Most of us think of calm in terms of something that we experience as a result of solving our problems. As in ‘once such and such happens, then I’ll be able to calm down.”
But in practice, calm is a tool we learn to use so that we can deal more successfully with life and the problems we all face. And when those problems happen to include something as difficult and persistent as alcoholism (our own or someone else’s), then learning to calm ourselves is even more essential.
I know, it’s easier said than done. But the important point is it can be done. Moreover, we need to do it. Otherwise we’re going to flounder in the face of the sort of chaos that follows untreated alcoholism.
Why is calm so important? Because anxiety and its cousin, panic, are obstacles to the sort of clear thinking and considered action required for change. Anxiety and panic feed into alcoholic behavior and in practical terms, help to make things worse.
By the way, anxiety is defined as the condition of being fearful. Panic is episodic, and usually more intense – ‘waves’ of fear that sweep over and threaten to overwhelm us. We can learn how to prevent anxiety and panic, or where we can’t, how to manage it until it subsides.
We can’t wait for conditions to improve in order to calm down and begin thinking clearly. We teach ourselves to calm down and think clearly in order to improve the condition of our lives.
There are dozens of ways to calm oneself. You’ve heard of them: relaxation exercises, meditation, physical exercise, self-hypnosis, yoga, among others. For our purposes, it doesn’t much matter how we reach a state of calm. Just that we arrive.
All these methods require practice. They’re disciplines. We practice them in order to improve over time.
We know the “why.” What about the “how?” Cultivating Calm