Staying calm in the midst of chaos can be like tightrope walking. You have to be balanced, keep perspective, catch a rhythm, but most importantly, you have to remain connected with yourself – your feelings and your body.
And so, staying calm has a lot to do with self-management and our ability to manage our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a conscious and productive way.
In other words, calm requires an understanding of our responsibility in how things go and taking action according to our emotions and the thoughts that induce them.
The TEA Model
Let’s look at the TEA Model – very helpful in career management and self-management – to understand better how and why we act in specific ways.
The three dimensions of the TEA Model are:
✔️ thoughts (internal processing),
✔️ emotions (internal states),
✔️actions (external behaviors).
It looks at how they interact with each other and how change is a layered process.
The main underlining of the TEA Model is that your thoughts produce your feelings and actions, your feelings fuel your actions and thoughts, and all three of them combined – thoughts, feelings and actions – create your results. They are all interconnected, working in a close partnership.
Therefore, learning to recognize your feelings and your thoughts and being conscious and intentional in your actions is the way to stay calm and confident in the middle of a stormy world.
Firstly, nothing in our lives is terrific or terrible until we decide to think about it.
Thoughts are essentially our internal processes and beliefs that determine and affect how we see the world. They always cause emotions, but the good thing is we can choose how we think and determine how we feel.
It all starts with thinking intentionally and choosing to treat all things and situations with attention and composure. Set intentions, a life purpose, name your beliefs – this is your core that you can always return to. And knowing that brings you peace.
Secondly, gaining more control over our emotional state through self-awareness and self-management creates the right circumstances for staying calm.
Our emotions have a lot to do with our values and our frustrations or fear. Moreover, our brains have developed over time to avoid pain and resist and react to negative emotions.
Therefore, learning to recognize our values and manage our response to pain and negative emotions will create circumstances for a calmer life.
And lastly come actions, including both what we do and what we say. Before taking action, ask yourself what the feeling you’re experiencing is, and then go even deeper exploring what the thought determining the feeling might be.
You might be angry because your manager said something in an inappropriate tone in a meeting. Your first reaction might be to shut down or to fight back.
But, regardless of that first instinct, dig deeper and stay calm. What did you feel and why? What did trigger you? Your manager’s request or his tone of voice? What values and beliefs did this situation bring to attention?
If you just aim to change your self-management process actions, you will encounter resistance. Your actions are always supported by your feelings and thoughts – examine those first and work with them.
Aim for an integrated approach like the TEA model in your self-management process.
You can delve even deeper into the dimensions of your psyche through these weekly practices for self-awareness, designed to help you stay focused on your intentions and be more present in your day-to-day life.
And remember, address the root, not the symptom.