, you should, you know, don’t do a good job. Don’t be good at driving. You should just have an anxiety attack, like always. And then there was another part of me that’s saying, You know, you can do anything, right? You are capable of keeping calm, you are capable of driving less.

You do not have to be shallow and petty. Because there was another part of me that wanted to take all my husband’s keys and go throw them in the river, just to, you know, get back at him because I do have that petty streak in me. But obviously I didn’t do that. I’m still married. I chose love not violence.

It was really interesting to see these parts of me making these decisions. And weighing in on an old version of you would’ve gone ahead and had the panic attack. An old version of you would’ve kept your kid home and not driven him to school because she would’ve been so stubborn to not even try to drive the truck.

But here you are, stepping up, controlling your system, and staying calm. And driving this truck to get this kid to school, even though it’s not the solution you wanted. And I dealt with a lot of back and forth anxiety and, you know, realizations all day long because of this situation, which in five years I’m gonna look back and be like, it wasn’t that bad.

But there’s a part of me that didn’t want it to not be that bad. There was a stubborn part of me that wanted it to be the worst day of my life. Because I wanted to stick by my guns that had said, I’m not good at driving your truck. I don’t ever wanna drive your truck. I can’t do it. Part of me wanted to stick by that and to believe that, but now I can’t believe it.

Now I have to accept the fact that I can remain calm because I am in control of myself and I can drive the truck that I thought I couldn’t. It’s really tough to admit you are wrong, even when it means growth. So I’m right there with you if you’re, you know, overcoming anxiety and it feels weird to not be anxious about things and it makes you angry that you’re not anxious, and it just gives you all these conflicting feelings.

I get it. I’m there with you. I understand that it’s not always so easy. There’s a lot of emotions that come into this, a lot of back and forth feelings. I get it. But you are in control of yourself. You’re in con. You get to decide. You get to decide how you’re going to respond to these situations. . You can stay mad.

You can be petty. You can be stubborn and prideful, but that’s your choice. You’re choosing that and just because that’s what you’ve always chosen in the past, that doesn’t mean that’s what you have to choose now. You get to change. You get to grow. You get to choose calm. And peace and love and yeah, it’s really weird when you start making these changes and you start seeing, Wow, that’s not the response I normally would have.

And it feels really uncomfortable. Growth is uncomfortable. It’s so, so good, but it’s uncomfortable when it’s happening. But once you’re on the other side, you’re gonna look back and be like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I was that person. I can’t believe I let these tiny things be such a big deal. I can’t believe I overreacted that way.

But when you’re going through the change, it can be tough, it can be rough. I mean, I’m years into making these changes in my life and I’m still facing up, you know, facing my inner demons and whatever. There’s still always room to grow. So I wanna share with you how I calm down. And it has been my challenge lately that if someone tells me to just calm down, that I do it.

Instead of holding onto the pride of, how dare you say that? What if we set aside the pride, we set aside the stubbornness, and we said, Yeah, okay. Give me a minute to go calm down, instead of holding onto that white hot rage. Right. So when I calm down, I always start with a deep breath. It is so regulatory.

It is so good for you. Deep breath. Even if it’s just one big and out. All right? You can go into a whole breathing sequence. You know, there’s a lot of different visualized breathings. There’s box breathing. There’s 4, 7, 8, breathing. There’s just three seconds in, three seconds out. You could do a breathwork kind of breathing with your abdomen, and there’s so many different ways to breathe that can help you.

And I totally suggest you find something that works really, really well for you, that you don’t have to think about. You can just be like, Oh, time to breathe, and you know, that’s how you breathe. All right? And then remove myself from the situation if you. Remove yourself if needed or possible. Go ahead and step into another room, step outside.

You know, bonus points if you just go outside barefoot and do a little bit of grounding at the time. Feel the sunshine and the fresh air. Or if you know you’re in the northwest like me, then go out in the rain, in the mud. It’s good for you. The rain and mud is good for you. Okay? Go take a shower, go splash some water on your face.

Change your location. It’s a really good way, you know, to change your physiological responses is to just step out of the room, go somewhere else, go do something else. Do you need to move through what’s happening? Do you need to go like, jump on a trampoline or go for a quick jog?

Do you need to go for a walk? Do you need to just do a little bit of light stretching, some yoga kind of stuff to open you up sometimes. This is just a lot of energy that needs to move through you, okay? It’s the same thing with your kids, right? How often are your kids getting super wound up and crazy and you’re just like, Hey, why don’t you go outside and play and problem solved, right?

