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7 Simple “Calm-Down Phrases” That Can Blow Away Your Worst Troubles

Have you heard the popular urban legend of the space pen?

As the story goes, the US space mission needed something reliable to write with while they were on space missions. None of the pens they had until then worked in the zero-gravity environment of outer space. So, millions of dollars were spent to invent a space pen.

In the meantime on the other side of the pond, the Russian astronauts faced the same problem. They however, decided to adopt a much simpler solution… they used pencils.

Even though it’s an urban legend, the story is so plausible that decades after the mission to the moon, the story is still in circulation.

The question I have for you is….

Are You Taking The Space Pen Approach to Life?

Do you make matters more complicated than they ought to be?

Do you read hordes of personal development books hoping that they will deliver some deep wisdom to help you face the troubles in your life?

Do you consult a life coach, psychologist or psychiatrist, hoping that they will somehow make your problems vanish?

The Pencil Approach to Life

What if there is a much simpler solution?

After years of taking the space pen approach to everyday issues, I’ve come to realize that a few “calm-down phrases” are way more powerful than a library full self-help and personal development books.

The secret to making our troubles disappear are powerful words of wisdom handed down from generations, disguised in the form of simple everyday phrases. They are like charms that we can carry around with us everywhere and by simply uttering them, we can blow our way through even the toughest of issues!

I have compiled below a list of 7 phrases that I find the most helpful. I am sure you have many more that I hope you will share with us –

#1 “It is what it is”

Much of our worries and sorrows are because we expect things to be one way, but the universe seems to think otherwise. And of course, the mighty universe always wins. Accept things the way they are, and life will go much smoother.

#2 “This too shall pass”

Finding it hard to accept things the way they are? Then just breathe and let things run their course. Everything has a beginning and an end – whatever it is that is troubling you, shall end soon enough too.

#3 “Whatever”

Imagine if this simple word can shield a whole generation of teenagers from the angst of the youth, what it can do for you as you face your day with a cranky boss, crazy colleagues or obnoxious clients!

#4 “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do”

As an adult, you probably are aware that throwing a tantrum isn’t going to get you anywhere. So whatever it is, just grit your teeth and get through with it.

#5 “Go with the flow”

There is a time to fight and a time to give in. Sometimes, you just have to let go and let yourself be carried adrift in whatever direction the river flows. Some currents are too strong to fight against.

#6 “Time heals all wounds”

All the hurt you feel and the wounds that are raw today will heal someday. It may not feel so right now, but just hang in there and have faith.

#7 “What doesn’t kill you builds character”

As you wait for time to do its healing thing, you may still continue to bleed inside. How you deal with this will make you the person you will be tomorrow. Handle it with dignity and you will be lauded for your strong character. Be a wimp, and that will become your identity. Choose carefully, and consciously.

So, the next time you sense a storm of trouble brewing up in the horizon, instead of looking for some complex solution, take a deep breath and arm yourself with one of these powerful calm-down phrases. Repeat it to yourself as many times as it takes. Heck, chant it if you must. And let their magic carry you through.

Do you hang on to calm-down phrases for dear life in times of turbulence? What are some of your favorite calm-down phrases?


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  • Possibly Depressed

    Honestly, these phrases don’t do much for me. Sometimes “going with the flow” can throw you over a waterfall if I may keep the analogy going. Others like “it is what it is” and “whatever” would probably just breed more apathy in me. Again, not exactly motivating. That’s just me. I guess I prefer the Nike “Just Do It” shirts although those have pitfalls of their own….

    • Sumitha

      Thanks, Possibly Depressed! “Just Do It” is something I use often too, and should have added to the list.

      Yes, none of these are one size fits all solutions – but I find that depending on the situation, adopting one of them makes the going so much smoother – whether it is a to “go with the flow” when things are really out of my hands or “just do it” to help me take the plunge!

  • Hi Sumitha

    i enjoy reading through this article. Yes, the phrases come in handy when we are under stress. I like the one ” what does not kill you makes you stronger”. The illustration of space pen is also spot-on by reminding us to find simple solution to our problems.

    • Sumitha

      Thanks, Mulyadi Kurnia. I think I came across that first years ago while reading the Calvin and Hobbes comics and it has stuck with me ever since. So true, isn’t it?

  • jojo


    i like repeating “whatever will be, will be”, it makes wonders because it reminds me that I can always do my best, but I can’t control the outcome lurking in the unknown but inevitable future.

    • Sumitha

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, Jojo! You’re right, that ones something that soothes me too. I find myself humming the old tune “Que Sera Sera” whenever I’ve done my best but things just seem out of my control!

