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Learning to be serene: 7 + 15 tips for more inner peace
There are many reasons to get rid of your skin. In private and at work. However, with unpleasant consequences: Instead of serenity, you suffer from tension, confusion, loss of control and frustration. Letting off steam may bring short-term relief - but it is better not to let the anger boil up in the first place. Or in short: to be more relaxed. This is exactly what many find difficult: Instead of calmness and imperturbability, there is excitement, rage and fits of anger. But it doesn't have to be. Here we show you how you can become calmer, keep calm and even train inner serenity ...
➠ Content: This is what awaits you
➠ Content: This is what awaits you
The key to serenity
Serenity is a “state of sovereignty and freedom from fear”, writes Elke Nürnberger in her book “Gelassenheit towards Learning”. Serenity is characterized by the fact that calm and order prevail in the head, one accepts the unchangeable and deals with it appropriately. People who have mastered this are not so easily disturbed, hardly panic and certainly not get upset about little things. Rather, their serenity gives them inner security so that they can deal with problems confidently and relaxed. It is the attitude and ability to deal with difficult situations and not lose your temper.
With more serenity, we regain control and the ability to act. Instead of blind anger, powerlessness and exploding emotions, one can react impartially and appropriately. The prerequisite for this, however, is to recognize one's own power to solve the situation. “The more opportunities we seize, the more level-headed we remain - and the more relaxed we approach things, the more freedom we have,” writes Nürnberger.
What's in the way of your serenity?
The most common causes of possible freaking out are border crossings. Someone is attacking you personally, invading your privacy, trampling your values. They feel unjustly treated, exploited, betrayed - raped on a psychological level. They are things that we CANNOT influence. They happen first and cannot be changed. What happens now is somewhat reminiscent of a Pavlovian dog: We react - rashly, automatically, reflexively ...
Before we think about it, we get upset. No chance for serenity. The first impulse was enough. It doesn't matter whether you were provoked intentionally or unintentionally. This is the wrong approach anyway: you weren't just provoked - you allowed yourself to be provoked. It is your attitude and your decision. You cannot blame anyone else for your serenity. The most common cause of a lack of composure is therefore a wrong mentality.
In addition to the direct triggers in the form of external attacks, there are a few other factors that can be a thorn in the side of your serenity and ensure that all good resolutions for more inner calm are immediately thrown overboard. A common problem: serenity is the exception. Most people are constantly electrified, get excited, debate, talk themselves into a rage, let themselves be pissed off and also freak out every now and then. Constant tension is normal, especially at work, and is sometimes even expected. It is difficult to be calm.
There are also other aspects that make it difficult for us to remain calm:
- Sense of belonging
As strange as it sounds, banding together to get upset about something creates a group feeling. The same enemy image welds together and gives a sense of belonging that many people strive for. Those who talk about annoying customers or the incompetent boss with their colleagues feel connected to the group, while those who see the situation calmly tend to become an outsider.
- Old and bad habits
Excitement, nervousness and also anger or anger can become a habit. Over time, you have internalized these reactions to certain situations and then play them back automatically, without really being aware of them. Such behavior patterns cannot be easily broken up again in a short period of time, which makes it even more difficult to practice serenity if one has been quick-tempered for years.
Practice serenity? It doesn't work anyway, especially not in my job ... Too much stress, too many tasks, too annoying people, too little time. How should one be left there? Anyone who thinks this way fails before he has even really started. Staying calm is difficult, but you need to give the new attitude a real chance. Otherwise you will cook with anger again at the next opportunity.
Serenity is the better and more positive way, but the opposite is the easy way out of a situation. Getting upset, getting loud, blaming others, letting every emotion run free immediately and being pissed off about every little thing is easy, requires no control and sometimes just feels good. Serenity, on the other hand, requires rethinking, self-control and the necessary self-confidence to be able to deal with any situation without freaking out.
How do you get more serenity?
