What is the reason behind meditating, if it doesn’t work under high stress situations? For years I try to calm myself down. I want to switch off, just for a couple of minutes! How hard can that be?
It looks like this can be ultra hard, if not even impossible. But that is just what I experience. When I started to work on my meditation skills some couple of years back in time, the original reason was exactly that. I wanted to stay cool when others would freak out. I wanted to keep my head, when others sweat to death. I wanted to control my emotions, when others lose theirs. I wanted to have a fighter jet pilot mentality. I wanted to be like a trained agent, keeping my hearth rate under my control. This is all I wanted to have. Ok, we can argue about the fact, if that is all really necessary, or if it is enough already, just to stay cool and relaxed in high pressure situations. But that is just me, right? Aiming high in order to reach even higher hemispheres. But hey, look at me! Three years later, where is my license to kill? Where is my Aston Martin? Where is my Bond girl? I guess, you got the joke by now. But honestly, where is the progress? I should have made a progress. I mean, three years! Something has to be changed!
And to be honest, some things have changed. For the good or the worse? It depends. But let’s take one step after the other.
Compared to where I was three years back in time, I am a completely different person today. But that is not really special, that is just normal. You improve, especially if you are focusing on that. I was a nerve wreck! I would have lost my nerves just by thinking about a situation, that will most likely not even happen to me. I was just way too nervous, way too anxious and way too naive to even realize that. I was a kid. Not more and not less. When my first exam week was coming up in the end of March in 2017, I was freaking out. I didn’t had my emotions under control, or anything else. It was just a mess, honestly.
Next week, I will start into another exam phase. Do I think that I have my emotions under control? No! Definitely not! But compared to three years ago, I have learned some really important lessons, I want to share with you in the next couple of posts about this topic.
When it comes to the thought process in your head, the most important step is to actually realize what you are doing. Sounds kind of strange at the beginning, that is correct. Because usually, you should know what your brain is doing, right? I mean, isn’t that supposed to work like that? Yes and no. For some processes, you realize what you are doing right in the moment, for example when there is a hot blonde chick walking by and your brain starts to figure out a strategy how to get another glimpse of the walking beauty. In this situation you will probably realize what you are doing and depending on the situation you are in, will stop this process immediately, or enjoy the outcome. But and this is the important thing to notice. You realized what your thought process was doing and could react upon the situation, change it to the good or the bad.
But then there are other situations where we actually do something rather unconsciously, not realizing what we are currently doing. If I am in a situation like that, I often times refer to it as a kind of a trance. I mean, I am still there and have the control over my hands and feet, but I am rather a slave of my own head, which took over the control rather elegantly and makes me freak out about something. This can happen in a high stress situations, for example before an exam for University, or something similar like that. In the past, I haven’t even realized, that my brain was already running in the emergency mode, making my body freak out about the situation. The moment I realized what had happened, this was way too late already. So getting back into the normal state after that was rather complicated to do, but also took a lot of time, I mostly did not had.
Today, I have made some progress on the detection side of life of such a thing, meaning that I realize sometimes what I am doing and stop it right there, before it can harm anything else inside my system. At least that is the theory, of course I can not stop it all the time, but every-time I do, I fell just great! Because I know, that I have prevented myself from freaking out. Having said that, the upcoming weeks will be the ultimate test. I will see if I have improved, or if I am still a nervous wreck.
My internal thought process suggests me highly to keep the expectations for the upcoming weeks low, but that is not really the thing we are aiming for here, right? So, we will set the bar higher then we think we can and see how it will go. That’s the spirit!
If you want to learn how to play tennis, you should play tennis. If you want to learn a language, you should listen to the language. If you want to keep it calm under high stress situations, you should get into high stress situations. Control your emotions. That is something everyone can do, when sitting in the living room, enjoying a cup of tea. But what about a race start in Le Mans, or a bomb defusing situation in Iraq? Can you keep your head? Can you control your emotions? It is definitely a matter of practice. That’s the same with everything else. The more you practice, the better you become.
This is supposed to be the pre-exam post about my “keep it cool” meditation workout. In the upcoming weeks, I will give some real life updates, trying to figure out ways how to overcome my problems in the field, so to speak.
Thanks for reading, if you have made it up to this point! If you have experienced similar situations in your life, or still do, feel free to share your emotions, your story and your advise.
See you next time!