It was once thought that there were two main personality types in human beings. The A – more aggressive, ambitious type, and B – a more relaxed, less competitive, go with the flow type. This can be thought of as a Yin (B) and Yang (A) approach to personality.
A major flaw with it of course is it thinks in terms of extremes. Where’s the balance? That’s a problem here, isn’t it?
With a society becoming hungrier for consumption we’re losing balance while increasing our stress levels. What to do, what to do?
First, it’s important to understand the emotional forces at play.
When it comes to regulating your emotions, your brain tends to operate within three zones:
1) Active = for competition and other goal driven pursuits
2) Anxious = for self-preservation, alertness, and avoidance of danger
3) Calm = self-soothing, reflective, peace
It’s the last one (calm) where we spend the least amount of time.
We are taught to value calm in response to anger (Active) or Fear (Anxiety), “Will you calm down!”
That’s like thinking of the value of water primarily in response to fire.
Imagine you worked as diligently to develop your capacity for calm as you did for building your competitive skill or being ready for the potential threats that exist in the world.
Just this morning, my 13 yr old son Connor (today is his birthday by the way), stated that he’s eager to learn what to do if he’s ever in a fight.
I asked him if he was also interested in learning to avoid the fight in the first place? He hadn’t considered that.
Many misinterpret the feeling of calm as the result of putting a worry out of your mind, distracting yourself for a time. Those options are defenses, not solutions.
The calm I’m talking about is a part of the resilience that stems from a solution-focused mind. One that knows solutions exist and that a patient search for them will reveal the outcome you need.
There are those in my life who don’t understand this quality in me. They choose to FREAK OUT while I work to FIND OUT. They PANIC while I PERUSE.
By increasing your capacity for calm you don’t necessarily eliminate the active and anxious aspects of emotion, why would you want to, each serves a valuable purpose.
What you want is a balance so one doesn’t tend to take over at the expense of the others.
How do you develop more calm? Begin by making note of what calms you. I’m not talking alcohol or drugs here.
The most powerful calming forces are the ones that build your internal capacity for calm (e.g. reading, journaling, meditation), as these help temper your reactivity in intense situations.
Walks in nature, pleasure reading, hobbies are great as they take you away from the grind of everyday living. But if the anxiety returns when you’re done, they’ve served as a distraction.
I suggest scheduling time for reading, meditation. I did both before writing this message for you. You’d be surprised how able you are to make time for something you prioritize.
Don’t think you have the patience or ability to increase your calm. That’s what my Master Your Mindset program can teach you.
That’s all for now.