How to keep calm when everything goes wrong? Truth is, we're not in control of so many aspects of our lives. Projects don’t always run smoothly, commission checks don’t always flood in. We can't control what the other people in our lives are going to do… The list in my mind of things that go wrong is long and makes it hard sometimes to stay calm. What were the important words in that sentence? I italicized them for emphasis. That’s right, “In my mind.”
Keep Calm To Manage The Fear
The biggest problem I battle? What's reality, and what are my fears surfacing? I tend to think in terms of catastrophe so I have to challenge that thinking daily. Maybe nothing went wrong this week, maybe everything went right. I’m working on a project with a colleague who wants to change a paradigm in the way we think about a certain issue. Before I started working with him, my thinking about the issue was not correct. Learning about the validity of his thinking actually did change a paradigm in my thinking. Being open to accepting that my reality is not always right allows me move on, instead of feeling ashamed. There is a lot of shame to overcome in recovery. You already knew that, right? Even after twenty years of recovery experience, I still have to work on keeping my thoughts balanced and my fears at bay. Are constant fear and shame battling just addict thinking? No way, humans are anxious. The world is scary. You don't have to be in recovery to feel unbalanced. You just have to know what to do.
What Matters Is Staying In The Keep Calm Solution
So what are top three things I do to keep calm and carry on?
- I run what I’m thinking by a sponsor, reliable friend, or professional of some kind. It always helps to get a second opinion and then I can pivot if necessary based on the advice I get.
- I get right-sized by going to recovery places and doing recovery things. Getting out of my head and into action of some kind always gives me that space to detach a little from the problem and return to it when I have more perspective and tolerance.
- I work my recovery lifestyle, not the problem. That means, I pay extra time and attention to self-care and recovery routines, like exercise/nutrition/sober friends. That’s also the time I show up to work or life and just do the next right thing. I try not to think three steps ahead and focus entirely on what I can do that day.
I know when my recovery is in a good place because I can feel it.
I feel good and life seems manageable and light. When the winds change suddenly, it can be overwhelming. Having three basic actions to take helps me to keep calm and carry on, no matter what’s going on.