Do you remember the calm, quiet voices from your childhood, giving gentle instructions? Maybe distressed, agitated high-pitched voices are more vivid childhood memories?
If someone screams, we rush to see what’s wrong, we don’t automatically guess they’ve just opened a magnificent parcel.
If we take a COVID test, we might assume it’s positive until the results prove negative.
People needed to notice the negative to survive in ancient times. It takes practice to remind ourselves that our lives are protected by our brick houses, fire alarms, fuel gauges and CCTV.
The childhood-family influences how we react or respond as adults. I grew up in a family who over-react to spilt water. When I follow the behaviours of my childhood role-models, I am constantly on the lookout for crisis. Soothing myself doesn’t come naturally. I work and practice daily to maintain my mellow mindset.
I’ve noticed the difference between awareness-of-the-present-moment and being on the lookout for danger. When I am aware of myself, my task, and my surroundings, I feel comfortable, calm and capable.
Suffering is inevitable because it builds STRENGTH. People who have never suffered are often insufferable. Depth of character is developed through difficult experiences.
Panic only allows us to freeze, flee or fight. It is never going to help to flee (or mentally retreat) and it hardly ever helps to fight. Freezing just condemns us to more of the life we already have.
Reactive minds mean high adrenaline, causing surges of fake urgency.
When we struggle against what is, the body fizzes with adrenaline and cortisol – everything feels critical and urgent. Stress speeds us up. We spend so much of our lives seated, so the compulsion to flee translates to speeded-up-thoughts, with the urgent-warning-light flashing unnecessarily. Plenty of speed and drama: more mistakes for fewer results.
• Will anyone die if that “urgent” task waits another day?
• Will it be finished any faster if you prioritise it over your own wellbeing?
By reacting to every distraction, every noise in the environment, our nerves & cells set to panic mode. Information is seeking us; clicking the links compounds the mind mayhem. Calmness lies in being selective about the information we pursue.
Basil Fawlty, famously declared “Manuel, eees no fire, ees only bell!” I declare the same words silently, daily. Approaching life gently, brings me comfort and security. My nerves feel settled, not stirred.
The first step to a calmer life is recognising crisis mode as it begins.
We begin with acceptance.
Panic is normal.
• Is the danger real or perceived?
• Will it matter in 5 years?
• Is the solution within my power?
• If someone else is throwing a wobbly, how will destabilising myself help? Calmness allows for clarity and focus.
Calm voice = calm life:
Start with the inner voice
You want a calm life? Get used to saying the words “It’s ok” to yourself and others. It is OK to make a drama in your head sometimes. It is not ok to create a drama in the world, in response to the one in your head – there are more healthy ways to release tension.
As our life comes to an end, will we wish we’d flipped out more frequently? Surely we’ll wish we took everything in our stride, understanding that negative experiences have positive outcomes.
A calm approach achieves an outcome of outstanding quality.
My Great Uncle, asked why he is not angry that his parents were killed in the holocaust, says he saves his anger for what happens TODAY, because he can have an impact on that.
I grew up in a household where everything was melodramatic. I now live in one where nothing is good or bad, but everything is both. I don’t get reactive; I get PROACTIVE towards my goals. That’s how this article was written in half an hour.
tags: attention; getting things done, procrastination, motivation