A Coaching Power Tool Created by Phyllis Lutchman
(Life Coach, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO)
We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. Dalai Lama
- Freedom from disturbance, tranquility.
- A state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.
Peace is a state of calmness, regardless of the circumstances. In this state you are not disturbed by what people say or do. You do not take things personally. You are relaxed and free from worries and fears. It is not something that we can hold tightly, it must be cultivated and allowed to grow. In life there will always be challenges and changes. Peace is a choice we make about how we envision these challenges. Heraclitus once said,
The only thing that is constant is change.
Understanding this in life can go a long way in attaining peace of mind. Making peace with ourselves is essential to living a happy and healthy life.
Marcus Aurelius put it very nicely when he said,
Whoever values peace of mind and the health of the soul will live the best of all possible lives.
A state of great disturbance, confusion or uncertainty.
In the state of turmoil, you are stressed, worried and unhappy. The mind is restless. You feel helpless. Sometimes, you feel that your mind is about to explode. You are discontented and not able to fully appreciate the good things that life has to offer.
A healthy discontent is useful in some cases as it encourages people to strive to achieve things.
All the great statesmen, inventors, pioneers etc. have been able to achieve their specific goals partially due to this. This is not the type of turmoil that this paper seeks to address. It addresses the turmoil that serves no useful purpose. It causes health issues to develop and general unhappiness in life to prevail.
John and Jack were excellent employees in Company X. They were qualified, experienced and dedicated. The downturn in the economy made it necessary for the company to retrench both of them.
John’s reaction- (PEACE)
John sought the support of his family, friends and a coach to assist him in facing the challenge. He took regular walks along the beach with his family and dog. He wrote in his gratitude journal every night to remind himself of all his blessings. He prayed, meditated and exercised. He ate balanced meals. He started sending out his resume to other companies. He attended interviews. In the interim, while waiting to be employed again, he took some courses in his field.
Jack’s reaction – (TURMOIL)
Jack was angry with everyone. He found it was unfair that he had been retrenched. He lost his temper and spoke harshly to his boss the day he left the company. He did not want to listen to what his family or friends had to say. He was worried and afraid that things would not turn around. He felt helpless and alone. He started drinking heavily and was not eating or sleeping properly. He believed that his life was over. He felt that he would never be the same again.
The circumstances were the same. However, John was able to rise above the challenge and remain grounded with peace of mind. Jack was torn apart. He was in turmoil and unable to get a hold of himself to find the strength to move himself to a better place.
Peace is not a destination. It is a conscious choice that we make. It requires effort on our part. External circumstances must not be allowed to dictate our state of well-being. Epictetus once said,
It is not what happens to us, but how we react to what happens that matters.
Whether a challenge makes us or breaks us is entirely an individual choice.
There are many challenges on the road of life that can lead to turmoil. Everyone’s challenge is not the same. However, there are some common ones. These include:
- Laid off from your job.
- Caring for ailing relatives.
- The effects of natural disasters in your country.
- Migrating to another country.
- Changes at home and in the workplace.
- Death of a loved one.
- The effects of a downturn in the economy.
- Health issues.
- Financial issues.
- Parenting difficult children.
- Relationship issues.
Several techniques have been used over the ages to assist us in maintaining our inner peace in the face of our challenges. Meditation is a popular technique that has been successful for many. The practice improves our self -awareness and emotional health. Deepak Chopra once said.
In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.
There are many different types of meditation.
Loving-kindness meditation- this promotes feelings of compassion and love towards everything. It is helpful in areas such as anger and frustration.
Breath awareness meditation- this encourages the individual to pay attention to their breathing only and ignore all other thoughts. It has been known to reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
Mindfulness meditation- the individual is encouraged to be present in the moment. They must not focus on the past or the future. Some areas of usefulness are: reducing negative emotions and lessening impulsive,emotional reactions.
Transcendental meditation- in this form of meditation, the individual is seated and breathes slowly. He focuses on a mantra, repeated word or series of words. Transcendental meditation practitioners have been reported to have spiritual experiences and heightened mindfulness.
Yoga has also been known to assist in attaining peace of mind. There are many different types of yoga.
Raja- Yoga of the mind.
Karma-Yoga of action.
Jnana- Yoga of knowledge and wisdom.
Hatha-Yoga of balance in our bodies.
In the Western world, Hatha Yoga is perhaps one of the most popular types of yoga. It involves taking different postures or poses ,hand gestures and breath contol. Yoga focuses on maintaining the well -being of the individual.
Some people use positive affirmations to help them in attaining peace of mind. Emile Coue has advocated the affirmation,
Everyday in everyway I am getting better and better.
The process of repeating affirmations, helps to plant good thoughts in the mind of the individual.
Getting enough rest and relaxation is another ingredient in maintaining peace of mind and emotional well -being. Many scientists have said that eight hours quality sleep is a good estimate of what is required to rejuvenate the body.
Relaxation decreases blood pressure, relieves pain and improves your immune system. The type of activity that relaxes someone is very specific to the individual. Some like dancing, singing, swimming, creating a piece of artwork, to name a few.
Exercise has also been shown to be essential to one’s health. A variety of activities also exist that can fall under this heading. Jogging, cycling, running and lifting weights are some common examples.
Charles Dickens once said,
Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has plenty not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
Here Dickens is referring to gratitude. Gratitude and appreciation for others, helps to nurture and sustain peace of mind.
Involving oneself in charitable organizations and hobbies can also assist someone in regaining their peace of mind. Having, a generally positive attitude and good interpersonal relationships often goes a long way to achieving peace of mind.
