How do you stay calm, sane and focused when everything around you is in a state of flux? Here are 7 tips to help you keep a cool head.
- Breathe– Yes breathe. The act of breathing slowly and deeply helps to relax your body, but also slows down your thinking. Thinking fewer thoughts gives your mind the space it needs to find clarity and calm.
- Traffic control – That is, traffic control of your mind. Get into the habit of taking mental breaks for a minute or so, to notice the world around you. This will make you aware of and help you put a stop to the stream of thoughts in your head. It helps to focus on a mental image you associate with peace and calm, or to play some music that soothes you when you take these breaks. The best practice, however, is simply to look around and observe life around you – without thinking! This practice, if used frequently and consciously, will help you develop an ability to stay present and centered.
- Self-reflect– Make time to reflect on the experiences of your day. What insights can you draw, what can you appreciate, and where could you realign your behavior with your values? Self-reflection allows time to process what has happened and to consider where you could improve as a person. The process of self-reflection will help you to stay focused on what matters most.
- Focus– In chaotic situations, other people’s urgencies and agendas can hijack us. We take on those urgencies as our own, and so our own sense of peace becomes disturbed. It is important to remember your own priorities, beliefs and values. Consider other people’s perspective, understand their fears, and be sympathetic to their situation, but never at the expense of your own sanity.
- Stay centered– A tendency most of us share is to feel responsible for fixing any chaotic situation we find ourselves in, by becoming a part of it. But chaos can never be fixed if you’re a part of it. Chaos can only be fixed if you remain centered and calm, and hold onto your inner peace, which will allow you to reorder the energy of chaos into energy of balance. If you are internally balanced, you will be able to see things from a bird’s eye view and, when solutions present themselves, you will be able to act on them. The alternative is to become emotionally tangled in the situation, in which case finding solutions will be difficult and acting on them nearly impossible.
- Be flexible– The rigid oak crashes in the storm, but the flexible bamboo survives. Don’t be too fixated on your ideas or preferences. Be flexible. This will allow you to invite newness into the situation, which can lead to something better than what you had planned. So be open to diversity and new perspectives – don’t lose your principles, but understand that there are many ways to be in the world.
- Hold onto your sense of humor– Laughter really is the best medicine. Don’t take things too seriously and try, always, to look on the light side of things. Do not view your responsibilities as a burden, but rather as an opportunity to serve with love. Learn to look at life with the innocence of a child and respond with the wisdom of a master. Call it an art or call it a challenge – but ultimately, it is about experiencing the best of what the moment has to offer, and letting go of the worst.