This is the fifth of my 7 core principles when facing challenges in retirement.
How do you feel calm when you are being stretched, sometimes over stretched? To me it begins with slowing your whole body down. Studies of the human body show your body has physiological changes when you are experiencing stress. Some stress is good for us but when we are stretched to our limits and for extended periods our body begins to suffer. Instinctively we reached for the least helpful methods of calming ourselves down to manage the stress. i.e., we light up a cigarette, pour ourselves a stiff drink or raid the pantry for sugary treats to make us feel better. Long term these are not the best way to stay calm.
Instead try taking a long slow deep breath, then another and another. Imagine your lungs are two balloons and as you gently breathe in through your nose you are filling the two balloons with fresh air. Gradually exhale through parted lips and push out the last of the breath using your diaphragm. Continue taking deep breathes and begin to sip a glass of water. These actions take oxygen to the control centre of your body, your brain. Oxygenate the brain and you will have an increased ability to think clearly.
Now that you have calmed down think back to when you have faced a significant challenge in your life. What was it about you and your experience that allowed you to address the challenge effectively? Acknowledge both the positive and the negative abilities you engaged at the time. Actively interact with the current challenge. You may wish to express your dilemma by writing about it, drawing about it, playing music that matches your feelings about it or creating a physical movement. Give yourself permission to endure this challenge and emerge fundamentally and forever changed. As Richard Paul Evans wrote,
“Life’s gifts usually come wrapped in adversity.”