My computer exploded this week!
And no, I don’t mean figuratively.
It LITERALLY exploded!
Yes, I’m serious.
I was preparing for a presentation and BOOM…
The lights went out.
Sparks flew out of the wall.
I jumped about 10 feet.
And, of course, I was on a deadline.
I thought I had lost everything I was working on, and the clock was ticking. My heart raced as panic started to set in. I was in serious trouble, but I had a choice. I could panic, or I could calmly respond.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you even felt this panic yesterday when Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp shut down.
Okay… So what happened?
After my mini panic (okay, yes, I’m human!) I placed my hand over my heart, took a deep breath in the dark, and told myself everything would be okay. Everything is always working out for me. And I truly know that it is.
And actually, nothing serious happened.
I got out my iPhone flashlight, figured out how to turn the lights back on, grabbed my backup computer, and kept going.
I finished the presentation just in time, and it was a great session!
Honestly, I felt like a mini superhero.
Great story, so what’s your point?
We have the opportunity at every moment to choose whether we react with stress or respond with calm. Yes, I felt utterly panicked and wanted to crawl into a hole and scream at first, but let me ask you this.
How would feeling panicked have helped me?
I definitely would have been paralyzed. I would have broken down, been in great distress, and probably would not have been successful in finishing the presentation. I probably would have felt extreme discomfort, and in the end, I may have even have lost my job.
It doesn’t exactly sound promising, does it?
By choosing to respond calmly instead of reacting, I created a better outcome, felt better at that moment, and the icing on the cake is I may even get a new computer for free.
How to respond with calm at the moment
When we face a challenge, our fight or flight instinct kicks into high gear, creating panic and overwhelm. We become completely paralyzed. In those moments, it can be helpful to follow the steps below.
Take a moment to pause and check-in with yourself and place your hand over your heart. This small act instantly calms your parasympathetic nervous system.
Next, take a deep breath in for four counts.
Hold your breath for four counts,
Breathe out for four counts.
And hold your breath for four counts.
Practice this method until you feel more centered.
It may sound simple, but this technique, called Box Breathing, is a proven method that calms our fight or flight response and helps regulate emotions. Even the Navy Seals use this technique during life-threatening situations. And it can work for you too! If this does not calm you, check out these other 57 Tips to Ease Overwhelm.
Gain perspective on a situation by processing what’s going on. What are the facts? What is actually true?
Look at this objectively, taking a birds-eye view. If you looked at this moment from 1000 feet, what impact would this have on your life?
Affirm that everything is always working out for you, and remind yourself that this is just a tiny moment in time in the scheme of your entire life.
Try to focus on the positive.
Create a plan or strategy to move forward in either a mental or physical list.
If you need to talk it out verbally, you can call a friend or even record a voice memo to yourself.
Ask yourself, what steps do I need to take to overcome this challenge?
If that is too overwhelming, ask yourself what one action can I take next towards a solution?
Take action one step at a time. Each one step forward is one step moving in the right direction. Remember that every time you get something you don’t want, you move one step closer to what you do.
What one thing can you do to move forward?
Once you have moved out of chaos mode, reflect on what transpired.
What is the gift from all of this?
What do you have now that you did not have before because of this event?
What new skills or tools did you learn?
What new insights did this give you?
Remember, every obstacle is an opportunity.
When you follow these five steps, you will be more able to create calm amidst the chaos. Know that as you process, it is normal to cycle back through the steps. For example, you may need to check in with yourself if you feel overwhelmed while taking action, or you may need to process more after taking one step forward. Most importantly, be mindful and intentional to create a better mental state and a more successful outcome.
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I look forward to connecting!