Staying Calm Is A Super Power

Peter Pabich |

When it comes to investing, volatility is to be expected. It’s normal for the market and your portfolio to experience ups and downs. But, these moments are just that - moments. While you may feel pressure to act immediately, it’s often best to pause and bring your focus back to your long-term plan.  

The same holds true for other areas of your life. Whether it’s a health decision, career decision, or simply what to order for dinner, feelings of stress and anxiety can cloud your judgment, leading to hasty decisions that may feel right in the moment but are not in the best interest of your long-term goals. In fact, studies show that feelings of anxiety actually shut down certain connections within your brain that make it more difficult to screen out irrelevant information and make appropriate decisions. 

For most of us, panic is a natural reaction. But, it is possible to shift your default reaction from short-term fears to long-term focus. Check out our tips below on how you can develop skills and practices to help keep you calm - and your finances on track - the next time you face uncertainty. 


Start by taking a deep breath 

This may seem trivial, but it’s important. As noted above, when you are feeling stressed or anxious your body produces a physiological response that puts you into “flight-or-fight” mode. This may be appropriate if you were being chased by a lion, but it doesn’t serve you well when dealing with important decisions or day-to-day stressors. 

Next time you find yourself dealing with fear or uncertainty, bring your focus to your breath. Take a deep inhale through your nose and a long, slow exhale through your nose. Continue to do this for 1-2 minutes and notice how you feel afterwards. 

Get clear on your priorities

During times of stress and anxiety, it can be easy to lose sight of your priorities. Whether your concerns are related to finances or some other area of your life, it’s important to remain focused on your long-term goals. Is it saving for retirement? Funding your child’s education? Focusing on your end goal can help ensure you don’t become distracted by current events.

If you do need to make changes to your original plan, bringing your attention back to your priorities can help you do so more effectively. For example, when it comes to your finances, we build strategic, long-term plans specifically designed to weather periods of uncertainty. If market conditions evolve in a way that suggests a change to your plan is, in fact, needed, we always measure those conditions against your long-term goal in order to determine the appropriate next steps for you. This helps ensure we’re proactively moving you closer to your specific goals rather than reactively responding to market conditions that may not be in the best interest of your individual needs. Bringing your attention back to your priorities can help you successfully navigate volatile times in other areas of your life, too.

Be aware of what information you consume

For better or for worse, information is more readily available today than ever before. While this may seem helpful, frequent news consumption - especially during times of uncertainty - can increase your feelings of stress and anxiety. The constant flow of “noise” can be distracting and cause you to lose sight of your long-term goals and the plans you already have in place to help you achieve them. 

While it’s important to stay informed of current events, it’s also important to find a balance between constructive news consumption and stress-inducing media. The information you consume is a very tangible thing you do have control over - limiting your exposure and taking the time to think critically about the news you do consume will help you more effectively process and act on it. 

Recognize that progress isn’t linear

It’s easy to think that progress towards your goals will always be an upward trajectory. However, that isn’t true. Whether it’s starting a new business, learning a new skill, or growing your portfolio, they are all subject to normal ups and downs. This means that you may not always be operating from the highest point in your portfolio or your fastest race time. But, that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.

Rather than focusing on where you are today vs. where you were yesterday, focus on where you are today vs. where you were when you first started. It is through this perspective that you’ll be able to see and have confidence in the considerable progress you’ve made. And, remember - history has shown us that no matter what challenges we face, be it challenges with the global economy, challenges with relationships, challenges with our health, challenges at work - that, in time, they can and will recover.  

At Entrust Wealth Partners, we recognize that it can be difficult to remain calm and focused during periods of uncertainty, which is why our approach to planning is specifically designed to help you manage risks with confidence and peace of mind. We proactively review your plan on a regular basis to identify adjustments needed to help you stay on track towards your goals. We’re committed to helping you navigate life’s ups and downs and are available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have - simply contact your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor or call us at (860) 838-3730 to get started today.