Finding inner calm
in a hectic world
Five simple steps to reclaim tranquility and peace of mind in troubled times.
By Cheryl Rainfield
It can be hard to find a little piece of inner calm, especially when things are hard. You probably know how much better you feel when you take time to find that calm place inside—but how many of us actually take the time to do it, not only when we are stressed out, but on a regular basis? The busier or harder our lives get, the more we need to experience some relaxation. Sometimes we forget how much we need a few moments of peace. We forget how important it is, and that we need to remind ourselves how much better our day or situation can be if we just take a few minutes to find that calm.
So how do you find that little piece of calm? Here are some suggestions.
Creating inner calm
1. Imagine an inner safe place you can go to where you feel calm.
Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Let your body relax. Imagine a place where you feel safe and calm—a beach, a grassy hill, a quiet corner, a comfortable room. What would you like to have there with you to help you feel safe and relaxed? Really see yourself there, surrounded by things that make you feel good.
2. Follow your breath; meditate.
Make sure you’re seated comfortably. Relax your body. Look down and pay attention to your breathing. Don’t change it. Pay attention to how your breathing feels in your body—how it enters and leaves your nostrils, how your rib cage expands and contracts, how your chest moves up and down as you breathe. Keep following your breath. This encourages you to stay present with yourself and your body in this very moment.
3. Ground yourself in your physical surroundings and connect to your body.
Take a few minutes to notice the physical world around you. Use as many of your senses as you can. Feel the chair or surface you’re sitting on with your hands; notice its texture. Notice how your body feels, sitting on it. Is what you’re sitting on hard or soft? Is there stiffness or an ache anywhere in your body? Shift your body until you’re comfortable. Now breathe in the air around you. Take time to notice things, to experience them through your senses, and you will your body and yourself.
4. Find calming sensory experiences.
Do you have a smell that makes you feel calm, centered, comforted? A favorite smell from your childhood, a perfume from someone who was kind to you, the smell of a childhood toy or a beloved pet? Bring that smell forward in your mind or find a way to reexperience it—buy yourself a small bottle of perfume or lotion, a box of crayons, or whatever the good smell came from. Find ways to bring calm to yourself through your senses, and you will find them all worthwhile.
5. Write to connect to yourself or get out what is bothering you.
Write a poem, or just write whatever comes to you. Allow yourself to write freely, without censure or judgment, until you’re ready to stop. If it helps to have a limit, set yourself to write for two minutes or five or whatever feels good to you. Writing helps to get out your emotions and worries; it helps bring some release. If you feel that it brings agitation, tell yourself that you are putting aside that emotion or worry for now but will go back to it when you are ready and able to.