In this crazy world, I have learned lots of lessons. This has become accelerated the older I get. That is a lesson itself. People generally go one of two ways when they get older. They become more rigid, or stuck in their ways, or they realize that they ‘don’t know what they don’t know’. I am fortunate enough to fall into the latter category. The older I get, the more open and compassionate I have become. Going through challenges in life can make you hard or allow you to relate to others in a deeper and more meaningful way.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned through everything is the importance of remaining calm. Extreme emotions can be beneficial. They can give us a boost of energy when we need it. Extreme fear can heighten our senses to keep us safe. More often than not, extreme emotions are a negative. They drain us of valuable energy and deplete our immune systems. Yes, you may get a boost of adrenaline at first, but it comes with a price eventually. When we are in the whirlwind of emotion, it can cloud our judgement and we may make decisions we will regret. Things that seem like the right thing to say or do when we are angry, sad, depressed or a host of other intense emotions, can have us asking for forgiveness for years after.

The quote above is some great advice. Decisions that could affect you long-term are best not made in an extreme emotional state. Why? When you act impulsively, you are transferring control of your decisions from your logical mind, to your irrational emotions. When you are able to stay calm, it is almost like being able to look down on a situation from above. When you act emotionally, it is like looking out from inside a whirlwind. You may not have all of the information to make the best decision. Even if you do, you may not be taking it into consideration.

I am not going to be foolish enough to tell you that staying calm in the middle of an emotional decision is easy. It is not. It takes a good strategy and a lot of practice. What is a good strategy for staying calm? That varies as much as the individual. You can try deep breathing, counting to ten, picturing something that makes you laugh. Whatever works for you. There is plenty of books and research on the topic I invite you to investigate on your own. What I can tell you is that developing the ability to stay calm is worth all of the effort. Staying calm is not only a talent, it is a rare and valuable talent. It allows you to maintain control when others lose it. It saves you the stress and heartache of regret over something you said or did that you should not have. One more thing that staying calm requires is patience with yourself. This is not a talent that will come all at one. No matter how much you study and practice methods on your own, it will be a lot different when you have to put them into practice.

My advice is to invest some time and energy into developing the ability to stay calm. It will not only give you the ability to objectively approach challenges in life, but will save your relationships much of the pain you will inflict by acting emotionally. Invest time in discovering strategies for staying calm. Invest time in practicing them. Your relationships will thank you. Your stress level will thank you. Your life will thank you.

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