I do believe that part of being happy is feeling calm in the face of uncertainty, unpredictability, setbacks and just life. Being happy in the everyday is within our grasp and being calm is part of what will help us to enjoy life much more. Yet it is not always easy to feel this inner strength. When things are uncertain and we start to worry we are capable of creating drama in our minds: obsessing about the past, or predicting what might happen in the future. This can easily happen when we feel overwhelmed by our work, responsibilities and under pressure.
So let’s look at some strategies to help to practise calm this week and see what happens!
- Honour how you are feeling – being calm is less about resisting the urge to worry and more about accepting it and even embracing it, knowing that to worry and feel anxious is natural. However, observing and experiencing the feeling helps to loosen its hold. We can then gently start to question some of our thoughts to test them out. Our brain will then naturally seek solutions or lessen the drama all by itself. It’s important not to voice these anxious feelings too much – posting how you are feeling on social media for example may feel good temporarily but once you start to get affirmations from others in response to your post (and you will) you are merely feeding those negative thoughts and feelings and making them stronger.
- Bring your awareness to the present – this will have an immediate effect. We can become present by putting awareness on our breathing, our feelings, and the physicality of our being. We can pause and take a look around the room or place we’re in, reminding ourselves of where we are, and feeling our connection to the physical world. When we do this, we notice that right in this moment, we are actually okay. When you practise awareness in this way, you will rapidly feel reconnected to who you are and what is real in your life.
- Shift your energy – rather than spending our energy on worrying, we can use that energy to take positive action. So we can become the catalyst for change instead of being at the mercy of circumstance. When you find yourself caught up in worry, try to identify one small step that you can take immediately, that moves you towards a solution. Just by taking a small action, we move from a passive state to a proactive one, shifting our focus and creating momentum.
- Practise gratitude – this helps us change our thoughts and creates a flow of good feelings in our body, which will instantly transform our mood. Try to make a habit of writing down what you deeply appreciate about your life. Cultivate the feeling of appreciation as fully as possible. In doing this, we can change our physical state: allowing ourselves to experience a natural joy, openness and expansion in our body, rather than the physical or emotional contractions caused by stress.
- Let go of control – often anxiety is created by not feeling in control and feeling that many things are outside our control (which actually they are!) Letting go of control isn’t easy because of this but once we do so there is an immediate sense of ease and calm. It’s important for us to acknowledge that we can only ever control our own thoughts, words, actions, and responses in any situation. When we fully accept this, we can stop trying to control things that are external to us. We can take complete responsibility for the part we play in life, and surrender the rest to the world. When we stop clinging to the outcome, we release tension from our bodies and minds, and let ourselves follow the natural flow of life. The result is calm.
The Advantage raises immediate awareness of seven soft skills: adaptability, empathy, integrity, critical thinking, being proactive, optimism and resilience. Daily practice of all of these results in a happier, productive and balanced life.
We currently deliver 2-day workshops to raise awareness of these skills and we are licensing trainers to deliver them to a range of different groups. Click on this link to find out more and join us 29th and 30th September and the 1st of October!