During heated conversations about race relations, politics and other topics that evoke passionate responses, staying calm is a skill; a skill that everyone doesn’t have.
Being poised and balanced are characteristics that come with ease for some, but remaining calm in a tense environment is a challenge for others. Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD, creator and co-author of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life has outlined 6 steps for women wanting to keep their cool in chaos.
It sounds like a lofty goal, but by adhering to the following steps, anything is possible.
1. Get Clear About Who You Are
If you feel off balance in today’s world, you need to regain your poise, says Linda Rendleman, a journalist and cofounder of the Women Like Us Foundation. “To be authentic you need to understand your values and live by them.”
To gain clarity, make a list of single words that exemplify things that are important to you. Now write a mission statement for yourself using the three most important. Then do it again with another three words. Then do it a third time. These three statements show the core of your poise, the things you really care about.
When you become clear on who you are – and who you are NOT, “you can move through life with more grace and compassion,” Rendleman says. You can let go of anger, ignore pettiness, and live graciously and with faith.”
2. Rewrite Your Life Story
If you are continually unnerved by partisan wrangling, change the rules around you. One way to do that is to pay attention to the stories you tell – and believe – about yourself, according to M. Bridget Cook-Burch, New York Times bestselling author.
What if you became the woman who restored serenity and calm to family gatherings? “Rewrite your story to become its ‘Shero,’” says Cook-Burch. You could successfully change the conversational rules to restore peace to your household, or focus your energies to work with others on a specific bi-partisan issue in your community. We have many more things in common than divide us. Focus on those.
3. Gather Your Courage
Now that you are clear on your values and your story, you can be much more courageous in your daily life. You know what you want to change, don’t you? “Unfortunately, far too many women distrust their own vision and aim in the wrong direction,” says Courage Expert Sandra Ford Walston.
Changing the dynamic around you is not easy, but it’s also not complicated, either. What’s important in chaotic times is to keep your focus on things that matter. A meditative practice such as prayer, yoga, music or writing will let insights bubble up.
You know you have been successful “when you feel energized about your work rather than dispirited …and your interaction with people becomes more productive and generous.” When you are working in service of your deepest beliefs, it becomes less important that you are afraid, and you can create the change you want.
4. Move Forward In Faith
“When you walk with fear rather than faith, it becomes a self-limiting mindset that stops you from becoming the best you,” advises business change and systems expert Lisa Mininni. Instead, keep your eyes on the positive outcome you desire.
“Don’t obsess about how something will get done,” cautions Mininni. Keep your eyes on what you want to accomplish, for example restoring loving relationships in your family, and help others focus on that goal as well. Let it be easy and let things change.
5. Choose a Different Perspective
“Reframing your experiences can keep you from spiraling into anxiety or despair,” says strategist and consultant Kristin Andress. Notice the first signs of that sinking feeling and pause to select a new perspective.
We are put on earth to experience joy, so focus on the good. Rather than dreading the next political conversation, focus on the potential good in it. What if you practice a calm and clear statement of your core beliefs, then sandwich it between sentences about your love for the people around you and your positive view of the future? We feel empowered when we consciously exercise our personal influence and ability to create.
6. Take Care of Yourself
I know that in stressful times we must pay daily attention to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Wake up and tune in to your senses to appreciate what is around you right now.
You are not too busy to do this for yourself. Exercise helps open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the world we live in now. Preparing fresh, healthy foods for people we love reinforces loving connections. If you feel fearful, talk over your concerns and plans with women friends, then gather your courage.