1:50 AM
We’ve all been in situations where all eyes are on us and we’re under severe pressure. You might have felt like an action hero(ine)…which wire should you cut? Which door should you open? Of course most situations aren’t life or death or nearly as dramatic as this – although we often make everyday crises out to be worse than they really are. Here are a few tips on how to stay calm and keep your composure in everyday situations and even the more monumental events like important interviews and family emergencies.

The following tips will give you more control over the situation. And when you can’t control the situation, you will at least have full control over yourself) and you will increase your self-confidence so that future stressful situations will be easier to handle.

1. Meditate. Keep your cool when the pressure mounts by using the many self-improvement skills learned in meditation:
a quiet mind is able to focus on the solution instead of the problem
mastery of your thoughts, words and actions leads to better decision-making and problem-solving.

A daily meditation practice will help you remove many of the causes of stress. How? Did you know that stress is a choice that you make, even if it’s usually unconscious? In other words, you are making a choice to allow a situation to stress you out!
Meditation teaches you to identify and remove the thoughts that cause stress, and choose thoughts based on a positive outcome; it helps you see things from a different perspective; it helps you control your words and actions… and create a calm, centered mental environment that is less easily swayed by outside events.
Take care of your stress and you'll be calmer.

2. Identify the real cause of your stress. It might not be the immediate event but an underlying worry that has you unfocused and therefore vulnerable to negative surprises. For example, if you’re lost in thought about a relationship problem and you are cut off by someone in traffic, you might think that it’s traffic that is causing stress. Awareness of what’s going on in your head will help you deal with the underlying issues so you aren’t already on edge when the unexpected happens.

3. Choose your response. Using the self-mastery skills you acquire in meditation, it’s easier to take a step back, evaluate the situation and respond instead of react. You always have a choice in how you respond and in how you allow something to affect you emotionally.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to this: you are either allowing something/someone to exert power over you by making you stressed, OR you take back your power and choose a response that feels good to you, based on how you will feel afterward. Does yelling and rudely gesturing at the idiot driver going to make you feel better – or will you feel better if you send him/her a silent blessing instead? These acts of grace, or taking the high road, will help you stay calm.
Choosing your response means looking at the big picture too. If it’s your wedding day and it’s pouring rain, you may be disappointed – but does the rain have to RUIN the wedding? Of course not. You can choose to see the rain as a sign of future blessings of abundance and you can choose to create a more intimate atmosphere by bringing everyone indoors…

The choice you make to feel good and make the best of a situation begins in exactly the same place as the choice you make to feel stressed and upset: in your imagination.

What’s to stop you from imagining a happy scenario over an unhappy one? Choice!

4. Take action. Nothing calms a stressful mind faster than action. If you have time, make a plan. If you have to act immediately, just do it. Dive in and let the action be your focus.

5. Prepare. If your stress is due to lack of preparation (such as college exams, performances, etc.) then save yourself a lot of grief and do your homework and background work. Plan ahead and prepare yourself as best you can.
Action creates focus and calm.

6. Breathe it out. Exhale your problems and worries and inhale solutions and happier scenarios. This is a good exercise to do while meditating to your favorite Omharmonics track, and you can use it in the stressful situation itself. Inhale what you want, exhale what you don’t want.

7. Visualize. Imagination is incredibly powerful – it will either cause you to see the worst, or see the best. But who controls your imagination? You do! Learn to be solution-oriented rather than problem-oriented and your whole outlook will change.

8. Use your fight-or-flight instinct to your benefit. Get some exercise. Go for a walk or a run. Get that nervous energy out of your system. Getting away from your stress gives you a chance to regroup and put things into perspective. If you have to deal with the situation immediately then put that adrenaline to constructive use by taking immediate action that is rational and solution-oriented, not reactionary.

9. Don’t take things so seriously. Treat everything as a learning experience. When you were a kid, everything was new and unknown and you approached life from a perspective of eagerness and enthusiasm. Don’t let adult responsibilities drag you down into the muck of seriousness and being too grown-up. Smile more, play more, and have fun with life. It’s not as serious as you make it out to be.
Tune in to calm people around you.

10. Tune in to calm people around you. Are they ALL panicking, or is there one who remains calm and serene? Tune into that person. If he or she isn’t freaking out, why should you?

11. Focus on helping others. People report finding remarkable and unknown stores of courage and calm when they take the leadership role and put all of their focus on helping others. You just don’t have time to be afraid or stressed when you’re helping someone else.

Keeping calm in a stressful situation means developing mental and emotional self-control and choosing a better response. It all starts with meditation!

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