Noodle on This: Keep Calm and Carry On
In 1939, the British government published this poster as the world rushed toward war. Its purpose was to build morale and more than two million posters were printed. But, it was rarely displayed during World War II. In 2000, a British bookseller, Stanley Manley of Alnwick, Northumberland, England, found a copy of the poster stuffed in an old book. He framed it; displayed it in his bookstore and the customers loved it. So, Manley and his wife made copies, sold them and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now we see a variety of Keep Calm posters: Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate, Keep Calm Because You are Awesome. I saw one in a hospital: Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands. Regardless of the total message, the important part in all of them is to Keep Calm.
A calm person is free from agitation, and disturbance. Calm people experience peace and serenity. They have mental focus that allows them to think clearly and make wise decisions. In addition they are more able to experience joy and pleasure. Psychologist Travis Bradberry, PhD, reports that calm people:
- Don’t ask what if, say if only, or talk about how life was better in the past. In other words, they live in the moment.
- Are grateful for what they have.
- Disconnect from their electronic devices for a while everyday for some uninterrupted quiet time.
- Take care of themselves by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and managing their stress.
- Check their perspective in stressful situations by asking questions or for feedback.
- Stay positive and do not beat themselves up or engage in negative self-talk.
- Manage their caffeine intake because it triggers the body’s production of adrenaline, which increases stress.
- Use their support system, asking for help when they need it whether it is coaching, a new perspective or help getting work done.
In addition, calm people understand that everyone is different and cut them some slack, by giving them the benefit of the doubt. They also try to find the middle ground and respond in ways that are appropriate for the situation.
Benefits of Being Calm
People who work on developing and maintaining their calm tend to sleep better; are more social, productive and creative. They are more able and willing to express their gratitude; show compassion; and are more open to new experiences.
Being calm does not mean that you never lose your temper or get anxious. According to Michelle Carlstrom, Director of the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at Johns Hopkins University, calm people are able to identify and manage their stress in positive ways. They identify what is causing their stress and have developed way to help them deal with it, such as pausing and counting to 10. According to the Dalai Llama, Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.
Calm in Practice
Helen is the manager of a diagnostic laboratory in a large metropolitan hospital where they are busy 24/7. She and her team started using the phrase pause for the cause in stressful situations. According to the Urban Dictionary, pause for the cause means take a break to smoke marijuana. But, that is definitely not what Helen and her team had in mind. For them, pause for the cause is code for take a moment to think things through and ask yourself some questions:
- How important is this?
- Do I need to deal with it now?
- Is it really a problem or just my perception?
- What am I feeling at this moment?
- Did I do something to provoke this situation?
- What is my responsibility in this situation?
- What steps can I take?
Your Noodle Challenge…
Logical pauses serve our brains, psychological pauses serve our feelings. ~ Konstantin Stanislavski
Think about a recent stressful situation where calm was required to resolve it. Which of the following actions did you take to stay calm? Did you:
- Take a deep breath or two or three to slow yourself down and think?
- Ask questions to better understand the situation?
- Refrain from negative but silent self-talk (negative thoughts)?
- Stay positive?
- Respond in a way that was appropriate to the situation?
- Try to find the middle ground?
- Take time to pause for the cause?
Then, select two of the questions that Helen’s team developed and create a plan for using those question in situations where calm is required. Share you insights with us in the Comments section below.
Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart. ~ Isiah 7:4
Riddle Me This…
Q: Can a kangaroo jump higher than the Empire State Building?
A: Of course! The Empire State Building can’t jump!
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm … make a plan and then act!
- Keep Calm Poster: Keep Calm and Carry On, Ltd.
- Hospital Laboratory: USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
- Rocks in Rushing Water: DURESS