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How to Keep Calm and Carry On

by Amy McGrath September 15, 2014

The other night, my daughter wanted to play a game after dinner. We started a game of Pictureka, looking for key objects in the drawings. I was doing terribly. I couldn’t concentrate. My mind was consumed with a call I needed to prepare for the following day. I wasn’t sure that I was going to have enough time to get my work done after I put Lily to bed. Instead of enjoying the game, I tried to finish things up as quickly as possible.

As soon as the game ended, I put my daughter to bed. I went through the typical routine – stories, hugs and kisses, and a lullaby. I created a serene environment for my daughter to fall asleep in … and then I quickly slipped out the door, leaving the peace behind. I rushed downstairs to get to work.

I set the scene for my daughter to be calm, which enabled her to be successful at school the next day. I didn’t do that for me, though. I didn’t take advantage of the calm. I didn’t enjoy the game. I didn’t get engrossed in the picture book. I didn’t throw my heart and soul into singing that lullaby. I chose my frenzy – which also meant that it took me twice as long to finish my work. I sat at my computer in a daze for a good five minutes before I could begin – and even then my mind was scattered.

It’s actually pretty common to choose anxiety over peace. We do it all the time. We freak out as we sit in traffic because we’re going to be late. We stress out about paying the bills even though we’ve always taken care of them in the past. We create insane schedules for ourselves that stretch us to the limit. We sit anxiously near our smart phones waiting for important news instead of enjoying our breaks.

It’s crucial to choose to create peace. You can surround yourself with the most peaceful things in the world, but they won’t make you peaceful. Peace won’t scream at you to let you know that it’s in the room. It won’t latch onto your ankle, begging you to take it with you. You have to embrace peacefulness, rather than allow for an environment of stress, anxiety and overwhelm.

When we have peace, we can move on with our work. It’s only after we are calm that we can have a positive impact. Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, take some time to calm down first. Listen to music, read a book, go for a walk, journal… just breathe. Choose peace and then attack your challenge. That way you’ll be set up to succeed.

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