Seeking the support of a coach can also be useful in assisting the individual in attaining peace. The coach partners with his client to assist him in making the move from turmoil to peace.
Healthy eating habits can also assist in making an individual happier and more peaceful.
A life purpose has also been known to be highly beneficial to the emotional well being of the individual. It has been known to promote resilience. Many people have been known to suffer from depression after retirement. This is because they no longer feel they have a purpose in life. There are also situations in life that you cannot change. (e.g. death of a loved one). Learning to accept situations that you cannot change will assist in bringing about a peaceful state of mind. A popular prayer called the Serenity Prayer sums it up nicely:
The Serenity Prayer
by Reinhard Nebular
God grant me the serenity To accept the things, I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference…..
- How do you behave when you are at peace with yourself?
- What activities make you feel better when you are troubled?
- Is there a particular place that you go to that makes you feel secure?
- Who do you turn to for assistance when you are facing a challenge?
- What changes can you make in your diet that would improve your well-being?
- What form of exercise works well for you?
- What is your life’s purpose?
- What helps you to relax?
One of the most powerful tools that a coach can use to assist a client to move forward from a state of turmoil to one of peace is reframing perspectives.
James Allen in his famous book, “As a Man Thinketh” stated,
Our life is what our thoughts make it. A man will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.
The coach helps the client to identify his perspective, his way of seeing the world and the people in it. He supports his client as the client reframes it. Sometimes this will involve a drastic change in his present perspective and sometimes only a slight shift is necessary. The coaching technique such as play can be utilized here.
e.g. Questions can be asked like this one:
If you were superman what would your thoughts be in this situation?
Extreme perspective is also another useful technique. This involves asking the client to explain how a situation is totally someone’s else fault. In this way he can analyze the situation more clearly.
Just listening to a client speak on an issue can be very effective. It provides a safe place for the client to explore his problems.
The coach can also encourage the client to explore the positive state of mind called gratitude. By encouraging the client to explore all the things he is grateful for in a particular situation or in his life can be helpful. The client can then make a shift from turmoil to peace easier and more quickly. For instance, if someone got into a minor accident, the coach can encourage him to write down all the things that he is grateful for e.g. he is alive and unharmed.
It is also a way of training the client to see things in a more positive light in the future. Keeping a gratitude journal can also be helpful. In this the client writes down every night what transpired during the day. He is then encouraged to reflect upon the things he was grateful for and what he did to achieve these things. When the client realizes that there are good things inherent in even difficult situations, he can be more at peace with himself.
A coach must also assist his client in managing himself. When the client begins to understand what triggers him to be angry or sad or any other emotion he can learn to manage his emotions in a healthy way. He can consciously choose to respond in a better way to a difficult situation instead of just reacting. He can also encourage the client to take initiative in problem solving and conflict management. Managing time better can also help to maintain a client’s peace of mind. If he is able to realize what activities he can curtail in order to spend more quality time with friends and family he might be more at peace with himself and eventually a happier person.
The coach must use powerful questioning, active listening and direct communication to assist his client in understanding himself better. Creating awareness and giving effective feedback is essential. The client must be encouraged to plan his actions and take charge of his life and be more accountable.
Clarifying ones’ values and life purpose is also important in obtaining peace of mind in an individual. The coach must assist him if necessary. Some clients have already identified their values and life’s purpose while others need assistance to do so.
Oprah Winfrey said,
There is no greater gift than to honor your life’s calling. It’s why you were born and how you become truly alive.
The coach can also help the client in aligning his goals with his values and purpose. Once this is accomplished the client will be more at ease in his life. Coaches can use visualization exercises to help their clients in this area. Mastery in this area also requires an understanding of the client’s emotional intelligence. He becomes more self-aware and manages himself better. In doing so he will be more at peace with himself and his life.
Sometimes a client’s underlying beliefs are creating the turmoil in his life.
Our beliefs control our bodies, our minds, and thus our lives….
Bruce H. Lipton, The Biology of Beliefs: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles.
The coach needs to empower the client. In this way the client can identify and own his underlying beliefs. He will then be able to see opportunities that he did not see before. He then has the option to choose a new belief and new actions.
This can make a difference in his moving from turmoil to peace.
Eckhart Tolle in his famous book,” The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” stated,
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.
The coach must encourage his client to live in the present. It frees the client from the “baggage” of the past and the anxieties of the future. Both of these are disempowering. The client can be encouraged to come up with his own mindfulness techniques. Even a simple technique of just pausing and noticing (without judging) his environment, feelings, thinking and wishes can be helpful.
Maintaining a peaceful state of mind is an art. Everyone has to choose whatever techniques that resonate with them to do so.
- How can you manage yourself better?
- What underlying beliefs are holding you back from attaining peace of mind?
- What in the past do you need to let go?
- What blessings do you have?
- What can you do about your challenges?
- What support do you have to assist you?
- What has been blocking you so far?
- What do you need to accept in order to move forward?
The coach partners with his client to help him to attain peace in spite of all the turmoil in the world.
May I live like the lotus at ease in the muddy water. Unknown
Allen,James.(2008).As a Man Thinketh(Revised).Jeremy P.Tarcher/Penguin,U.S.A.
Lipton,Bruce H.,(2005).The Biology of Belief-Unleashing the Power of Consciousness,Matter and Miracles.Hay House Inc., U.S.A.
Tolle,Eckhart.(2004).The Power of Now.Namaste Publishing,California.
Modules from International Coach Academy.(2015).