The first step in the 5 C’s is to Catch ourselves….our thoughts, our words, our attitudes and behaviours.
Following up from the first ‘C’ in this series, we want to ask “How did ‘catching’ go”? Did you notice feeling irritated? Did you use a sharp tongue and/or lose your temper? Or did you notice that, when these feelings started, you recognized the need for “self-regulation” and responded with the ABC (Awareness Based Calming) techniques you have been practising or by counting to 10 the way Grandma taught you? Good catch if you claimed a bit of space, took a breath, held steady and pulled your act together! Whether you believe it or not, Mindfulness is growing.
We have been in this “new way” of juggling work, kid’s school, and limited recreation for weeks now. Stress may be building in yourself and others. You may have noticed that when tensions begin to rise it isn’t enough to tell everyone (including yourself) to “just calm down”! Peter Marks, in his book Conscious Care and Support, says staying calm and not allowing oneself to become stressed “… is a learned skill and must be taught”. The practise of mindfulness is now a well-recognized antidote for stress and anxiety.
Learning something new is usually awkward at first and if we want to grow our skills we need to practice. So if you are still slipping, keep hope and have faith; you will get better at this. You may need to give some extra focus to this practise. A woman in NFLD wanted to be more patient with her children and when asked what she could call on to help, she said ‘determination’. She said she was determined to be more patient! She also said practising flexibility, acceptance, and friendliness, would help; but determination was her anchor. To find out more about what might assist you on your journey to mindfulness, visit https://www.virtuesmatter.com/app
All of this “catching” and “calming” practise is well worth the effort. It will help you avoid burn-out, freak-out, tuning-out, and/or spacing-out.
Have you ever heard of ‘neuron-mirroring’, where your present state of mind actually influences and can be measured in another person’s brain? Exciting science is emerging showing how ‘Calm begets Calm’ and how your stress can increase another persons feeling of unrest and agitation.
Paying attention, catching ourselves, taking a deep breathe, starting our Awareness Based Calming (ABCs) practise, or calling on one of our virtues will activate the part of the brain that can override the initial negative feelings to react and push back against out-bursts, anger, and other negative reactions.
Remember ‘Calm begets Calm’. Developing the feeling of calm within oneself can be the exact strategy needed to calm others. Another invisible wonder!
When we remain fully in the moment, are able to understand what is going on within us and around us we can model CALM healthy relationships enabling us to approach the 3rd C where we can think clearly and “Clarify and Choose”.
Take charge – we are all being called to do so many things, in so many different ways. Now is the time to work at becoming that person we truly want to be - others will thank you for it!
Did you miss the first C, "Catching" in the 5 C's Series? Read it here.