Sally Ann Miller

Transform Stress With The CALM Method – Part I

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This is the first part of a two-part series on the CALM Method. This is a tool you can use to transform stress so that you can thrive in your business.

As you work to grow your business…

  • What you are willing to feel will determine what’s possible for you.
  • What you are NOT willing to feel will determine what is limiting you.

In this episode, I teach the first two steps in the four-step CALM Method so that you can embrace ALL the emotions. When you’re open to experiencing it all, anything is possible.

The four steps are:

  1. Comfort
  2. Allow
  3. Listen And Learn
  4. Move On

Listen in and discover how to take care of your mind and body so that you can step into your next level of business growth.

What you’ll learn on today’s episode:

  • Learn the first two steps of my 4-step process to manage stress
  • Why your emotions are limiting your business growth
  • How stress limits your creativity and higher reasoning
  • Six ways to soothe your nervous system when you’re feeling anxious

Featured on this episode:

Episode 7: The Visibility Challenge

Doors to Business Growth Lab open again in May! Get more information at https://www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab/

Transcript

Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts who enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious, to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.. Welcome back to the podcast! So, this week, and in fact, next week as well, this is going to be a two-parter, I am teaching you the CALM Method. So, this is a tool that I think is going to massively change the results you can create in your business. It is a tool that I have mentioned before, it’s something I teach to my clients. And what it does is it helps you manage anxiety and overwhelm, and all those negative emotions that come up in business, so you can thrive. And this is really important. If we ignore all these negative emotions and just push through, well, first of all, that leads to burnout. But more than that, when we don’t look at these emotions and learn how to handle them, how to manage and process them, we’re limiting our potential to grow, grow in life, but also grow in your business.

Think of it this way: when you’re not willing, or you’re not even aware of the fact that your emotions are driving your results in your business, it’s like living on autopilot, you’re just automatically responding. You’re allowing anything that bubbles up inside of your body to determine what actions you take. And very often, when what’s coming up is fear or overwhelm, what do we do? We run away, or we hide, or we fight. What we don’t do is thrive, what we don’t do is grow in our business, what we don’t do is keep showing up in our most powerful way.

So, you need a tool like the CALM Method, to learn what to do as you experience those emotions, so that you can manage them, you can reduce the anxiety. And of course, when you do that, then you open yourself up to be able to grow more in business and in life. So just to be clear, the CALM Method is something I created, it’s a four-step process. But it’s really built on a number of tools that I’ve learned from various teachers and mentors, both in the life pitching world and also in the spiritual world.

So, it’s kind of a combination of different tools I’ve learned. And then I created my own method, because this is what makes sense to me. This is what works for me, and also works for my clients, so I offer it to you as a tool you can take, use it as I teach it or adapt it and create your own method for handling these emotions.

This is also going to be a really important tool for anyone who’s doing the Visibility Challenge. If you don’t know what that is, you can go back to podcast episodes. So, two weeks ago, I talked about the Visibility Challenge. There’s also a free toolkit, which you can download, you don’t need to put in your email address or anything like that. It’s a quick PDF that also teaches you how to do the Visibility Challenge. It is not difficult.

And the whole point of the Visibility Challenge is to practice being seen, to practice showing up, marketing ourselves, talking to people, telling people about our businesses, and getting a lot more comfortable doing that. Teaching our bodies and our brains that it is actually safe, we’re not going to die when we show up and start marketing. That is the whole point of the Visibility Challenge.

So, if you’re doing that challenge, and I truly hope you are, because this challenge can absolutely change the trajectory of your business. When the negative feelings come up, when you’re feeling frozen, or when you’re feeling anxious, maybe you post something a little too vulnerable in your mind and you’re wanting to delete it, the Calm Method is going to give you a tool to handle those feelings and to keep going.

So, let’s just dive in. There are four steps. It’s a four-step process to transform your anxiety or any other negative emotion, for that matter. The steps are C-A-L-M. So, this week, I’m going to talk about C and A, which are Comfort and Allow, and then next week, I’m going to dive into L and M. L is Listen and Learn and M is Move on.

So, let’s start with step one, Comfort. So, I actually didn’t used to have this step in my own personal process, I kind of skipped over it. I kind of did it, but I wasn’t consciously—I didn’t consciously have this step one. But it became so apparent to me both in my own life. And as I’ve been coaching my clients, especially many of my introverts who can be highly sensitive. And that can be a state we can be in, when we’re so in our feelings, we’re just not ready and open to receive coaching, either from a coach or a mentor, or from ourselves. We’re not ready for problem solving.

