The other day I experienced a low-grade anxiety attack that involved an OS X update taking a downward spiral into a series of factory resets. The stress caused by the uncertainty of the situation showed up as tightness in my chest, shortness of breath, and a pit in my stomach.
My body hit its boiling point causing me to melt into despair. I also missed my yoga class.
A few days after the computer debacle, normalcy had resumed, and I was pinning hair-inspo to bring to the salon for my upcoming appointment. While heading down the rabbit hole of summer cuts, I came across the famed phrase, Keep Calm and Carry On. It was actually a meme I saw first – Keep Calm And Eat Bacon, but it had the same impact.
As a yoga and meditation student, keeping calm is inherent in the practice. Yet on doomsday with my Mac, every bit of knowledge and experience I had gained went into the abyss (with my computer data). I was a hot, panicky mess.
Practice To Be Better
Most external situations are beyond our control. Our reaction, however, is completely under our reins. To find the calm, and carry on, is a challenge. Some situations may make it seem impossible, but just know that practice doesn’t make perfection.
Practice is making a commitment to being better than before. If you keep at it with kindness towards yourself, progress will unfold. Here are a few tips to call on when it’s time to keep calm and carry on.
1. Breathe Deeply. Meditate.
Start with a simple, deep cooling breath. Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the nose. Close the eyes and relax your mind. When you notice a thought, bring your attention back to the breath. If you can keep this up for 5 minutes, do it. You just may find yourself sitting in meditation.
2. Chant. Sing. Pray
Think of it as your mantra. Find your words, and use them to build strength and awareness around their meaning. All is well usually helps restore balance. And so does belting out the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Exercise is a huge stress reducer. It can rework stuck energy while disrupting old thought patterns. And it doesn’t have to be a 5-minute mile. Bike riding, dancing, walking and yoga can all have the grounding effect that instills calmness.
The most important thing is to create space between yourself and the icky situation. So whether that means physically moving to a different location, or mentally shifting perspective – try not to let it overwhelm you.
And if you do find yourself immersed in the bad news, remember there will always be another opportunity to practice keeping the calm and carrying on.