Monday, April 4, 2016

A to Z of Happiness: C - Calmness #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

Anxiety is a big sucker of happiness. It makes us lie awake at night, tossing and turning in bed, while millions of random thoughts stream through our mind. It keeps us in a mental hyper-drive throughout the day, eating away at our productivity and draining us out faster. It makes us fearful about things that will probably never happen. It steals all joy and wisdom from our present moment.

I have often looked at the Indian cricket team captain, M. S. Dhoni, with admiration. No matter what happens on the field during a match, he never has a trace of anxiety on his face. He remains as calm as the deepest part of an ocean, and that enables him to think out-of-the-box and take game-changing decisions, even in the midst of adversity.

How do we do that then? How do we maintain our inner calm when our external world is in a turmoil?

How To Remain Calm in Stressful Situations

Here are five techniques we can practice to inculcate the habit of remaining calm in stressful situations.

Regular Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins. They're the natural stress busters and mood boosters of our body. Exercise also results in deeper breathing, leading to more mindfulness. This helps in reducing feelings of anger and panic, and promoting a sense of calmness and well-being.

Enough Sleep

Good sleep is essential for beating anxiety. If we don't get proper sleep, we become more prone to stress. Even the slightest things can give us panic attacks. It becomes important, therefore, to ensure that our body gets complete rest while we sleep. Listening to soothing music helps a lot in this respect.

Cut the Caffeine

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Yes, they keep us more alert, but they also exaggerate our stress response and disturb our sleep cycle. Excessive intake of either of these makes us more prone to anxiety. We need to minimize caffeine and nicotine if we want to remain more calm and centered.

Limit Negativity

If we expose ourselves more to negative people and negative environment, we become more easily stressed out. Watching the news at night might seem necessary, but it triggers the most negative chain of thoughts in our mind. Listening to someone rant for long periods of time may seem like the right thing to do, but it can create havoc with our own mental equilibrium.

Practice Detachment

We need to focus less on the outcome of our actions and more on the act of doing our best. What will happen will happen. We have no control on it. The only thing we can control is our response. So, in order to maintain this detachment, we need to learn how to distract our mind with stuff that make us feel good. We need to keep ourselves busy with activities we enjoy doing.

Anxiety need not always be a medical disorder. And it is most certainly not a permanent life state. You are not your anxiety. Brantley and Millstine describe it as "part of the present-moment experience [...] instead of as an absolute truth or an immutable personal defect." If worrying can become a habit, so can remaining calm. Win or lose, pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, we must remain calm and at peace with our circumstances and feelings. Acknowledge everything but don't let anything take over, and you have a recipe for happiness.

Do you get anxious at the drop of a hat? Or do you remain calm even when things are falling apart all around you? How do you keep your mind at peace in stressful situations?

This is my third post for 2016 AprilAtoZ.
Link to the previous post: A to Z of Happiness: B - Believe.
What is April A to Z?
My kindle eBook on A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

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Sue Loncaric said...

Love this Chicky! I have always been quite anxious but as I have grown older I am realising that life is too short to waste time on worry - especially if it is out of our control. Looking forward to D. Sue @Sizzling60 from
Sizzling Towards Sixty

Mera Era said...

Anxiety and me are in a long term relationship. Though I have mellowed down over the years, grown a lot calmer, but more so on the outside that I don't show how jittery I am on the inside.
I loved your little list and my biggest area of concern is learning to detach, but slowly I'm getting there :D

I am with you in being in awe with Dhoni for who he is and how he stays ice cool even in times of great stress.

Loved this post :D

My Era @theerailivedin
The Era I Lived In

Pinksocks said...

You said it, perfectly. :)
Anxiety is a stalker, it will cling on to you the moment you let down your guard.

Looking forward to the other posts.
[@womod] from

Kala Ravi said...

Hey Chicky, please send me bucketfuls of that! I can't calm don, whatever I try! Maybe time to test the tricks you mention. I am in awe of those who stay calm and composed all through, Dhoni included! Cheers, KEEP CALM
@KalaRavi16 from

Vinodini Iyer said...

Guess all of us need these useful tips, Chicky. Each of us is plagued by anxiety and stress in this complicated world these days.

Leanne said...

I think this is something I've been learning over the last few years - be in the present and stop worrying about things that may never happen - it certainly helps keep my anxiety to a more manageable level :)
Leanne @ cresting the hill

Mithila Menezes said...

Detachment is something I really must try and do. Caffeine, well I'm allergic to coffee, so there's no question about that.
But how can we limit negativity when its all around?

Sunila Vig said...

Calm and peace are the most important to me I always think Chicky. Beautiful list of points and the Detachment point is so important for all of us, with people n things. Nice post:)

Rajlakshmi said...

Regular sleep is something I need badly. I admire Dhoni for his calmness on field, even while dodging question. That's something I guess you are born with :)

Visiting from A to Z Challenge
Pam's Unconventional Alliance Team
A Whimsical Medley
Twinkle Eyed Traveller

Geets said...

You know as much as we try, we can always mitigate the effect, but worrying about something,it's always there. I don't know why but damn, it's always there. It never goes. I guess it's part of human system and how brain functions. It sucks, but it's the truth.

But yeah, a good conversation with a friend or a good sleep can really do the trick, don't you think?


Tina Basu said...

Hey Chiki, I seriously need to know how to keep calm when the infant at home is going on banging his head and bumping in here and there
Tina from Twinkling Tina Cooks

Sheethal Susan Jacob said...

