Staying calm when life rocks your boat.
90% of illnesses are caused by stress. When life throws you a curve ball, do you know how to stay calm?
Below are 7 keys to staying calm.
1. Learn How Your System Works
We are not our thoughts. We are the space within which thoughts arise.
It’s how the system works, whether your understand it or not. So, if someone says something to you that seems offensive, they are speaking from their negative thoughts — it has nothing to do with you. Their insecure thinking is creating their behavior.
This seems a bit strange and it is quite different from how you’ve been trained to relate to your personal thinking. Years in school honing your intellect, competing for grades, and proving how smart you are has led you to believe that you are your brain.
You are not your brain. Your brain is like a computer — it can compute — but it can only work with what you put into it. Crap in. Crap out. If you have a sad thought, you will feel sad. An angry thought, you feel angry. An insecure thought, you feel insecure. An anxious thought, you feel anxious.
We are all living in the experience our thoughts, and they aren’t personal.1.
2. Nothing is Ever Personal. Ever.
Society conditions us to take things personally. And nothing is ever personal. It is never about you.
People say and do things because they are reacting to their negative, habitual thinking. It is not personal. Everyone has their own version of reality and it is determined by their level of consciousness and their relationship to their thoughts. There are 7.5 billion versions of reality overlapping.
3. Don’t Let Your Lizard Brain Take Over
Most of our thinking is habitual. As we go through life, we form habitual thought patterns. If you are not awake to them, they will rule us. It’s like you have an ipod in your brain streaming negative interpretations of yourself, your life, and the world.
You just need to pause. Do not let your lizard brain take over.
This isn’t another technique, it is an invitation for you to exercise your free will. Free will is the power to choose which thoughts we give life to. It’s not count to 5 or 17 and then act. It’s noticing that your thoughts are arising in the space that is you and only you can choose which ones to let pass and which ones to attach onto.
4. Notice what you are feeling
Just notice. Notice what you are feeling. Is it anxious, upset, angry, sad, depressed, scared, worried? This will tell you if your thinking has gone south.
Your feelings are not real, they are just your inner guidance system telling you that you started taking negative thinking seriously.
Reframe your emotion from “I am upset.” to “I am feeling upset.” Whatever the emotion may be. This puts some distance between who you are (innate well being and peace) and emotions that pass like clouds through the sky if you let them.
The upset you are feeling is not coming from the outside world — a person or an event — it is coming from your interpretation of the event.
No, way, Caprice, you think. My boss yelled at me. A woman cut me off in traffic. My friend didn’t invite me to her party. You would be upset too.
If you believe that the woman cut you off because she is a total jerk and in a hurry for no reason, you might get upset. If you notice she is very pregnant and might be rushing to the hospital to give birth, you might feel compassion.
Can you see how your feelings are tied to your thinking about a situation? They are not tied to the situation. The situation is really neutral until we use our mental filters to make meaning of it.
5. Own Your Own Thoughts
The key is to create a different relationship with your thinking than society has trained you to have.
Own your thoughts. And understand that you are not your thoughts.
Your thoughts are the only problems in your life. Something is a problem in your life if you think it is. You could also look at it as a growth opportunity.
Don’t look outside of yourself for an explanation for how you are feeling. Your interpretation of events is creating your feeling.
6. Don’t analyze your thinking.
If you do get hooked, just notice it. If you feel a physical reaction to something, like you got punched in the gut, or a feeling of panic, or a weight falling on your shoulders, you’ve gotten hooked. Hooked by your own faulty interpretation of an event.
You get stuck in the feeling when you analyze your thinking or try to figure out you we feel a certain way. Notice that you feel anxious, worried, scared, angry, sad, hopeless, ____________. And just let it be. It will pass.
And when you think “I should feel differently.” you then have two layers of negative thinking weighing you down.
A coaching client of mine said, “Oh, it’s like giving credit to thoughts that don’t deserve it.” Exactly!
7. Wait for a fresh thought to come along.
You don’t need anything to change. We mistakenly believe that something in the outside world needs to change for us to feel better. A situation needs to change. A person needs to apologize. I need a different job/boss/house/partner.
Nothing needs to change in the outside world for you to feel better.
Just pause. A fresh, more positive thought will occur to you. It will. You are not your thoughts. You are the space within which thoughts arise. You don’t need to control, analyze, replace, or take seriously your thoughts.
Bonus: Appreciate the Magic!
This approach may take some practice, or it might not. Either way, don’t judge yourself.
Play with this yourself.
Give yourself permission to stop taking your thoughts so seriously. Discover the power in the pause. And when you get hooked, that’s okay too. You’re just one thought away from feeling better.
Caprice Thorsen guides people to live free from anxiety, depression, loneliness and self-doubt, especially after traumatic events. Caprice is a Health Realization Coach and pioneer of self-directed learning and living.
Originally published at https://capricethorsen.com on September 25, 2019.