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.
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.
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.
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.
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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