What’s Your Personal 911?
By Bonnie McFarland

Has something stressful or upsetting
happened to you recently? Maybe
it was a fender bender car accident,
or telling a friend she did something
that hurt you, or being triggered by something your spouse said, or stepping on
stage to make a presentation.

Even when you are following what lights you up and creating more of what you
truly want in life, not every moment of every day will be filled with ease, joy, and
pleasure. Each of us has moments, situations, and experiences that stress and upset

What can you do to help yourself during those times? How can you calm yourself
until you gain more perspective to effectively deal with the situation? Use your
personal 911!

What Is a Personal 911?

911 is the phone number we call in the U.S. when we have an emergency and need
help fast. We don’t have to figure out what kind of help is needed or which number
to call; we already know if we have any kind of emergency, dial 911. The 911
dispatcher sends the police, fire department, or medical responders; the right help is
quickly on its way. 911 is an easy and effective emergency system.

What about when you have a more personal “emergency?” You can’t call the
community 911 system just because you’re stressed, jarred, upset, anxious, angry, or
afraid and want some relief and help quickly. But you can call on your own personal

Your personal 911 is a sentence, phrase or word you say to yourself during trying
times, something designed to ease and calm you. Your 911 is simple and easy so you
can use it anytime and anywhere.

You choose it in advance and use it as your first, immediate response when you are
stressed and upset. No need to think about it; as soon as you realize you need
personal emergency help, you just start saying it.

Your personal 911 will provide some quick relief, reducing your stress and calming
you. Once you're calmer, you can then take whatever additional actions are needed
to help yourself and to deal with the situation.

Would One of These Work For You?

I just used a personal 911 myself. I was meeting a friend for breakfast and I had
something to discuss that was difficult for me. Anticipating the conversation stirred
me up; I was agitated and anxious, my mind was racing.

To calm myself, I used one of my personal 911s: “I choose peace.” I kept saying this
to myself over and over and over again. I was able to shift some of my attention from
the thoughts that were upsetting me to more soothing thoughts.

Did it make my problem disappear? No, but I was able to become much calmer than
I had been. This felt better plus it allowed me to have a more effective conversation
with my friend than I would have had if I’d been completely agitated.

Here are a few examples of personal 911s I and others have used:

I choose peace.
I choose love.
I choose serenity.
I choose joy.
I choose love over fear.
Everything is perfect.
All is well.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change
the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

While you’re saying the words, you could also do a grounding technique such as
pressing your feet firmly on the floor, rubbing your palms together, or deep
breathing. Many people also add a homeopathic aid such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

In Your Life

If you'd like to experiment with this the next time you’re stressed or upset, here are
some suggestions.

Choose your 911 now.

You’ve probably heard people say “I can hardly think straight!” Science has now
shown that, in fact, we can’t think clearly under certain conditions. When you are
flooded with feelings and physiological stress responses you’ll have a very hard
time figuring out how to help yourself.

Have your emergency response prepared so it’s ready when you need it. Then, in the
midst of a stressful situation, you won’t have to figure out what to do – you just start
saying your 911!

Choose something that will work for you.

There is not a universal personal 911 that will work best for everybody. Your most
effective 911 will speak strongly to you: be powerful and meaningful enough for you
that it will calm you, shift your attention, and switch your perspective. It may be one
of the examples above or it may be something completely different.

Use it!

When you’re feeling stressed or upset, use your 911. Repeat it over and over, like a
mantra. If you start with the little things, the stuff that’s mildly upsetting, you can
build your ability to use this in tougher situations as well.

Your personal 911 is a simple tool to add to your life toolkit. You can quickly and
easily call on it when you’re in situations that challenge you. Using your personal
911 will reduce your stress, calm you, and allow you to more effectively respond to
the situation.

About the author: Bonnie McFarland of La Bella Via works with women at midlife who are
feeling restless, stuck, or dissatisfied and wondering what to do with the rest of their lives.
Bonnie’s e-book, What Lights You Up? Your Guide to Pleasure, Passion, and Purpose in Life,
as well as Light Matters, as well as her ezine with suggestions, tools, and inspiration for getting
more of what you truly want, are both available free at

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