Understand the Zen Approach to Staying Calm


I must confess that for a large part of my early life, I had been an anxious soul. It is difficult to describe anxiety to someone who hasn’t suffered it for such a long period. All of us get anxious but for some, it is a constant problem. Ever felt those butterflies in the stomach just before entering the hall for an examination or to give a speech? Now imagine that feeling to persist throughout the day! For me to be calm, it meant eating something sweet. This was a wrong way to calm my nerves and caused some serious weight gain problems.

How to stay calm

My analysis says that this kind of generalized anxiety is created as a result of two things. Firstly, our schedules are too rushed. Secondly, some habits mould our personalities in such a way that having a calm mind becomes difficult. However, this also has an advantage—we can achieve calmness if we try hard. Both these reasons can be overcome with a bit of effort. All of us can enjoy a calm mind if we strive for it. These days, I am a lot more relaxed. The generalized anxiety is a thing of the past. Yes, I do get anxious sometimes like other people, but I have achieved a sense of overall calmness. How did I do it? Read the following to find out how:

Accept the Craziness of Daily Routines

Reaching places in time is perhaps the biggest, most common source of hurry. When running down the stairs, through the traffic, or the waiting line in shopping malls, we are trying to get things done in a hurry. I have started to accept that delays are a part of everyday life. I have developed the habit of calling up people and letting them that I will be late by a few minutes rather than pushing through the traffic. To stay calm, you need to do away with the guilt of being a bit late. This doesn’t mean that you stop being punctual. Just don’t stress if you are a bit behind schedule. Be forthcoming in apologizing for running late. Stop cursing your fate every time someone overtakes you in a queue. This is similar to the Zen way of letting go. Missing a few minutes at the beginning of a movie isn’t as critical as enjoying the remaining show!

Learn to Unclutter Your Mind

Another common reason to feel restless is having too many idle thoughts. This was a common occurrence with me. My mind was always at work, trying to process random thoughts. However, I realized that most of these thoughts weren’t productive in any way. I was interpreting people and situations around me who didn’t even matter to me. The result was an overworked, cluttered mind. The solution lies in being connected with what you are doing presently. If you don’t have work that needs attention, indulge in something you enjoy. Anything from a gaming session to going for a walk serves the purpose. To be calm, you need to drop the habit of wasteful thinking. If you find negative thoughts wandering in your mind, try to make yourself busy. If you cannot find anything to keep yourself occupied, call-up a friend but don’t use food or sleep as the way-out.

Address Your Triggers

I did a lot of self-analysis to discover that sometimes I could panic without an identifiable reason. Just the sight of crowded lanes or too many people in the elevator were enough to wreck my peace of mind. To address this issue, I started a process of alienating triggers. The progression was slow but now, I have mastered it and the results are unbelievably good. All you need to do is make a list of things that trigger anxiousness. Anything that releases a bout of negative energy should be listed. Now, think of a small phrase that will help you overcome these scenarios. Something like, “This isn’t as bad as it looks” can do the trick. Every time, you come across anxiety-inducing scenarios, simply repeat this phrase in your mind. It is just a matter of minutes, before the uneasy feeling melts away.