Perfect post for this era!!! Keep calm and be happy should be our mantra for stress free life!

Ramya Rao said...

Hi. I need a handful of it. I try to keep calm and yeah sometimes it does work out. Brilliant post.
I blog @

Srivi said...

At times I just can't stop worrying though I know nothing can be done about a situation. Hope I get out of this habit soon!

A great post with some good points esp the Detachment one!
The Piscean Me | Twitter

Aathira said...

I'm someone who suffers from anxiety and I have been trying to deal it in my own way. I try to read or do something that I love when I'm stressed. Sometimes closing your eyes and just not thinking of anything helps too. Tried meditation a few times as well

the little princess said...

Ask me about it! Anxiety had almost put me into depression last month...And these pointers are very helpful...the most important being being detached. well written.

Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

Shilpa Garg said...

Very valid pointers! Cutting the negativity, whether negative thoughts or people, helps a great deal in maintaining mental peace and calm.

Nibhz said...

This was a much needed post when by the end of Monday you are totally exhausted! This Challenge is proving to be helpful in different ways!

Nibha @ Expressions

Catherine Green said...

Thank you very much for sharing such important reminders. I used to have anxiety, back when I worked a corporate job. Gradually I learned to overcome it with the use of meditation and breathing exercises. Now I try and help my close family and friends who suffer the disorder. Some are prepared to battle it, others are still allowing it to rule their lives. It is a challenge, indeed! See you around the #AtoZChallenge.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

You offer an excellent list of means to reduce or eliminate anxiety. Cutting caffeine via coffee and chocolate wouldn't help my writing schedule, though. Walking works best for me.

Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
C is for Chili Wisconsin-style and Characters who take Control

Elizabeth Hein said...

Anxiety and I are well acquainted. Sleep and exercise are important. Detachment is what has helped me the most, though. I work very hard to keep my thoughts from spinning out and letting anxiety take over. It's an ongoing struggle, but anxiety can be dealt with.
Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

Patricia Lynne said...

I love that quote. It's so true!

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Me Otherwise said...

Hey Chicky.. Sometime back I was going through a condition of chronic anxiety disorder. What started of as a little tension intially slowly became a full fledged disorder. I would shriek and panic and yell at my kids and husband.. Thats when I decided something was wrong and I underwent a short therapy. YOu do have covered most of the points. When it comes to exercise nothing beats Yoga to keep the mind at ease. It relaxes you as well as tackles another point you had mentioned- that is removes negativity. And along with practising detachment I would lke to add that one should cultivate a hobby. It times down the mind and gets more prodictive and positive thoughts!!!!

Ls said...

Very good suggestions.. Need to follow them.

Linda said...

Thank you for this helpful post. I have been under a lot of anxiety. I think learning Calmness is going to help. Happy A2Z.

Ravyne said...

Great post! I used to suffer from severe anxiety. Mindfulness is what turned it all around. I like your other tips too! Now if I can only get that sleep thing down pat *laughs*
Best Wishes!

My A2Zs @ As the Fates Would Have It & Promptly Written
Follow Me (Ravyne) Twitter|Facebook

Dhalia said...

Calmness is what I strive for - while I lose my temper :P Thanks for the reminder :)

@mysilverstreaks from

Chicky Kadambari said...

Rightly said, Sue. There is no point in worrying about things beyond our control!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Mera Era. Progress in the right direction is what matters, right?

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh yes, Pinksocks! It sure is a stalker!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hahaha, Kala! Yeah... it can be difficult to achieve, but we must keep trying! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

True, Vinodini. It is more difficult to remain calm these days than it used to be a decade ago.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Yes Leanne! Staying focused in the present moment helps a lot!

Chicky Kadambari said...

I know, Mithila! It is all around us, isn't it?

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Sunila! Yes, detachment is crucial.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Probably, Raji, but I am sure it can be an acquired trait too.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Haha! Yes, Geets! It is sort of like a clingy ex-boyfriend. Keeps coming back, no matter how hard you try to get rid of him!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hahahaha! Tina, even I don't know the solution to that one! As my Dad says, it will only make the little one stronger! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

Perfect mantra, Sheethal! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Ramya. Things usually do get better if we try. :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh, all of us are there at some point of time, Srivi! And yes, staying detached does help. Thank you for stopping by! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

I'm one of those people too, Aathira. Reading doesn't work for me much, but yeah, doing something I enjoy helps. So does meditation or chanting or listening to music.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh, Princess! Things were that bad, huh? Hope they are better now!
It sure can be difficult to break out of the loop once we get sucked into it!

Chicky Kadambari said...

And Shilpa, at the very top of my "to-cut" list is news! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

I'm glad the article could help you in some way, Nibha! And now the weekend starts tomorrow! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh it sure is, Catherine! A huge challenge! Focusing on the breathing helps a lot in calming the mind.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Walking is brilliant, Gail. It's my favorite form of exercise!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Keeping our thoughts from spinning out. That's the crux, Elizabeth, isn't it? If you can keep them from getting out of hand in the first place, regaining your mental peace & happiness will be so much easier!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thanks Patricia! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Me Otherwise, yoga and cultivating a hobby - both very valid pointers! Thank you for sharing your story here. I'm sure it will help whoever lands on this article in the future.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thanks LS! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh yes, it will, Linda! Thank you for stopping by!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Mindfulness is a great exercise, Lori! With two AtoZs, I doubt you're going to get much sleep this month! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

You're welcome, Dhalia! :)

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