Many of us admire people who have the gift of remaining calm. Calm as a signature strength is the ability to respond to threats from a place of appropriate confidence. To remain “centered.”
It’s not always easy to achieve. Our bodies react to the stresses of modern life—including family caregiving—with the same fight-or-flight hormones that saved us in more physically dangerous times.
That said, you can intentionally cultivate the skills involved in remaining calm. People who are calm
- have the ability to physically relax. You might use strategies such as focused breathing. Perhaps a mindfulness practice. Or activities that release tension.
- accurately assess threats. It’s easy to overestimate the negative. Or get stuck thinking about “what ifs.” Calm individuals notice threats, yet keep them in perspective. Here’s where you want to apply a healthy dose of reality. Assess a problem situation. Yes, do look at the worst-case scenario. But remember to consider the likelihood of that extreme. Calm individuals spend most of their time focusing on the more probable outcomes in between chaos and serenity.
- observe the situation with an awareness of their strengths. Calm individuals have self-confidence. They have an accurate and balanced assessment of their personal strengths. To develop this, take an accounting of your internal gifts. Also identify the external supports you have. For instance, your finances, friends, support services.
- reduce anger. Anger clouds rational thought. It’s not that calm individuals do not get angry. They simply recognize their triggers. And they use strategies to calm themselves effectively before they blow. You might start by watching your thoughts. Avoiding judgment and fault finding in others may help you stay at ease.
As you look to become a more resilient family caregiver, you may find that cultivating the strategies of calm individuals helps keep your own journey centered.