On this blog, I always strive to be authentic and positive. One of my keys to remaining positive is to continue doing the emotional work that will allow me to live my best life. Without doing this work, I would be stuck in the often-frustrating daily experience, and different situations could negatively impact my mood and perspective.
A crucial part of my self-care is the conscious cultivation of calm (if you can’t tell, I love alliteration). Calm is more than a feeling for me: it’s the state where I am most secure and clearheaded. I function best in calm, and for that reason, it behooves me to continue to cultivate it on a daily basis.
You, too, can cultivate calm regularly. All it takes is some inner and outer work. The first part of cultivating calm involves becoming aware of triggers and spotting the patterns. Once those triggers and patterns are identified, you can successfully develop tools to manage the stress and promote your peace. Here are some of the steps I’ve used for the first part of cultivating my calm (you can read about the second part of cultivating calm in a future post).
-Take note of when you feel anxious or agitated. You may have a physical reaction to aggravation (tense shoulders, jaw clenching, headaches, etc.,) or perhaps the aggravation shows up in your behavior (silence/lack of communication, aggressive interactions with others, violent outbursts, etc.). You don’t need to try to change the behavior immediately, just note it and stop yourself if you feel that you’re about to do something dangerous to yourself or others.
-Keep a journal to log your anxious or agitated moments for about one or two weeks. This will help you vent safely and can take a lot of the “fire” out of an aggravating incident. Jot down as many details as you can: time of day, what you were doing prior to feeling aggravated, the event that triggered the aggravation, how you responded, and what you feel as you write about it. Lots of details are key for the next step, so really take the time to write it all down. It helps to write in the red hot moment, as this usually means you’ll capture the detail in all it’s emotionally-triggering glory.
-Look for patterns: does your irritation come after interacting with certain people? Does it come from the tasks expected from you on the job? Were you hungry? Were you sleepy? Look for any commonalities between those frustrating moments. Once you start seeing a consistent trigger appear, then you know you’ve found a pattern and you can set out to manage that trigger more effectively.
If you need more help with this, there are countless online guides for helping you identify triggers and patterns. Also, I’m a big fan of using professional help to assist with managing things that feel overwhelming or beyond your control.
Look out for the next “Cultivating Calm” post coming soon!