Stress gets the better of the best of us. People know me as a calm and relaxing guy. I spread an aura of peace around me. I practice nonjudgement. I am open minded to people that are different. I accept life and show flexibility to the unpredictability and chaos that life can invite.
While the above is true, it is also true that sometimes, the wall breaks. I squeeze my hands too tight. My speech and body language becomes jittery. I act too rashly. I become overwhelmed when there is too much on my plate. I don't think any person can ever claim to be perfectly calm. Permanent happiness and peace of mind is impossible.
We were born to experience both the highs and lows of our emotional spectrum. Instead of chase after an impossible ideal, such as the idea of perfect, constant happiness or a constant state of calm, we should seek to develop the right character.
Having character can help you manage negative emotional states better. That means, you are still going to feel stress or anxiety at times, but with the right mental frame, you are better equipped to manage these states in a healthy and constructive manner. A person with a peaceful temperament is not a person that is never upset or out of balance, but a person that will choose to act and strive towards peace even when they are experiencing anger or rage.
A person with a sanguine temperament is a person that can feel depressed or sad, just as anyone, but a person that will choose to live and act in a way that will lead to happiness and positive outcomes. Having character means having the will power and the values that something is worth striving for in life. You are not merely a leaf blowing with the wind. You are a person that can stand firm in a storm.
Perhaps at times, you feel, like me, like a ball of anxiety. Bouncing around, rolling around, unable to stop or calm your nerves. That's all right. Emotional self control is not easy. Anxiety is one of the most difficult emotions to reign in because it leads to an increased blood pressure, adrenaline, and a fight or flight response in the body. Anxiety can cause you to say things you might regret, to avoid things that need to be done, and to fight things that do not need to be fought. As a ball of stress, you want to learn to manage and understand that pattern.
How do you manage anxiety?
You'd be surprised to know most people don't even recognise anxiety in themselves. But you can learn to recognise it by observing your own body language and speech. Notice when you start talking faster, when you start looking around. See when your thoughts are starting to spiral rather than just pop or flow as they do normally.
Spot if your anxiety is causing you to tug in a certain direction. Is it causing you to avoid certain things? Is it causing you to have certain negative thoughts? Does it make you want to start up a conflict or to "poke the dragon?" Some people become more confrontational because of anxiety, and some become more avoidant. What about you?
When you know you are anxious and what your anxiety is causing you to do, make a note of it. Okay, my anxiety is trying to get me to make x decision. Then choose to pause and stop for a moment to take a breath of air. Anxiety is not a good time to start up a negative discussion with your partner, or to make a panic decision about a life goal.
After you have given yourself a pause, come back to your center and reconsider the situation again. Do you still feel the same way you did when you were anxious?