Meditation: The Calm During a Storm

Tammy Powell
After nearly nine years of meditation, I know meditation helps me stay calm during stressful situations. And this was made clear to me one fateful morning at my job. A few years into my career as a veterinarian, I walked into work one day and found four patients waiting for me, each with life-threatening medical emergencies. All four needed immediate medical intervention. The problem was that I was only one person and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. Trying to juggle so many tasks—with life or death stakes—was quite a stressful challenge! My first reaction was fear that pulsed through my body. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to do enough, and that maybe I would lose one of these patients. My stomach twisted at the thought. My mouth went dry, and a wave of panic washed over me. But, these unpleasant sensations only lasted mere seconds. After that, instinct and habit kicked in. I made a decision as to who was most critical and needed my attention first. Then, as a nurse began my treatments for that patient, I moved onto the next one. And we proceeded like that until everyone was taken care of. Some of the patients were very ill, but we helped them as much as possible, and achieved the best possible outcome for each of them. At the beginning of my career, my feeling of dread often lasted longer. In tough situations, I would have difficulty concentrating, which often made my assessment, plans, and treatments take longer. The outcome likely would have been the same, but the whole process was significantly more stressful for me.With all the stress, I was less able to comfort and lead others. Plus, the stress would follow me home and take days to resolve before finally allowing me to relax. Suggested Read: Stress is stressing me out However, on that challenging day there were a couple of different reasons why I was able to act so quickly and calmly. One, of course, was several additional years of experience under my belt. But in my heart, I know it was more than just experience at my job. I know my meditation practice played a big role. You see, I started a meditation practice called Heartfulness the same year I graduated from veterinary school. And as my clinical skills became more comfortable and natural, even during emergencies, so too did my meditation skills. Now meditation has become a part of my routine. Every morning, I meditate and find a peaceful center within myself. I’m sure that center was always there, butduring most of my life, it wasn’t a place I could easily access. Really, I didn’t even know it existed—probably because my mind was too noisy and chaotic to allow me to focus on this peaceful, calming center. But after more and more practice in meditation, finding this center became easier and more natural.Nowadays, it’s a place I go to during times of stress or emergencies. This center provides so much more than just stress relief, too. Even though the stress-busting effects are important, I have experiencedsome very concrete, practical benefits to meditation, both in the workplace and at home. By maintaining a calm, clear mind, I’m able to do my job more efficiently. That’s because I’m focusing on just one thing, without getting distracted by unhelpful thoughts and emotions. Also Read: Heartfulness meditation: the elixir of life I’m no longer in clinical practice, since life has presented me with new personal and professional opportunities. But, my meditation practice is still a big part of my life. Since it provided me the ability to “stay calm during a storm” amid multiple medical emergencies, I’m sure you can also imagine meditation’s potential to reduce stress and improve focus during everyday life! That’s not to say that life is perfect with meditation—after all, we each face our own struggles. But, meditation has given me the gift of knowing I can handle difficult situations and get through them with my best effort, even if they are scary or stressful. If you haven’t started yet, I highly recommend giving meditation a try, especially if you work a job that includes a lot of stressful situations. But remember, it takes practice. Try to make it a habit and see how it can change your life overtime! Right now, you can take part in a 90-day challenge, a great way to break in and start this new habit with the support of others. I hope you’ll take part, and that you’ll discover calmness, focus, and joy in all aspects of your life.