They go out and jump on the trampoline, ride their bike or whatever. They go run around. Problem solved. Your kid goes outside and plays in the dirt in the mud. Problem solved. It’s the same for. Right. Getting out there in the dirt and the fresh air getting movement in, it’s gonna help those energies move through you.

And if you need to go back and listen to episode three about how nature can help you heal, all right? That’s a lot. It’s a lot to do on the same exact topic. I tend to come back to it a lot, but I always forget that that episode exists where I specifically went and chatted with you about the healing powers in nature, how you can get outside and it will help regulate you and overcome your anxieties and, you know, all those kinds of things.

Definitely give that a checkout, but then, so I breathe, remove myself if I can or if I need to. And then I like to reflect because it’s not gonna help you in the long run if you never think about what just happened, right? Because then it’s just gonna happen again. All right? Stepping out and calming in the moment right now is only helpful for right now.

It’s not gonna help you prevent the situation from happening again and again in the future, right? So what helps that is by reflecting and questioning yourself on, you know, a dozen different things. Question, what just happened? Is this something that’s gonna matter in five years? What’s the real trigger here?

Was my reaction proportionate? What’s really causing me to flip out about this? Is there a deeper rooted problem? Am I not taking care of myself? Am I telling myself untrue stories again? Am I allowing myself to spiral over something small because I’m telling myself that that something small means something important about me.

Is this really a big deal? What’s my next best move? How can I approach this situation with love? Do I need to apologize to someone? Do I need to forgive someone? Is that someone me? Would journaling help me through this? Do I need to move through this to work out or walk it out? Do I need to just move on to the next thing?

Is this something that I need to just forget about and just move on? Am I giving myself grace in this situation or am I allowing guilt to grow? Am I giving others grace?

When we do all these things in question, all these things, we can start to calm ourselves in the situation. There’s so many different ways you can calm yourselves. There’s ways you can prevent yourself from getting so high strung that you are, you know, in a state of anxiety. And I will link a couple of other really great episodes here.

There was an episode I did with Elizabeth from Emotionally Healthy Legacy where she talks about how to calm down. She’s a stress coach for moms and she’s amazing, and I will link her in the show notes to this. And then also there’s an episode I did with Sara Miller of the Self Care Life. She talks a lot about self care to prevent anxiety. Not just self care in the moment for anxiety, but to prevent it so that you’re caring for yourself and you’re showing up from a place that’s not, you know, your cup’s not empty when you’re showing up. You have resources, you have, you have bandwidth to deal with what’s happening in life because life happens, right?

So if you’re caring for yourself, if you’re questioning what you’re doing, being mindful, paying attention to life around you. It’s gonna be a lot easier to overcome the anxiety of the moment. And if you let go of that stubbornness and that pride, and that’s not easy, that is so much more easily said than done.

But if you let go of that and you do accept the advice to just calm down, this could be life changing, life changing – to just calm down in the moment. All right, So peace, love, and joy my friend. That’s what I had to share with you today. Let’s stop being triggered by the phrase, just calm down. Let’s instead, just calm down.

Right? I know it’s so much more easily said than done, but friend, you’re probably gonna hear that a lot going into this holiday season. Holidays are rough. You’re surrounded by people who don’t normally spend a whole ton of time with you, but they think that you know, they know you and they love you because they’re family, or they’re very close friends, and you get a bunch of people in a room together and you’re in charge of all the hosting.

And stress gets really high this time of year, and I want you to have permission to not be stressed. And when you do get stressed and someone inevitably says, Maybe you should just calm down. I want you to take a deep breath, bite your tongue, and actually take the time to calm down because you know what?

Every time someone says “just calm down.” You kind of see this like fear in their eyes that they know they just unleashed a monster. So can you imagine their face when they say, just calm down and immediately regret it, and you look ’em square in the eye and say, “You know what, That’s a good idea. I’m gonna go take care of myself. Give me five minutes.” 

How would that change the entire environment of every social gathering this holiday season? I don’t know. Maybe other people don’t have huge family arguments and stuff that happens. Maybe you don’t get stressed about holiday stuff, Stuff about family gatherings.

Maybe that’s, Just a special kind of person. But I think I’m not alone. I think more families are like sitcoms than we think, with interesting family structures. But, maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. Anyways, happy holiday season. Stay calm my friend. I love you.


Published by Brittni Clarkson

Hi, I'm Brittni, author, podcaster, transformational speaker, and a mom of 3 boys, passionate about helping moms overcome the overwhelm and actually ENJOY MOTHERHOOD.

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