“Tranquilo” – Always Remain Calm
We live in stressful times, but in fairness to our ancestors, so did they. Throughout history, plenty of sources of stress have been present to make life “interesting”. Granted, those stressors may have changed over time and perhaps multiplied, given the complexity of the world we live in today, but they have always been present.
So if there always have been and always will be plenty of sources of stress and anxiety in our lives, the question becomes how to deal with them. In my experience, it’s useful to have a “go to” mantra or two for the moments when things get very tough and stressful. Recently I wrote about another mantra I use for potentially fear-invoking situations that if not counteracted would lead to an amygdala-activated panic response. That mantra was a Spanish expression, “sin miedo,” which means “without fear”. It is a very common expression in Spanish and depending how you feel about it, can also become more of a general philosophy of life.
Another Spanish expression I like to invoke as a mantra in stressful situations, but usually not to the level of a “sin miedo moment,” is “tranquilo”. Its literal translation is “calm,” but when you say it to someone in a stressful moment, you are telling them not to worry, or to remain calm. It is used a lot in Spanish and Portuguese and I’ve adopted it as another mantra that I use like “sin miedo,” but usually in more common everyday circumstances. If you have familiarity with Spanish and Portuguese, or you simply like the sound of these words, try them out for yourself. If not, find your own “go to” expression or words that can serve as mantras you can use to keep yourself calm in stressful situations. Having lived in Brazil and Costa Rica and having done business throughout Latin America my whole career, these words have special meaning for me and I’ve heard them a ton. You may have others that have a great deal of meaning for you and quickly evoke the calm, relaxed feeling that is the objective.
Why is it important to have a mantra and other mechanisms to keep you “tranquilo” in moments when fear or anger may otherwise take over? The answer is simple. Usually, when fear or anger immediately precede or dominate your behavior, the person you harm most is yourself. An obvious exception is when the “fight or flight” fear response is activated in situations that are truly life-threatening and this activation benefits you. But the reality is that usually, even in such situations, which hopefully for you as for most are few and far between, it’s often very much to your advantage to remain calm and react rationally.
The mantra(s) I’m encouraging you to develop are intended more for situations where you perceive danger, but you perceive it in an exaggerated way that only serves to skew your judgment and hinder your performance. In such situations, it’s useful to have pre-thought-out, automatic mechanisms for getting back on track and moving quickly away from your irrational and unnecessary fear or anger.
So, “tranquilo”! Relax a bit. Keep it all in perspective. Stay calm and level-headed in stressful situations and you will see your performance and likely your ongoing level of happiness improve considerably. Approach life “sin miedo” and take things in stride so you stay on track to reach all the goals you have set for yourself, while at the same time keeping a smile on your face. J
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.