Staying Calm in a Stressed Out World

Everyone has had the day where you wake up late for work, the dog poops on the carpet, your car won’t start, you spill coffee on your shirt… and it’s not even 8am! Everyday we’re exposed to stressors. Yes you can scream “F$*%” or you can choose to be like Queen Elsa (little kid joke), to let it go.  Stress is a choice, and this is something that has taken a long time to realize.

One of the biggest benefits of my yoga practice is my ability to stay calm. It’s taught me how to breathe.  Believe it or not, in yoga class we don’t just sit cross-legged and with our palms to the sky, eyes closed, saying “Ommmmmm” “Ommmmm.”

As a more advanced practitioner, I’m pushed to try to put my head under my thigh, hold myself up with my forearms, etc. This really hurts and it’s frustrating when you don’t get it right away or at all. In yoga class, you can’t exactly scream. You have to keep your breathing going, and accept that you may not get a certain posture today or even tomorrow. Something you were able to do on Saturday might not happen again on Sunday. It’s annoying!

It took me a year to realize that in yoga class, eventually you will get into a posture you thought you’d never have. The first time I got my headstand I was ecstatic. I earned it by staying calm and believing in myself.

So… not really interested in standing on your head or putting your head behind your thigh? I promise this is going somewhere. Yoga is about breathing.  You don’t have to be a chanting- yogi to breathe. When you drop all your paperwork at the office and what you really want to say is “$h*t!”. Stop and take a deep breath. Pick up the papers and move on. Do you want to let the fact you may have to reorganize your papers a second time ruin your mood?

So your car doesn’t start this morning? Instead of panicking or crying because your beloved automobile won’t start, think, maybe I wasn’t supposed to drive today. What if you did get in the car, and you got into a bad accident? The universe works in very mysterious ways.   Stay calm, accept that it’s happened, and call a cab.

Of course, you can’t control others around you. I work with small children, and small children get upset easily. Eight year-olds don’t necessarily control their emotions that well or they just don’t listen. I breathe with them, but I have to remind myself that they’re children and hopefully they’ll learn. I never raise my voice and stay calm and collected, yet stern at times. Children respond better to a calm voice then a screaming voice.

The same goes for adults. Have you ever been yelled at for no reason? Recently I was at a friend’s home on a posh block in Miami Beach. I parked my Honda, on the public street in front of a neighbor’s house because there was no other parking. About an hour later, the neighbor came out buzzing their door, demanding I move the car, yelling at me “you always park here, you’re going there!  You’re blocking my flowers,” and so on. I smiled apologized, handed her my business card and moved my car. Yes she was confused by my Yoga business card, but honestly, no one would benefit more from a yoga class, then someone that gets that upset about a car. I could have reacted and yelled back. It was a public block, but it wasn’t worth it. I smiled, went back to enjoying my friends company, and my day went on. She probably dwelled on the annoyance of someone being parked in front of her flowers, confused by my Yoga business card.

Go to a yoga class a make and take time to yourself. Breathe when something stresses you out or annoys you. Don’t let someone else’s bad mood affect yours. And definitely, teach children how to keep calm and carry on!