I’m sure you all know this feeling of being in it. But an example I want to give you, is you want to think about a toddler. So, you can almost imagine that your brain is a toddler and it’s having a tantrum. If you’re a parent, or grandparent, or you’ve ever taken care of small children. Maybe you’re in the grocery store, your toddler has a tantrum—I certainly remember these days as a mom in my life, right? What happens when your toddler is first in it? They’re absolutely absorbed by their emotions. You can’t reason with them. You can’t sit down and start explaining why the tantrum is inappropriate. And then what we’re going to do is quietly walk out of the store. None of that works, when they are in it.

It’s the same with your brain, by the way, think of it as a toddler, all that works at that first moment when they first break down, is to sit there and give them comfort. Depending on the kid, that might be just holding them. Some kids don’t even want to be touched when they’re in it. Sometimes it’s just being the silent witness and giving them the space. Maybe you might say soothing words over and over again to them—something like, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

I still do this with my children now, and they’re older, when they’re first in one of those negative feelings, maybe they’re full of anxiety of fear, or they’re just angry, I will just sit there with them and say, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” That is what comfort is. Now, you’re an adult, I’m going to give you some more methods. But the whole goal of this step one is to bring your stress levels down, so that you can do the next three steps in the process. Because when you’re in the most extreme stress response, your automatic behaviors are going to kick in, and you just don’t have a hope of stopping that. It’s just going to be so automatic.

Now, think of it like this. Have you ever had one of those road rage moments where before you even know it, someone’s—you’re in a rush, maybe your anxiety levels were already high, but they weren’t brimming over the top, but you’re in a rush? Perhaps you had—For me, it’d be like a phone call from the school that one of my kids is hurt. And I’m rushing to the school and feeling the urgency to get there. I’m already anxious, and then somebody cuts in front of me. And there can be an automatic response within me of anger, frustration, wanting to lash out, wanting to scream.

In those moments, that’s when I need comfort. I’m not in the state already to calm down. It’s like that toddler we were talking about earlier, when they’re having that full on tantrum and they’re screaming and lashing out. But let’s bring it back to the Visibility Challenge or marketing in your business. This can show up at a smaller level, it doesn’t have to be quite so extreme, but it can show up as your brain is drawing a blank.

So let’s say you’re doing the Visibility Challenge, and you’ve decided you’re going to post 100 times on social media. And you’re sitting down, you think, “I’m going to post today,” and your brain literally blanks. That means you are in an extreme stress response; you do not have access to your full creativity. So, the first step is just to lower the response. Lower that stress level, until you’re open to creativity, open to coaching, open to learning, open to problem solving. This can take a minute, it can take seconds, it can also in extreme situation, take weeks, all right? But for the most part, if we’re talking about say something like marketing and posting on social media, it can be just a few seconds or a minute.

So, how do you do this? How do you lower those stress levels? How do you do step one and comfort? There are so many ways. I’m going to offer you some right now. You can also just Google “soothe your nervous system,” “how to soothe your nervous system,” and you will find many more ideas. You truly just want to find a few methods or even one method that works best for you.

But here are some that commonly work for a lot of people. Deep breathing or taking several conscious breaths. For me, this just looks like—it’s something similar to what you might do in meditation. But it looks like turning all my attention inward and just being aware of my in breath, and my out breath. And doing that maybe just two or three times. That is enough to break the cycle for me, okay, so you could try that.

Similar to that if you are a meditator is to just go inside and feel your body. So again, if you’re a meditator, you’ll find it easier to do and maybe a tool that’s accessible to you is, can you feel your feet, your toes, your hands? So again, this is all about focusing your attention and breaking that stress response. Other ideas can be motion, getting into movement. That might look like vigorous exercise, even shaking, or dancing. It might look like gentle exercise by like walking.

Being in nature, getting in touch with nature. I love to combine walking with nature and just go outside, take a quiet walk, if I need calming, that also works really well for me. Weighted blankets—a lot of people really respond well to weight, to wrapping a blanket around you. Singing, gargling, even. These are just some of the common methods. You’ll find many more to soothe your nervous system.

After listening to this, you probably already know what works for you, because it’s probably something you currently do, whether consciously or subconsciously, when you’re just feeling overwhelmed by your feelings. So that is that one, Comfort, and you really don’t want to skip over this step, if you’re aware, you’re too deep in it. You can skip over this very fast if you catch yourself at the beginning of anxiety, then you can skip to step two. But when you’re deeply in an emotion and you’re lost in it, then comfort is essential.

