In order to always stay calm, you must stop being passive in life and instead take full responsibility for your own tension. This means stopping saying ‘I was relaxed until … happened’.
Even though it is fine to do relaxation, yoga or meditation classes (and people often enjoy these activities), they are not actually necessary in learning how to stay relaxed permanently. The answer is simpler and much easier to do.
To be permanently relaxed involves making a clear decision to stay completely calm (ALWAYS below 3/10 in your tension level), no matter what else is going on around you. Your job, your responsibility. No one else can do it for you. This is the key.
Once that decision is clearly made, then you simply stop allowing yourself to ‘hype-up’ through well-practised, long-term habit.
To break this habit, you must learn to notice when you get to 3/10 and correct your tension level immediately before it wreaks havoc. That is, don’t wait until you reach 7/10 where it is easy to lose control.
As soon as you notice that you are at 3/10, immediately take yourself back down to 1-2/10 in your tension level by doing a ‘Body Flop’. This is an exercise that I developed in my work as a clinical psychologist at the Smart Therapy Centre. The beauty of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. You can do it standing up, sitting down, lying down or when talking/interacting with others (they won’t know that you are doing it!)
A Body Flop has three parts, and only takes about three seconds to complete once you practice it (even a tiny bit!)
In summary: first, you must ‘soften’ the brain/mind. Secondly, you must ‘soften’ the body. Thirdly, you must do a long exhale (through mouth or nose) releasing emotional tension. With practice you can learn to do these three aspects all at once.
In more detail: To soften the brain and mind, simply picture yourself ‘quietening’ those noisy, agitated brain cells by dampening-down their chatter under a heavy quilt or doona. You ‘dampen’ more and more under the doona until they are quiet and still.
To soften the body, allow it to kind of ‘flop’ towards the ground as you release and soften all muscular tension. Don’t forget to flop and soften all the way from the head (including your eyes) down to your feet.
At the same time, do a long exhale where you breathe out any unwanted inner emotional tension (like anger, stress or fear).
This exercise feels very pleasant, and even if you do it twenty times in a day, it has only taken one minute of your time – yet it frees you from interminable tension and allows you, no matter what, to always stay calm.