How to Be Cool and Laid Back
If you're not the type of person who finds it easy to relax and just “go with the flow,” you may think it’s impossible to learn how to project a cool and “laid back” vibe. Luckily, you can be cool and laid-back if you learn how to conscientiously reframe your feelings and perceptions.
Observe your surroundings.Take a moment. See and note whatever’s around you. Pay particular attention to colors, shapes, and textures.
- The idea is to be present in the moment. You can't be cool and laid-back if constant thoughts of the past or the future are tugging on your sleeve.
- Consider the positioning of your body. Where are your feet? How do they feel?
- In what position are your hands? Your head? Your shoulders? You don't have to be a new-age spiritualist to recognize how your body feels.
Sit down, take a long deep breath, and briefly close your eyes.This is your chance to sink into relaxation through the 4-7-8 Breathing technique.
Breathe through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.You should begin to feel your body slow down into a relaxed state.
- Repeat this breathing technique.
- Remember: don’t worry yet about looking or being “cool”; now you just want your body to find its safe space.
- Tell yourself affirmations. (i.e. “You have a lot to offer this dinner party. You’re going to have a great time.”) You might feel silly saying such things to yourself, but hopefully, with your body rested and your mind open, you’ll at least give such affirmations a chance. You want to not just say the words, but feel them in your bones.
Open your eyes as if waking up from a sleep.Slowly enter the “real” world, but be open to resume practicing this breathing and perception technique whenever you want to settle down.
Consider meditation.Meditation isn’t for everybody, but for some people, it is a great tool for relaxation of the body and the soul. All you need to get started is a commitment to trying something new, and five minutes of your day.
- Find a quiet spot that is comfortable but not sleep-inducing.
- Keep your spine tall, close your eyes, and begin to slowly breathe in and out.
- Follow your breath. Focus on the feeling of the air passing, and the area between your nose and your upper lip.
- Don’t try to control your thoughts; let them come to you.
- Some people need help getting in the right frame of mind for meditation. Consider listening to a guided meditation podcast or attending a class.
Exercise.It's no secret that regular cardiovascular exercise releases endorphins and plainly makes your body feels better.
- While not everyone is destined to be a gym rat or a sports fiend, everyone can make a list of their favorite activities.
- Think outside the box: for example, maybe you've always wanted to try hiking. Search for local hiking groups.
Sleep well.Your brain needs rest. Try wearing a sleep mask and/or listening to white noise to create a peaceful environment.
- Avoid things like caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. While these substances may temporarily reduce anxiety, they end up making it worse in the long-term.
Stop sweating the small things.A key component of being “laid-back” is to refuse to let life’s little annoyances rattle your composure.
- When you’re getting irritated or angry, pause to think about what’s causing your anger. Psychologists speak of the power of reframing events, of activating the reasoning brain to bring balance to the emotional brain.
- If you’re running late for an important appointment, reframe the situation from one of distress and disappointment into a problem-solving opportunity. Even if you can’t figure out a solution, just considering possibilities will lower the bar on your emotional volume and put you in a more positive state.
Remember that the only person you can control is yourself.Many people will come and go in your life; some will make you feel good, others won’t. No matter how much work you do to become cool and laid-back, there will be negative people in the world.
- Treasure the fact that you can always work to improve your state of mind notwithstanding what stands in your way.
Consider professional counseling.Professional counseling might be a good idea if you’re confronted with issues in your life that are too overwhelming to confront on your own.
- Some people struggle with clinical anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) shows itself through an excessive anxiety about everyday things like money, relationships, health, and school.
- If you're unsure whether or not the anxiety you're experiencing is excessive, it's not a bad idea to see a therapist and get a diagnosis.
- Being cool and laid-back may not be the right goal for you just yet if there are other obstacles you need to conquer first.
Know that less is more.Less movement, less speech, less babbling, and less appearance of trying too hard add up to more cool.Cool people don't overexplain. When you speak, think “more mystery, less history.”
- Practice being still and speaking slowly, as if you know exactly what you’re going to say even if you don’t. You are Tony Stark in Iron Man. Tony Stark does not fidget.
- Practice opening up your body by taking up a little more space than you usually do in a room. Make sure your arms aren't crossed over chest. A "power posture" can actually convince you, and others, that you are powerful.
Expect to be seen as cool.The expectation, if you make yourself believe it, can have real world effects on the people you encounter.
- Like an athlete "in the zone" whose skills are working on an almost unconscious level, your conviction of cool can take on a life of its own and make others notice.
- Your body language will reflect the coolness you feel inside.
Be a rebel, or at least look like you’re a rebel.If you’re seen as somebody who knows the rules and breaks them, the presumption is that you’re cool. This is not a suggestion to get yourself arrested, but rather just a statement that someone who breaks the rules is often seen, for better or for worse, as powerful.
- You don't want to look like a billboard for all the trends.
- Close your eyes and picture the coolest version of yourself. What are you wearing? What are you doing? Who's looking at you and how are they reacting to you? How are you feeling?
- Open your eyes and go about attaining that look you envisioned. Even if it won't stick, it is at least a legitimate attempt at a coolness from within yourself.
Know the limitations of cool.While it’s unquestionably true that being and showing “cool” opens doors, an appearance of “cool” can be a mere gloss over real deficiencies in character.
- A recent study has shown that teenagers considered to be “cool” in high school actually faced more challenges in their adulthood when it came to friendships, relationships, substance abuse, criminal behavior, and overall maturity. The idea behind the findings was that coolness has a shallow quality not conducive to self-actualization.
- Coolness is not the best attitude for every occasion. If you show real interest in others, you'll feel good about yourself and people will feel good about you, even if you don't come off as "cool".
- Genuine confidence and self-esteem sometimes, but not always, go hand in hand with cool. Keep developing yourself as a person engaged with the world, curious to improve, to learn, to be better. Thereafter, "cool" will be a characteristic of yours, but not the most important one.
- Being cool and laid-back lies in your reality, your perception of the world. Remember that.
- People are entering your reality. Try to let them have little effect on your moods, feelings and beliefs. All that matters is what you think of yourself and how you can improve that thinking.
- Be active. Exercise. If you don’t like sports, find something that you enjoy doing that involves movement. It’s easier to fake, and eventually become “cool,” if you’re an active person who’s engaged with life in both body and mind.
- Stay positive and keep striving to achieve your goals, but give yourself a break if you ever feel down. Look at the things you want to improve in yourself not as problems, but as awesome opportunities.
Video: How to Become More Laid Back | Better You
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