All right, so what is the second step? It’s Allow, and Allow, this is something that’s going to take practice, if you’ve never done it before, because this is all about letting the emotion be there. I think about this as becoming the observer, the silent witness, the watcher of your emotion. Your whole goal here is to create separation between you and the feeling. So clearly, if you’re in it, and you haven’t done step one, Comfort, Allow is going to be completely inaccessible.

Another way to look at this— and please, I recommend you listen to this episode multiple times and you play with step two, because it certainly was something that took me a lot of experimentation to really get. And I had to play around, I even dismissed it when it was first taught to me, okay? So, listen to this several times.

But one way to begin to understand it is by telling you what not to do, so what allowing is not, because these are the things that we all tend to do when we’re in a negative emotion. So, allowing is definitely not resisting. Resisting looks like pushing the emotion down, not wanting to look at it. This is when if someone says—I remember being coached very recently, when I was in the middle of a launch, I was feeling all the feelings. And my coach asked me, “How do you feel? What does it feel like?” And I literally physically held my hand out towards the computer screen in the stop way. And it’s like, it feels like stop. This is a classic example of resisting an emotion, not wanting to experience it. And we all can do this, we all have, what I consider our “no-go” emotions. And the first step is just recognizing it is a no-go emotion.

But the next one is to start to allow it instead. I’m going to talk a little bit more, don’t worry, about ways to allow but resisting, obviously, it’s not allowing, but noise reacting. This is the other thing we do when an emotion comes up, we react. So back to the road rage example. This will be shouting or screaming at the person, even if they can’t hear you inside your car, letting the anger out. It’s the automatic response that we want to break, it’s that automatic stress response, that fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response that we want to break. Again, that’s reacting, that’s like emotion and an automatic action. That’s our go-to way of dealing.

It can also be buffering or numbing. It could be this emotion is too much for me to handle. So, I’m going to go do this distraction instead. Or I’m going to… I should have actually said this in comfort, “I’ll do this thing to comfort myself.” But this is not what I mean by step one Comfort. Like over eating or over drinking or over shopping, or over Netflixing. Anything when you’re trying to cover up the emotion is not the type of comfort I mean in step one. Step one is soothe comfort.

Now buffering or numbing is covering up the emotion, it’s doing anything you possibly can to get out of it, because you don’t want to experience it. That’s not comforting, and it’s definitely not allowing. And another thing allowing is not is feeding or indulging the emotion. And this is also really common, so don’t judge yourself for any of this. This is how we humans have learned to handle our feelings. We learnt these methods as little kids when the emotions were too much for us and we wanted to escape them, we didn’t want to experience them.

And as adults, we’ve trained ourselves that experiencing these emotions is too much for us, which actually isn’t the truth, by the way, you’re going to learn that it isn’t the truth. But feeding the emotion, or indulging the emotion what I mean by this is that is when you’re experiencing, let’s say, anxiety, and then your brain starts trying to justify it. Like, it starts coming up with all the reasons you’re anxious, not just the original reason, which was the original reason that caused the anxiety to come up. So maybe you posted something on social media that was a little vulnerable. And now you’re feeling anxiety around how people will react. That might have been the original reason the anxiety came up. But sometimes what we then do, is our brain starts wanting to justify the emotion, it starts coming up with all these other reasons why we should be anxious, and that actually makes the emotion grow.

Okay, so allowing is not any of those things. What it is, is simply becoming the watcher of your feelings. This is very similar—again, I’m going to reference meditation. So, if you have meditated before, then you have an advantage with these first two steps, Comfort and Allow. Because allowing, when you meditate, you’re typically taught to watch your thoughts. If you’ve ever learned to create that separation between the watcher and your thoughts, well, this is the same thing. But instead of watching your thoughts, you’re watching the physical sensation of the emotion in your body. It can really help to do this bit by naming the emotion and describing it. Because remember, your whole goal is to create objectivity, to create separation between you and the feeling while still allowing it to be there. You will be feeling the sensations. But a part of you will be separate from that and will be able to watch it and describe it in your head.

Let’s get back to the toddler having the tantrum. This is the same as your toddler is having the tantrum, you’ve told them, you soothe them. You said it’s okay. You said you’re okay. And you become the loving witness whilst your toddler continues to experience the feelings. That is what you want to do in step two, allow. All right, that brings me to the end of this week’s podcast. So next week, we’re going to move to steps three and four, which are Listen and Learn and then Move on. So, make sure you tune in for next week. I’ll see you then.

If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business, the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.

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