Finding calm in the chaos: pressing the pause button
Sitting, marvelling at the beauty of the blue sky on a sparkling, sunny day. Wondering at the bright, shining stars on a crystal clear night, gentle waves washing in and out on a white sandy beach. Or strolling slowly along a winding nature trail, the refreshing breeze blowing through your hair…
These are all ways you can press the pause button and just be. But you don’t even have to go to these places to reap their benefits – just imagining them can make you feel tranquil and at peace.
Close your eyes and give it a go. Can you feel calmness flowing through your body?
This is just one of many techniques I can use as a coach and it comes from my own life experience.
So here I share my story, to help you find calm in the chaos…
Having worked in the corporate world for 28 years I felt stressed! There were always demands on my time, people expected so much that I felt under constant pressure and totally overwhelmed. After years of this I’d become a very reactive person who often responded with frustration or anger.
Not a healthy way to be – for my mind and body, or for the people around me.
So what was going on?
My fight or flight response (also called hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) had kicked in. That’s what. The constant stress and overwhelm I was feeling triggered a physiological reaction that normally only occurs in the face of danger or threat to life.
The problem is, in today’s hectic, pressurised world, your body can overreact to stressors that are not actually life-threatening. Like work pressures, deadlines and high expectations.
My body was simply responding to these stressors and made my body prepare for fight or flight.
But prolonged periods of stress and overwhelm can be extremely damaging to your mental and physical wellbeing. Fight or flight is only meant to be a brief response that quickly subsides when danger has passed. Today, constant stressors mean it lasts much longer.
Unfortunately my body was constantly ready for action, so I had to do something about it…
While you can’t always control what life throws your way, you can choose how to react:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
So that’s what I did – chose to change my unhealthy way of being.
I found a self-help group that majored in meditation which led to mindfulness and ultimately the energy healing practice, Reiki. Within a few months of following these disciplines, I found what I refer to as my ‘Pause Button.’
It was life changing. I was no longer a reactive person, but whenever there was a stimulus, I’d press my pause button and let my mind process things. I had time to reflect and develop an appropriate response to the incident in a calm and considered way.
After much practice, my ‘positive, healthy thinking muscle’ became stronger and I went from being out of control to calm and highly effective as a manager, leader, parent, partner and sportsman.
I felt good…
Life felt good…
It was as if I’d been wrapped in a blanket of positivity.
People around me, including my line manager, began to notice the change and commented that I was a different person. People started coming to me in all areas of my life and I’d become their go-to person when they needed guidance or advice. Even when they simply wanted someone to listen.
‘Listen’ and ‘silent’ have the same letters for a reason’ – Alfred Brendel
In time, I became highly attuned to other people and skilled at listening to understand (rather than listening to respond). And what began as self-help became a desire, a passion.
I’d found my purpose.
So I created Clock and Compass Coaching to help people transform their lives. I’ve successfully found a better way simply by pressing the pause button and where I was reactive, I’m now calm. Where I was powerless, I’ve become powerful. And I’d love to help you do the same. If you’d like to find out more. get in touch
The mind is powerful. Our thoughts have a massive impact on how we feel. But remember… you always have a choice:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl