Are you a calm person? What does it mean to be calm?
We tend to think about what something is in terms of what it is not. Calm to us means a lack of things: stress, anger, anxiety, worry. In this post, you’re going to be asked to think about what calm is instead.
Calm is defined as the state of being tranquil or quiet. Calm is an internal process and, like many any other state of being, creates the lens you look through at everything else in your life.
For example, if you’re in a state of worry, everything around you looks worrying. If someone talks about money, you worry about whether you have enough. If someone talks about being sick, you worry about your own health. Worry begins to take over your life.
This is why being in control of what state you are currently in is so essential to your well-being. You absolutely must be aware of your inner state, especially if you’re a high-achiever with lots of goals and ambitions. After all, you’re wrapped up in a busy, and if you’re honest about it, even chaotic life. The last thing you need is for your state of mind to reflect your inner chaos.
How do you prevent this from happening?
You start by controlling the state you’re in. You actively choose with great intentionality to deliberately practice maintaining a calm approach to all of life’s challenges. This process begins in self-awareness.
Self-awareness focuses on who you are, right here and now in this moment. This goes beyond being able to recite your name and address. Instead, self-awareness focuses on things like your personality. It touches on your goals and ambitions but also recognizes your talents and the things you desire most. Self-awareness means you know what you need at this moment and, when shown to the world, act without inhibitions to share your authentic self with those around you.
Sometimes self-awareness can be a little challenging. If you need a little help in figuring out whom you are right now, consider trying these exercises:
Being mindful of who you are in this moment can require some concentration. Meditation puts you into a relaxed state, allowing you to explore what you’re feeling right now. We’ll discuss this more in a later section, but please note that you don’t have to spend hours in meditation to get the benefits! Fifteen minutes a day will work wonders for your self-awareness!
Once you’ve found your center through meditation, take a long hard look at just who you are. Some people use a simple technique whereby they list out their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Called a SWOT analysis, this is an excellent jumping-off point toward understanding yourself.
Acknowledgment of the fact you’re human and likely to make mistakes should take some of the pressure off if you find you’re starting to focus too heavily on the negatives. Things happen. It’s okay. In fact, mistakes are all part of the process of learning. If you’re particularly bothered by a perceived failure, start asking the question ‘why’ repeatedly until you begin to see where not only things go wrong, but why you’re so bothered by them when they do. If something does turn out to be your fault, accept the responsibility, forgive, and move on.
Journaling is an excellent way to dig deep into the things going on around you and especially into your feelings about those things. Sometimes it’s easier to be more honest on a piece of paper than even in your thoughts. When writing, let the thoughts flow freely. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, or structure. Just write and enjoy the free expression of who you are.
It’s funny how the simple act of taking a walk can clear your head. If you’re having difficulty in seeing yourself, try getting out into fresh air and sunshine with a little light exercise. Try not to think about anything in particular and see where your mind goes as you walk.
Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as clearly as others do. If you have someone you feel particularly close to, whom you know you can trust to be honest, then you might want to sit down and have a heart to heart with them about whom they think you are. You might gain some interesting insights you would not have seen otherwise.
The problem with self-awareness is that sometimes it reveals to us things we don’t particularly like about ourselves. Remember these things:
We Need to See Who We Are
Without self-awareness, we can never fully understand our own state of mind. How can we direct ourselves into a calm state if we don’t know where we’re starting from or what we’re feeling and thinking right now?
We Learn Better When We’re Self Aware
Self-awareness has a way of showing us where we’re lacking, or where our thoughts have become entrenched along old pathways which no longer serve us well. It’s this awareness that guides us toward new ideas and change. We see the areas where we need work and can better focus energy where it’s most needed. This impacts our state of mind as well. When we become open to change, we’re better able to shift our state of mind to what we want it to be.
We Feel Better About Ourselves
Self-esteem is tied so closely to self-awareness. As we come to see who we really are, it’s easier to love ourselves, silencing once and for all the negative self-talk we’ve been filling our heads with for years. Having a constant stream of nasty dialogue and personal name-calling, you’re more ready for a calm state of mind.
We Need to Know What We’re Capable Of
Self-awareness teaches you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. When you learn these things, you can better leverage yourself to take advantage of the opportunity and find success (and at the same time avoid situations which might prove to be downfalls). State of mind again improves with each victory.
We Need to Know What We’re About
Self-awareness teases out dreams and ambitions which can be transferred into goals. Having purpose affects state of mind by bumping you over into the positive. There’s no feeling like knowing what you’re here for.
Now couple all of this with the power of state control.
Through self-awareness, you’ve already started changing your state. You’ve started to drop the negative thought patterns. At the very least, you understand why they’re there, so they no longer have the power over you they used to.
At the same time, you’re leveraging a more positive state. You’re focusing on what you’re good at and what you want to do in your life. You’re starting to see who you are. Better yet, you’re starting to like that person.
Here’s the cool part. Now that you’re shifting your state of mind, you’re learning just how easy it is to introduce the state you want. Take a minute and congratulate yourself. This is a powerful thing you’re doing. Great job!