You have already taken the first step on the way to more serenity: You know the problem and become more aware of the processes. You don't have to react anymore, you can decide. The disillusionment: That alone does not automatically make you a more relaxed person. The trick is to call up knowledge in an acute situation. After all, true serenity does not show itself in a relaxed atmosphere, but in difficult situations.
The good news: It is possible and can even be learned. Unfortunately, it's a difficult path that you shouldn't expect instant successes to take. The following exercise tips will help you not to hit the ceiling, but to stay calm:
Check your perception. What exactly happened? Is it really so bad? But above all: what are the real consequences and what are only imaginary ones? Often we lose our composure because we exaggerate.
Make a decision. Even if someone deliberately provokes or attacks you, how you react is always up to you. Remember: the choice is yours whether to stay calm or get out of your skin. Take a moment to avoid acting impulsively.
Control your language. Do you like to talk about “mega-problems”, “catastrophic numbers”, “terrible disasters”, “brutal forecasts”, “insane developments”, the “total meltdown”? Language alone makes serenity difficult. Disaster speakers are usually also disaster thinkers.
Find a balance. It is easier to be calm when you escape the constant stress and seek a balance to the constant tension. Do sports, enjoy time with friends, pursue your hobbies. Anything that is fun and good for you helps you see things more calmly.
Say no. Everything becomes too much for you, you feel overwhelmed - then you say no. Knowing and maintaining your own limits is an important prerequisite for dealing more calmly with reactions.
Set priorities. Determine what is important and urgent. Not only for tasks and to-dos, but also for people and situations. Most of the things that upset us are nowhere near as important or bad. Don't let such little things take control of your composure.
Pull the emergency brake. In psychology, this is called the “exit strategy”: Before you lose your composure, withdraw from the situation. This is a good strategy, especially in the case of impending escalations. This method helps to remain calm and to defuse dangerous situations. It also protects relationships from words and remarks that may later be regretted.
In addition, we have put together 15 other exercises and tips with which you can practice and train your serenity. For better orientation we have sorted them into three categories. This is how you can choose the measure that suits your situation:
You are in an acute situation and notice that the collar is about to burst. These measures can immediately help you feel more relaxed:
When the blood boils, take a deep breath and count to ten. In some cases up to 50. To do this, sit or stand upright with your shoulders straight. Now try only to breathe through your nose into your stomach - without lifting your chest. Deep breaths calm you down immediately. The trigger is not yet under control - but you avoid short-circuit actions and freaking out.
Preferably a glass of water. This simple trick will ensure that you literally wash away your anger and that your nerves will soon calm down. In addition, you create an immediate distance to the situation that is currently upsetting you. With this trick you increase the distance and can react calmly and calmly.
When you feel the anger build up, step aside and ask yourself what is pissing you off. Ultimately, the anger begins within you, the environment is only the trigger. The distance sharpens the view of the big picture. By consciously bringing the hurt you experienced to the level it deserves, you are also bringing your resentment back to normal.
- remain silent
The point cannot be emphasized enough: as long as you are snorting in anger, shut up. Don't talk or shout yourself in a rage, stay calm - in two senses. It's easier to stay calm once you don't say anything.
Yes, you read that right. Not responding to every gauntlet is a sign of maturity and greatness. Quite a few annoyances can be eliminated by simply staying deaf in one ear. Why get upset if it doesn't get you anywhere? Show serenity and stand above the statement. This often hits the other harder anyway, since the latter was aiming for a reaction.
Think long-term: revenge is often the first impulse to create anger. Revenge, however, has never made good an injustice, but rather made it worse. “When the anger grows, think of the consequences,” Confucius once warned wisely. Does it make sense to shout your frustration at the customer? Hardly likely.
The following activities are suitable to train serenity over the long term and to learn how to deal with difficult situations in a more relaxed manner.
Consult a good friend and pour out your heart to him. Talking relieves stress and anger. But it also helps to sort your thoughts and at the same time protects against misjudgments. With the advice and a wider perspective, it's easier to stay calm.