  • guest

    Hello, I love to say “If you already know that will happen, why to worry?” I do this when my dad always yell if you do not understand him, if I know that why should I get mad too?

    • Sumitha

      Good one — especially if it means you can keep yourself from getting into a fight and losing your peace of mind. Good luck to you!

  • These are great thoughts Sumitha. I would just add that in saying those words, we must have a resolve toward our goal that doesn’t give into the disappointment. We all get disappointed sometimes but if we can learn to get right back up, say “It Is what It Is” and try another approach. Great post.

    • Sumitha

      You are right, Bryan! With some of these, you do have a choice – you can use it as a momentary calm-down tactic until the storm passes, or you can use it to justify giving up. I totally agree with you that we must have a resolve towards our goals and get right back up when the moment passes. Thanks so much for the insightful comment!

  • Lea

    When people focus on problems I tend to say “What can you do?” It sparks thought on a resolution, taking focus away from the problem, and if there’s nothing that can be done they realize that and move on.


    • Sumitha

      Wow, that’s a good one, Lea. Thanks for sharing! I’m definitely going to try it out, in particular with my 5 year old who is just starting to realize the power of problem solving!

      • Lea

        That’s great! Glad I could contribute. Your 5 year old sounds quite sharp. Good Luck!

  • Barbara

    I use “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” a lot. It reminds me that there a lot of things you just have to do in life that may not be exciting but are aimed at helping you reach your goals or getting past this moment

    • Sumitha

      It does, doesn’t it? It’s there, it’s boring and you really don’t want to do it, but somehow this little phrases has the power to make it a tad bit more palatable… just enough to get the job done!

  • #3 and #7 are personal favorites of mine. I use the former when I’m just exasperated about something, and the latter I’m faced with rejection, criticism, and other setbacks.

    I would also like to suggest listening to the song “Let It Be” by The Beatles. 😉

    • Sumitha

      Wow, I’d almost forgotten that, Francesca! Thanks for reminding it to me… I used to listen to “Let It Be” so often when I was a student…. (I’m off to see if I can find it on Youtube now, it’s just been way too long since I last heard it!)

    • John Ezetta

      Yes! I was thinking the exact same thing! 😀

  • Serenity

    I like the “Que sera, sera…” line from the Doris Day song (Whatever will be, will be), to which I add this little extra : “…nothing more, nothing less”.

    • Sumitha

      I love that song too, Serenity! And nice little extra you added there!

    • Daniel

      there was an old Road safety ad here about wearing seat belts which had that song in it… interrupted by the sound of screeching tires and a voice saying “whatever will be, doesn’t have to be”. which for me is a powerful reminder not to take anything for granted, and not to be complacent in the course of my life…

  • chans1239

    Thanks for the article! Here is my favorite phrase that I keep telling myself in many situations actually: “I know I can do it….” Believing that I can do it will always help me come out of any problems and difficulties

    • Sumitha

      Thanks for sharing, Chans1239! That should have been on my list… it is something that I like to tell myself often too!

  • kashyap

    calmness comess when one becomes aware of his own thoughts, bodily sensations. just observing the thoughts gives instant relaxation to mind. try it once. just ask yourself now “what am i thinking right now?” you will observe a little pause in your thoughts….

  • “Don’t stop, don’t give up!” is my favorite phrase. :)

    Thank you for sharing this articles to us.


    • Sumitha

      Yeah, that’s a good one, Claude. Very motivating. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh another one:

    “Stand up and make it happen” :’)

  • BenGleck

    By and large, these sound passive, apathetic and fatalistic to me. I have inner peace most all the time, and when the need arises to tap into my reservoir I simply remind myself that “It’s going to be all right in the end…in fact, it already IS all right.” That doesn’t mean that we can’t attempt to reach goals in the meantime, that we should just drift along or rationalize that it’s all beyond our control. Just because the long term picture is good doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges in the short term, or that we shouldn’t embrace them. Far from it.

    • I agree.

      Go with the flow is the worst life advice. Make your own path.

  • AssHat900

    ” There are four lights! ” , gets me through even the darkest days.

  • Teri Treece

    I find that I use a number of these phrases (or a variation). I find that I use “It is what it is” the most. Thanks for the article.

  • peachycool

    “Hang loose in the saddle”
    A phrase my beautiful father once said to me and it comes in so useful when things get tough!!

  • Leisa

    If you are going through hell …just dont stop

  • Daniel

    some of these i use often. but as someone else pointed out they’re all awfully passive. how about some active ones for balance? My favourite is “action cures fear”… and also the litany against fear from the novel Dune…