If you know me or have been following me for a while you probably know that I’m not naturally a very super calm person. I’m someone who naturally worries and I can work myself up to a very respectable panic attack very quickly. I also have a tendency to get stuck in overthinking. Of course, one could also say that these are the stories I tell myself and therefore they become my reality. I tell myself I am someone who tends to overthink = I end up being someone who overthinks. I am working really hard on changing these stories and telling myself that I’m calm and grounded. Nevertheless, I also think it’s important to acknowledge that some of us are naturally slightly more anxious than others and we need to consciously work on not getting caught up in a spiral of anxiety and overthinking.
As you may know I’m currently practicing driving in New Zealand. I have been driving for ten years – just on the right side of the road. The first two times I drove here I was anything but calm. I was stressed and anxious, which resulted in me making several mistakes. The stress did not do anything good for my driving at all. However, the third time I was driving my boyfriend kindly suggested that I try to remain calm and take it slow.
Guess what? It worked. By slowing down, taking a few deep breaths and remaining calm my driving was a million times better. I looked to the side I was supposed to look, I look my sweet time in roundabouts, I took my time parking the car (admittedly, I still need to work on my parking skills but I doubt that has anything to do with driving on the left side of the road), and I overall just did a really great job.
This got me thinking that calm really is a superpower. When we can remain calm and slow down just a little bit, things tend to go much better than when we panic. My driving is just one example, I’ve noticed it in other areas of my life too. For instance, if I’m having a slow week or month in my business, it’s much better if I remain calm. Over time I’ve learned that there are seasons where my schedule is very full and then there are seasons where there’s much more white space. That’s just normal. I see the same thing with my parents’ business and my boyfriend’s business. That is just the reality of running your own business.
However, what I’ve noticed is that if I panic it’s almost as if I’m keeping work away, and I’m unable to enjoy a few days with more white space. If, on the other hand, I remain calm I am able to have faith that an abundance of work and money is already flowing towards me, I work on creative projects and I enjoy that I have more white space in my calendar. I read more. I go for more walks. I meet up with friends. I just enjoy that I don’t have a full schedule, knowing and trusting that soon enough schedule will be full again.
When I started doing drop backs I was SO scared and I panicked A LOT, thinking that I couldn’t possibly do this. But once I remained calm and centered it just happened (but please don’t just try drop backs at home, it’s just an example).
I truly have come to the conclusion that calm is a superpower. While I am not naturally a super calm person I can actively do things to remain calm and not allow myself to spiral out of control and feed my anxiety and overthinking. Of course, some days I’m more successful than others. In practice this looks like making sure I am breathing deeply. When we are anxious and in overthinking mode our breath tends to be more shallow so the very first thing I do is take deep, full breaths all the way into my belly. Next up, I tell myself that I am calm. I don’t tell myself that I’m anxious. I tell myself that I am calm, grounded, and present… I tell myself that I am feeling how I want to feel. And then I try NOT to feed my anxiety and overthinking. I literally tell myself to just stop.
For me personally, this also means that I’ve just decided to believe what people tell me instead of overthinking it. If my boyfriend tells me I look good when we’re going on or whatever it is, I believe it. If someone tells me they love me, I believe them. If someone says they forgive me, I believe them. I know this is easier said than done but at the end of the day it’s also a choice. You can choose whether or not you engage in the thoughts or not.
So, next time you’re finding yourself in a stressful situation where you feel anxious turn to your breath and try telling yourself that you are calm and grounded.