An outburst of emotions helps to get rid of anger, anger and the pent-up energy. Movement has the same effect. It is not without reason that it is considered the best and most natural medicine for stress and frustration. Physical activity breaks down stress hormones, allows you to cope with everyday problems more calmly and also promotes health. So take a walk around the block first and crush your anger.
- Relaxation exercises
Numerous relaxation exercises can help you feel more relaxed. Meditation (e.g. metta meditation), autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation are well-known examples. Try different exercises to see what works for you personally. Regular practice of such relaxation exercises will keep you calm in stressful situations.
Lastly, there are some psychological tricks that you can use for a little more calmness. You can use these at any time - as preparation for a stressful time in which you want to stay calm or to get your anger under control:
Use humor to fight your anger. Gelotologists, i.e. scientists who research laughter, have found that laughter relieves stress and improves mood with happiness hormones. It sounds absurd, but it works. Don't get upset, just laugh the situation away. You will be more relaxed immediately.
What is meant here is not a sentimental outburst. Even so, you need to learn to forgive others. Otherwise you will end up surrounded by enemies. You cannot change the past anymore. But the future - and with it everyone has the chance to determine their own life again.
- To forget
The point is closely related to forgiveness. Closing up with the past also means never tearing open old wounds. Both in your own interest, but also because it is part of the deal to really reconcile and forgive.
No matter how bad the act was, it never fully defines the other. Everyone also has their good sides. Admittedly, with some you have to look for them longer. But there is. By focusing your gaze on it, you do not change the other person, but you change yourself. You become more relaxed when you realize that the other person may have acted out of false pride and not out of sheer malice.
Talking to yourself reduces aggression and provides a more differentiated view and more clarity in the mind. Before you get upset for no reason, you should discuss things with yourself. Such an internal monologue prevents misunderstandings and helps to create more distance so that you can calmly consider your own reaction.
Gratitude banishes negative thoughts and reduces stress. Think about it: it could have been worse. Focus on the positive instead of getting excited about the negative.
Why serenity is worth it
Serenity rarely comes by itself and requires some effort, as the exercises and tips above show. So why bother and train yourself to be more relaxed? Quite simply: Because it's worth it! A more relaxed attitude in life has numerous advantages that you can benefit from:
- More satisfaction
Those who are constantly upset suffer from stress and are generally more dissatisfied. A serene attitude makes for more happiness and contentment. You take things easier, can see the positive and remain optimistic in difficult situations.
- Better decisions
Regardless of the circumstances: With calm people, the mind remains in control of the situation. You do not allow yourself to be tempted to break out prematurely, but act deliberately and rationally. This is how you make better decisions.
- Greater success
Serene people can view problems and crises with the necessary distance, see challenges as opportunities instead of being upset about them. You can only be successful if you keep calm under pressure and continue to perform well.
- Longer term relationships
Other people find serenity to be sympathetic and confident. Nobody likes a ticking time bomb or constantly nervous characters. Natural poles of calm radiate onto the environment and attract others. In addition, you don't scare off contacts with explosions, but rather maintain long-term relationships.
- More self-determination
With a relaxed attitude, you take control of your actions yourself. They cannot be influenced by others or provoked into a certain behavior. In this way, serenity helps to achieve a high degree of self-determination. You are the forge of your own happiness without being manipulated.
Serenity Quotes: The Most Beautiful Sayings
- "Serenity is the constant companion of all deeper philosophy." (Peter Rudl)
- "The serene uses his chances better than the driven." (Thornton Wilder)
- "You can only gain serenity by focusing on the essentials." (Georg Moser)
- "Serenity means letting go of the past and future and letting go of fears." (Ebo Rau)
- "Serenity is a graceful form of self-confidence." (Marie Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach)
- "Serenity takes life seriously, but not difficult." (Ernst Reinhardt)
- "Half as bad is almost twice as good." (Peter Silie)
- "Serenity is an antibiotic free of side effects against everyday stress." (Helmut Glaßl)
What other readers have read about it
Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.
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