"Keep Calm and Carry On" was never actually deployed in England during World War II, but the slogan has been helping us stay focused for two decades in the present. You might be looking at it now, on a mug or a poster or a meme. Given the state of the world at any given moment, it could be welcome comfort — or tone-deaf exhortation.
Dealing with stress is key for getting through your day at the best of times; cooped up or anxious about exposure during a pandemic is exacerbating the worst in us. Sometimes we deal with stress by making plans and educating ourselves, while other times we ruminate or try to get away. Try as we might to vaccinate against stress (it's kind of a thing), we still have to make it through our daily lives. That's where two new pieces of research come in.
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The first study comes from North Carolina State University, which found that one of the best ways we can help ourselves is proactive coping — "planning to reduce the likelihood of future stress." When combined with mindfulness techniques, proactive coping can increase your resilience and help you stay more positive in the moment.
Another method of regulating your stress is interpersonal, as shown by researchers at Penn State University. When friends and family come to you with problems, you might be tempted to try and solve them. Unfortunately, that can come across as controlling. Instead, try validating their stress and agreeing that it's real and it's frustrating. "Keep Calm and Carry On" may work for some people, but "I'm sorry you're going through this" might just work better.