We all get pulled out of shape, experience disruptions and disturbances from our normal routine and face setbacks/challenges from time to time.
When we are in the midst of a period of upset or pain, or we have become unbalanced and distressed we typically find ourselves in fight or flight mode. At this point, we are not thinking about our actions but are instead feeling and reacting. When this happens It’s important to disengage and disassociate from the experience, so feelings of desperation are not driving you. Our mind, body and brain work together, learning how to stay calm in the chaos and stop life circumstances from determining your state of mind is such a vital life skill, with that said it is a skill that needs to be practised.
Here are some of my top tips on how to stay calm when you find yourself in the sea of chaos:
1. Check if you are present and fully aware of your body. Ask yourself what can you see, hear, feel, smell and taste. This will help you become aware of all your senses. Check yourself, are you in your head worrying about the future, feeling anxious occupying only your headspace rehearsing ‘what if’ outcomes? Stop free-floating on automatic-pilot and come back to your here and now by changing your physiology. Stand up if you’re sitting down and stretch your arms up and out, move your eyes upwards and disassociate from the future worry by moving the concern as far away from you as possible.
2. Breathe deeply, inhale deeply for six counts hold for two counts and exhale for six counts, repeat this three times. This floods your body with oxygen and this technique will give you an opportunity to centre and to regain your equilibrium.
3. If you are feeling stuck, demotivated or overwhelmed, narrow your focus. Chunk down your task at hand to small measurable pieces rather than looking too far in advanced. Focus directly in front of you, then imagine the good feeling and satisfaction you’re going to feel by getting to the end of each chunk. Remind yourself about your past successes, transfer these feelings of success into doing each small bit of the task and notice how good it feels to be almost done.
4. Create your own success or victory list. Look back at past achievements, however small or big and take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments. This helps optimise your confidence and negate your inner heckler. Then silence your inner critical voice by turning the volume in your head down from a high to low, then amp up your inner voice of praise to loud. Try changing the tonality of your inner voice by interrupting the dialogue, change the voice you hear in your head into a cartoon character or your favourite actor or actress. Notice how changing the tone can affect your thinking patterns. (referred to as an auditory switch)
5. We all process the world differently and the power of our beliefs shape our decisions, interactions, behaviours and identify. We all have within us powerful resources and the ability to update and reset unhelpful patterns if we choose. It is important to remember the only variable we have in our control is ourselves. So, drop phrases like ‘I’m no good’ or ‘I can’t,’ or ‘I must and I should’ as this is critical language and depletes our energy, enthusiasm, motivation and optimism.
We are emotional beings and we are wired to protect ourselves, every behaviour has at its core a positive intention even if the outcome is destructive and unhelpful. Learning effective ways to manage our emotional states improves every aspect of our lives and the impact we have on others.
Please, let me know what strategies you find helpful in managing your own personal states. Stay healthy, safe and well.
Best Pip x