KEEP CALMKeep Calm & __________. That catch phrase took off many years ago, with additions like, & carry on, & think positive, & hire a professional (fill in the blank), etc.  Some of these phrases also have a comical suffix.

According to Wikipedia, the phrase ‘keep calm and carry on’, actually came from a British motivational poster in 1939 in preparation for the second world war. The intent was to raise the morale of the public amidst horrifying predictions of all kinds.

In today’s world, as in the original context of ‘keep calm and carry on’, this phrase has the same intention, no matter the suffix, except maybe those that are comical. When a situation occurs that we believe may produce a negative, or unknown consequence, it causes stress.  When we’re stressed, we don’t always think clearly. In order to determine solutions to issues, we need a clear head.

The suffix of this phrase, ‘keep calm & ….’, is the solution to help us mitigate the stress of the situation.  In the original phrase from 1939, the suffix is, ‘carry on’.  The stressful situation is the coming of the second world war.  The British citizens didn’t know what to expect.  They heard rumors that were not good and probably caused a lot of stress.  They couldn’t do anything about it, and needed a way to cope with the stress.  By carrying on, or going about your daily activities, it may have just provided a distraction to combat the stress.

There are many ways to cope with stressful situations.  We need to figure out what works best for each of us. One commonality about stress coping mechanisms, is that all of them requires us to take an action.  It’s much like the suffix of the keep calm phrase; a solution to help us mitigate the stress of the situation, as mentioned above.

The solution is to take an action.  Stress coping mechanisms are taking actions.  Actions such as, deep breathing, meditation, exercising, or watching a comedy, are all good stress relievers.  When you take an action to alleviate your stress, your mind ‘calms’ down, and allows you to think clearly to solve the issue that caused the stress.

So, the next time a stressful situation arises, think about your coping mechanisms, and take an action.  It may just cause you to ‘keep calm’.