Keep Calm and Carry On
COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind currently. Indeed, it’s important to take the advice of epidemiologists- especially about washing your hands. I’m sure you’ve been judicious about hand washing in the past, if you haven’t this is really the nuclear option of a reminder. Anyway, handling crises that aren’t directly in our control can be anxiety producing. During these periods it’s important to learn to mange anxiety, yours and others (to the best of your ability).
According to Wikipedia Keep Calm and Carry On
Is a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.
It’s very easy to succumb to the information overload that ignites in the infancy of a crises is staggering. Every expert (and person with an opinion) has to weigh in on the current hot topic. It’s important to be able to step back, apply what is working, and attempt to reduce the noise. Reducing your levels of stress and anxiety in a moment of adversity is the quickest way of getting past it.
The British Government was smart when they produced this “motivational poster” at the eve of World War 2. We may not have such a rallying banner in our current situation. That could change at the speed that the internet moves.
What Can I do to Calm Myself?
- Make the decision to be calm– Changing your mindset is one of the strongest ways to alter yourself. Spoiler Alert- it’s the crux of the book The Secret…. probably. When you alter your thinking, you notice more of what you’re thinking about and that reinforces your thoughts. It’s a practice so keep at it.
- Deep Breathing– Breathing deeply has a calming effect on the body. The current recommendation is 3 deep breaths when you think about it. Popular times are when you first get up, waiting for your coffee to cool down, in yoga classes. Unpopular times- when you’re furious. If you’re mad take 10.
- Take Time for Yourself– It’s very easy to get wrapped up in everything but YOU. Social media, family, reality tv, email, the nosy neighbor next door. She recommends that you take 15-30 minutes to yourself. Taking a walk is a great way to accomplish this.
- Process Your Emotions– Getting down to the root of your stress/anxiety is the best way to understand why you’re not feeling calm. Understanding where you are emotionally can help you process your feelings and point you in the direction of resolving why you’re feeling a certain way. Bottling up your feelings is sure to boil over at some point and cause more disharmony.
- Listen to Relaxing Music– A bit of a given. Music that calms you will naturally put you in a more relaxed state. If Metallica relaxes you, go for it. More of an Enya fan, give that a go too. Don’t force yourself to listen to music that isn’t relaxing to you, it’s subjective.
- Practice Gratitude– When life feels like a struggle, it’s easy to get caught up in looking at everything that is wrong. Practice gratitude. I promise you, there is always something to be grateful for. Write down 5 things every day you are grateful for – simple things like breathing, walking down the street, enjoying the fresh morning air, your morning coffee.
- Appreciate the Little Things– As you practice gratitude, you become more aware of the moments of joy sprinkled throughout your day. Laughing with a work colleague, taking your dog for a walk, sharing a look of love with your beloved, watching your kids play. As you nurture these moments of joy, they will grow, until feeling joy becomes your new normal. If something doesn’t spark joy,
- Pay Attention to Your Body– If your body is thirsty, drink; if hungry, eat; if tired, sleep/take a nap; if restless, go outside and breathe the fresh air, jog, walk, run. A relaxed body helps the mind and emotions calm down.
Bring clarity of mind is a process, very few zen masters woke up one morning that way. By consistently applying the above practices, you will invite more calm into your life.
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