Knowing how to stay calm is a very important skill. Calmness leads to more gratitude. When you are at peace, the gratitude can flow.
However, this skill tends to deteriorate under stressful or distracting conditions. Staying calm under extreme pressure is much more challenging than staying calm under moderate conditions.
For example, hitting a golf balls with your friends is relatively easy. But add 5,000 spectators and some TV cameras and see how well you do. These are the times that try men (and women’s) souls… And these are the times that try their gratitude!
Imagine being calm, peaceful, and grateful at all times. How would your life change? A greater ability to manage one’s emotions is invaluable!
Follow these suggestions and keep calm under pressure:
- Start your day being calm and make every effort to stay that way. A calming morning ritual, performed religiously, will get your mind and body in the proper state. Then the only real task is staying that way throughout the day.
- A good morning often results in a good day, just like a good Monday often results in a good week.
- Monitor yourself. Continuously monitor your reactions to stressful events. How do you feel physically? What thoughts do you have? Do you use self-talk? Notice everything that has changed.
- Bring yourself back to your calm state. If your self-talk has become negative, take control and stop it. Turn it around and make it positive. If your heart is beating faster, take slow, deep breaths and relax.
- Think positive thoughts and focus on solutions. Take action and avoid worrying.
- Remember that it’s not all about you. Avoid assuming that a negative event says anything about you. If someone gets snippy with you at work, it might just be a symptom of trouble at home. People do things for lots of reasons that don’t involve you. It’s common to take things personally, but it’s often inaccurate.
- Find some healthy coping habits. Many of us shop, drink, or eat when we’re stressed. That’s a good way to end up poor, drunk, and overweight, all of which can add their own stress. Develop some new habits that are actually good for you. Yoga, meditation, and exercise are just a few suggestions.
- Eliminate clutter from your environment. This includes all types of clutter, including excessive noise and other distractions.
- Turn off your social media and email notifications. Keep your work areas clear of clutter. You’ll feel calmer and less stressed.
- Get enough sleep. It’s much easier to remain calm when you’ve had 7 hours of sleep rather than only 4. Sleep helps to reduce the stress in your mind and body. Being well-rested also allows you to handle stressful situations better.
- Even if you’re super busy, you’ll usually get more done if you maintain your normal sleep schedule.
- Ask yourself questions. Questions can determine our focus and influence our actions.
- Is this really going to make a difference? Does it matter? Is the other person overreacting? Am I over reacting?
- Am I stressed about the past, present, or future? The past is over, and the future hasn’t arrived yet, so focus on the present.
- What can I do to turn this situation around? Is there an outcome that will make everyone happy?
- Take a break. If you’re unable to remain calm, give yourself a few minutes to regroup. Some time alone can have positive results.
Staying calm in challenging situations can be difficult, but staying calm, like being grateful, a learnable skill. Start with less stressful situations and test your ability to stay cool, calm, and collected. In time, nothing will be able to get under your skin.
Perhaps you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. Do you struggle with how to spend that time? Although you have plenty of things you’d like to accomplish, getting focused and staying that way seems to be a challenge when you’re alone.
Are you wasting precious, solitary hours that you could be spending more productively? Believe it or not, you can actually find this time by yourself to be very helpful.
While it is fun to be around a large group of friends and family members, sometimes getting away from them all can be refreshing. There are several benefits of being by yourself without anyone else around.
Consider these benefits of being alone:
- Do whatever you want. Being alone means you’re completely in charge of your decisions. How often does that happen? You get to select what you want to do each hour that you’re without company. Think of it as being rich with time.
- Need to clean the garage? Want to learn how to speak Spanish or German? Never finished that sewing or wood-carving project?
- Having alone time means you can accomplish all those things you’ve been putting off.
- Set a goal and achieve it. Now, that you have no distractions, take some time and set one or two goals. Write them down. List the steps you’ll need to follow to achieve each goal and check off each step as they’re completed.
- You have the power and time to make even your wildest dreams come true.
- Take up a hobby you’ve been considering. Maybe you’ve had a secret desire to participate in a certain pastime that appeals to you. What’s stopping you? At least, make a call of inquiry about getting involved or observe people engaging in the activity.
- Read more. Reading will broaden your horizons and make you a more interesting person. Read what you already love or try a new genre.
- If reading has been less than appealing in the past, go to the library and pick out a book on a subject that interests you. Select a classic novel, a biography of a celebrity who peaks your interest, or a how-to book.
- If you’re alone a lot, then you have plenty of time to get in the best shape of your life. Design your own exercise plan. Include a schedule for when you’ll exercise and the type of exercise you’ll do. Then follow through. You can even change it up to keep it interesting.
- You can be proactive and overcome any physical fitness or health issues you may have.
- Can you imagine becoming the healthy, vibrant person you’ve yearned to be? It’s definitely within your reach.
- Start some soul-searching. What do you want out of life? When you’ve thought about the life you want to live, you’ll be more likely to obtain it. Spend some time considering what’s important to you and what you hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Having extra alone-time means you can create the very life you desire.
- Become really good at something. Nothing makes us feel better than to know that we can do at least one thing really well.
- Maybe for you, it’s playing the guitar, doing yoga, or writing a children’s book. Whatever it is, spend some of your solitary time practicing to become the best you can be at something. It’ll be a great confidence-builder.
Alone time is more than it’s cracked up to be. When you’re alone, you have an abundance of time to spend in ways that bring you the opportunity to learn, achieve, and enjoy your life. Relish the time you spend alone. It gives you the power to do anything you want. Your time is now!
If you’re not getting enough things done on your to-do list, you’re not alone. It’s common to feel a little overwhelmed, rushed, and even guilty when you’re unable to get everything done each day. Staying focused and in the moment is challenging.
Then the little things seem to start piling up. The dishes are dirty and the laundry needs to be done. The only obvious solution is to be even busier and to schedule every minute of the day.
It’s important to remember that nothing stays finished for long. Most of us feel like everything has to be done before we give ourselves permission to enjoy life. However, that moment of feeling “caught up” never seems to come.
If you need to create a little more space and enjoyment in your life, try these tips:
- Learn to be glad that you have more work to do. Remember, if you have more to do, your time is valuable. Imagine the implication of not having any tasks to complete at work. You’d likely be out of a job sooner, rather than later.
- Be grateful that so many of the people in your life need you.
- Look for dead time. You might believe that you’re busy 24/7, but that’s likely untrue. Use those moments between tasks to mentally relax. We all think much more than necessary.
- If you’re working on a report at work, you’re probably also thinking about lunch, the unpaid cable bill, and what you’re going to do this weekend. None are helpful, nor do they help you get your report completed.
- You’ll be much more relaxed and get more accomplished if you mentally limit yourself to the task at hand.
- Slower can be faster. The military has a saying, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Calmly approaching each task will frequently result in getting it done quicker. As our minds become over stimulated, it’s much more challenging to stay focused.
- Think about how quickly you tie your shoes each day. Now try to tie your shoes as quickly as possible. You’ll almost certainly find that you’ve become slower. Any excessive increase in tension slows things down.
- Limit unnecessary tasks. There’s no point in spending valuable time on things that don’t matter. If you’re spending time on tasks that have little meaning, ditch them.
- Limit the important tasks, too. You can probably only get a few important tasks done each day. Making a list of 5 is certain to lead to feeling overwhelmed. Pick the 2-3 most important tasks to focus on. The rest can wait until tomorrow.
- Give yourself the time you need. Everyone does some mental math each day that goes something like this, “This meeting ought to take 60 minutes. I’ll need 20 minutes to interview that job candidate. I have 30 minutes to drive home and change. Then, I still have 15 minutes to get Sarah to soccer practice.
- We all tend to be optimistic, and our mental schedule requires everything to go perfectly. The interview could take 20 minutes, at best. It might also take 40 minutes. It probably won’t take 10.
- Be realistic and give yourself the time required for each task, as well as the time between tasks.
If you’re constantly in a hurry, life can feel chaotic and joyless.
You have more time available than you realize. You can also learn to enjoy a busy schedule. Focus on each task and give yourself time to complete it. Remember that remaining calm and slowing down can actually increase the amount you get accomplished.
You can expand your gratitude by listening and watching as this 6-year old narrates the Meaning of Life.
At work the other day, I was talking about this my gratitude website and how I was preparing for the latest post. After speakings about it for a couple minutes, a co-worker looked at me and said something that caught me off guard.
You see, I was really surprised at the response I received from him. ” I wish I was like you, but I really do not have much gratitude for anything. I’m feeling sick. I hate my job. I owe a lot of money and creditors are calling me. My girlfriend moved out. I gotta tell you… My life is the pits. What do I possibly have to be grateful for?”
My first thought was, “Wow – keep focusing on the negativity and you will just get more of it! It is a vicious cycle!” Regardless of how bad you think you have it, you can still be full of gratitude! That is right, FULL of gratitude!
One of my favorite Gratitude quotes by Buddha
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
(this is also my friend, Marie’s, favorite quotes as well!)
If you are stuck and cannot think of anything to list in your Gratitude Journal, start with the small things in your life. These are really what matter and will continue along with you. When someone can appreciate and show their gratitude for the “unnoticeable things” you will see the abundance you actually do have in your life. For starters:
What is the weather like by you? Is it sunny? Do you enjoy the sunshine? Do you smile when you feel the morning sunshine fall across your face and warm it up? Is it raining? Are you happy that you do not have to set up the sprinkler system to water the grass? Do you like the way the rain cleans the air and makes everything smell fresh? Even if the “weather is not cooperating with your plans” you can still find a lot in which to be grateful! Do you have shelter? Do you own your own home? Are you renting? Are you homeless and staying at a local shelter? You can be grateful for any of these. Do you have a car? Is it running? Is it a clunker? Does it get you from Point A to Point B? Is it better than having to walk? Can you save time using it? No car? How do you get from place to place? Public transportation? Do you enjoy the fact that you have someone else driving you around? Are you walking? Do you enjoy the fact that you are getting some exercise as you go to you destination? You can express your gratitude for a variety of options that may be available to you! Are you reading this? Can you see? Do you have your vision? Is this being read via a Text-To-Speech machine? Do you have glasses? Again, here is a lot for which you can express your gratitude.
You see, even if you are unhappy, you can still be grateful for many, many, many things in your life. If you start to appreciate all of these things, you will not be focusing on the negativity and all the bad things which you see.
I have written about a gratitude journal in prior posts. I highly suggest that you take this opportunity to start one if you do not have one. Try it for a week. List out those things for which you are grateful and I am sure that you will feel much better at the end a week then you do now.
As always, your comments are welcomed. Please let me know what you think about having this sort of gratitude mindset.
The Gratitude Guru