Not cribbing against each situation gives you the power to remain calmer. During my MBA days, our teacher did a little exercise with the class on the first day. She asked everybody to identify themselves with some word that describes them best. It had to be the same as the first initial of your name.
My answer- Reckless
I always envied calm people and their ability to fend off the shit around them. It became an enigma of sorts that frustrated me to no end. The more I tried becoming calmer, the more it eluded me.
Have you ever observed a naturally calm person? They are a treat to the eyes: The way they move unbothered through the day with ease and confidence is a sight to behold.
It’s like Sprezzatura.
There’s a lot to learn from them about how one should respond to everyday stress and failure. Moreover, isn’t staying calm the best possible way to tackle an unpleasant situation?
Staying calmer in times of distress not only helps your decision-making but also provides a better perspective. Having mentioned that, it is easier said than done. After all, our natural reactions to a situation take over, and we play fire with fire.
I have been reckless and crazy, and I’ve been calm. Trust me- calm is better.
Remember, calmness comes with practice, and a conscious effort to hold emotions go haywire.
The 7 small yet powerful things you can do to become a calmer person.
#1. Find a routine
Well, an understated yet effective and powerful way to combat stress and strain. Finding a routine minimizes decision-making, hence, lesser work for the brain to do. It is not to suggest turning yourself into some machine with a fixed itinerary, but making some parts of your life predetermined.
It also doesn’t mean holding your poop at midnight since you decided it can only happen the next day at 8 AM. Few rituals like a morning routine, meal plans, and exercises can be added into routine to bring some auto mode in life. It saves time and energy, eventually bringing peace and calm.
#2. Connect and live meaningfully
Yes, you live for money, success, and maybe fame for some. While aspirations and dreams are your tickets to a better future, engage in activities greater than acquisitions and achievements.
Connecting with your creative side and just puttering along brings calmness and ease into life. We are only happy and satisfied once we find meaningful pursuits rather than materialistic satisfaction.
It’s critical to connect within and find things that are important for your well-being. Once you prioritize your well-being, things inside you settle down, and you become calmer.
Authentically connect with the world and live meaningfully.
#3. Embrace life’s unpredictability
Who wouldn’t love to have a life where everything meanders along as they want. It doesn’t happen, and while you might be standing atop Eiffel Tower soaking the beauty, there is every chance you fall and be gone forever.
Note-You should still visit the Eiffel Tower, but don’t fall.
Part of our calmness and unflappable nature builds from our knowledge of knowing that life is unpredictable. It’s wise to expect things to go awry now and then rather than living in a fool’s paradise. There may be numerous plans from your end, but life has its final say. Get comfortable with that.
Have a plan always but be prepared for eventualities.
#4. There is no conspiracy against you
We love blaming someone. We believe everything has conspired against us. For each problem, we blame our luck, stars, and everything else. In moments of crisis, our inside screams and says; why me. We react as if everything happens to us alone, and the world lives peacefully.
When a story fails, we blame the editors.
When you fall ill, you think, why me?
You join a long queue to pay some bills, and when it is your turn for the billing, the paper roll in the machine is gone. Ya, it happens a lot with us. Also, the first reaction here is, why me?
So, trust me, it happens, and there is no conspiracy against you or some force playing a hand against us.
Accepting fate and not cribbing against each situation gives you the power to remain calm and be rational.
#5. Kill the just in time concept from your life
I had this habit of reaching just in time everywhere. Although it made me take pride in how well I’ve been managing time, it created jitters.
You are either early or late; there is no such thing as just in time. Always keep a buffer of ample time to reach somewhere without cramming a lot. If you’re often in rush, it shows poorly on your skills. Moreover, the rush would ensure you are fidgety and anxious all the time. Perhaps, there would be instances where keeping a check would be impossible. You can always strike off something and drop it from your schedule, and even if that doesn’t work, there’s always a gracious apology.
Rushing disrupts the peace and has zero value. This one thing changes and brings discipline and calmness.
#6. Observe, distinguish and detach
We attach ourselves to the desired outcome, only to find frustration when that outcome doesn’t happen.
Detachment is one paradox of life that’s complicated. To acquire something in life, we have to renounce our attachment towards having it. That’s how it works.
Anxiety, fear, and disconnection are signs of attachment to a goal or an object. It’s like- I have to have it for becoming complete.
People are attached to money, objects, relationships, and status. The problem is we start relating to everything and feel incomplete. You can only be calm outside when there is contentment inside. Though it seems saintly advice, reaching even 20-30% of this can do wonders for life.
Start with being aware of your regular thoughts and things that you identify with most. Observe and understand your thoughts because it is a critical step to become calm. You’ll know what’s bothering you and can remedy it. Distinguish between your thoughts and ego. Our disappointment stems from our wants rather than situations.
#7. Deep breathing
Fast breathing induces stress and feelings of anxiety. Slow and deep breathing is linked to calmness. While deep breathing has become a cliche of advice, we are guilty of not following it. Yes, we hear it all the time but do we pay heed to it. The thing is- we take breathing for granted. It doesn’t happen consciously but subconsciously. It’s always there for you to be even reading this.
Focus on your breathing right now, and you’ll see the logic to it. What we do is incomplete breathing.
Researchers at Stanford University found that our brains contain a “pacemaker for breathing”. It internally links the respiratory neurons with those controlling emotions. They found the slower and deep we breathe, the better it is for us. It induces tranquillity and makes you calmer.
Start deep breathing as a regular practice, and you’ll witness the change soon enough.
Goldman, B. (2017, March 30). Study shows how slow breathing induces tranquillity. Retrieved from https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/03/study-discovers-how-slow-breathing-induces-tranquility.html