Staying Calm; The True Secret

As human beings, we are bound to be subjected by stress at some point or the other. Numerous experiments have been conducted to figure how to overcome this chemical reaction in our bodies and pre-emptive antidotes have been widely published with the aim of aiding the sufferer through this sometime debilitating emotion.

I would like to honestly attest that I am one of those people that really lack the tact of dealing with stress. To give you a more recent example. A few months ago I acquired a property and having done so on an tight budget, I found myself with not enough left to renovate the property to the state I deemed liveable.

So I took it upon myself to do all the renovations, even with little or no skill in some of the handy work. I told myself, hey, in the times we live in, Google and youtube are your friends. And boy was I out of my depth. After that strategy didn’t pan out as planned, I thought maybe I can do this process of renovation slowly, which means, I will compile a project plan of sorts; create a budget and execute what my budget allows. Well, you guessed it, this is when all hell broke loose. I found myself superseding the budget each month with the anticipation of completing this property that I really felt I need to move into.

My mind became clouded every-time I had to approve spend. This stressful anticipation of completing the job made me a bad negotiator with contractors, suppliers, you name it. I found myself in this constant state of desperation to get the work done as I REALLY needed to move into this house. Well, with the original time-line of 3 months, to completion, I am now getting close to six months and based on my reconciliation, not much has moved forward.

Desperate, over stressed and deciding that I need to do some introspection, I decided to consult, Yep you guess it, my old friend and confidant, Google. That is when I found an interesting talk given by a Neuroscientist named Daniel Levitin at TED Talks called  “How To Stay Calm When You  Know You’ll Be Stressed”. I decided I needed to get to the bottom of my recent spate of irrationality and overwhelming stress and boy this really gave me a clearer perspective to why what has happened took place and what I can do to mitigate it from continuing.

First, I learnt that the brain and crazy wonderful organ and during a stressful situation, it releases a chemical called cortisol which clouds judgement and leaves us unable to perform at our best. To counter this natural process, these neuroscientists have developed a method called “Prospective hindsight”, which is a technique developed to help in planning ahead and foreseeing anything that can  go wrong before it goes wrong, which ultimately will aid in being calm during stressful times. The technique intends to assist you to do a pre-mortem (before) of any situation so as to avoid only learning at the postmortem (after) of events.

Check out the video below and share with us your comments and do take it to twitter for further discussion.


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  1. Brenden

    You guys are amazing

  2. Sonman

    Boy, lord knows how much I needed this article. I find myself in a corner. Indeed I will stay calm

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