Keep calm and…Count to four by Catherine Ronassen

Keep calm and…??

Well, those ‘Keep Calm’ posters have been around too long now to not be annoying, ironically – but I thought the title would get your attention. Personally, my pet-peeve one was one that said ‘Keep Clam’. (I wanted to add ‘And Use spell-check’.)

But anyway… back to the topic of calm, I have 4 things which I’d like to share – a mix of things I’ve learnt from reading, and some from ‘life’ that came to me when I WASN’T feeling calm… Hope you will find at least one useful gem below!

A Tai Chi Principle – My mom recently started going to Tai Chi classes (how inspiring!), so when I saw an article about one of the principles it caught my eye. It speaks of a certain style that is to do with self-defence, and works on the basic principle of staying calm, still and grounded. The trick is not to resist an attack and strike back, but rather to move in a soft way that eventually turns the attackers aggression against themselves. I think a lot can be said about this on an energy / emotional level too. Try and stay calm in the face of an eruption. Observe it and don’t fuel it, and eventually it will burn itself out.

Deflate the situation – Stemming from the above point, if you want a laugh when you’re feeling stressed, remember this story of mine: I used to have to deal with a very unpleasant person. These dealings involved being on the receiving end of regular tirades, foul language, nastiness. This behaviour used to get me worked up and I’d either react back, or move to an emotional base which was no good. One day, during quite a spectacular call, I don’t know what happened inside me, but I said ‘Do you know, I really enjoy your style of mentorship, thank you.’ That person had nothing further to say, (maybe they were swelling with pride and ego, I don’t really know). Luckily things changed and I never had to deal with that person again, but the lesson, and the laugh here, is to deflate the situation with a positive response. You’ll feel a lot calmer. And the other person won’t know what the h*ll just happened.

Watch your cycle – yes, maybe TMI, but sometimes that’s all it is, and you just need to understand. We can’t always control how hormones make us, (as women), feel so if you are having a moment where you feel like stabbing someone while sobbing loudly into a big bowl of carbs, step back for a moment and look at your calendar. Chances are, all it is your hormones – and when you realise that, you will know that it too will pass, and then follow the last step below!

Just breathe – Breathing is by far one of those unsung heroes in any situation. I mean, if it wasn’t for it’s faithful routine, we’d be dead. But seriously, never underestimate what a set of deep breaths in and out can do for you. Physically, it will help slow the heart-rate, and distract the mind as you focus on breathing. It will also regulate the chemistry-change in your body during a bout of stress, by expelling excess CO2, and introducing more Oxygen, and just make you feel better. We already have this mechanism built in, (think about why we sigh when we are exasperated. It’s just another way our body is telling us to breathe through it). Then, a more focused breathing exercise showing up in my news-feeds a lot lately is Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, (alternate nostril breathing technique). Now, either my algorithms are telling me something, (or for good reason), people are reading and writing about the benefits more. It is said to be great for insomnia and relaxation and comes highly recommended, so give it a try!

So there we go, remember when your head or heart is racing. Just count to four, and hopefully these things will help you as much as they have helped me. Here’s to calm, grounded and warm energy for us all!