10 FAIL PROOF STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE PEACE AND CALM
Our world is in flux right now. And a lot is out of our control. We can choose to fight it and feel stressed and anxious, or we can navigate with intelligence and ease. There are ways to achieve peace and calm during chaotic times when we learn to control our bodies and our mind. Develop your muscle memory by practicing these strategies to achieve peace and calm regularly and you will be able to recall them when you most need it.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are at peace, you are living in the present.” — Lao Tzu
Inner peace is a continuous process, I consider it a journey, actually, because it’s not a “one and done” kind of thing. We work on it, we improve, we make changes, and we continue to work on it as change and grow in life. And whether is peace of mind or peace on earth that you are after, it all starts with you being present, being grateful and being calm. The more you practice the better you become at it and the easier you will achieve peace and calm when you most need it.
I have shared many strategies with you to help manage stress, anxiety, and find calm here, here and here. And today is no different: I will share more strategies that will help you train your mind and body to create and maintain peace and calm for you and those around you. These are strategies that I work with my private clients and that yield a lot of positive results.
Today I’m giving 10 powerful and failproof strategies to help calm the our nervous system and to achieve a peaceful and calm mind. I suggest you practicing them on a regular basis to build muscle memory so that you can recall when you most need it, almost automatically. These strategies build momentum and help you create healthy habits and achieve peace and calm.
You can choose to practice one, two, or three a day. I highly suggest you practice them all. See what feels good to you. Notice which ones provide the results you want. We are all different people with different needs and wants. We just need to find what works best for us.
10 Fail-Proof Strategies to Achieve Peace and Calm Even During Chaos
1. Take slow conscious breaths
This is a fail-proof technique I have been teaching people for a long time and it really works. When you practice it throughout the day, it builds muscle memory and it becomes a game-changer. Oxygen reverses the stress response in our brain by slowing our heart rate, lowering our blood pressure and calming the body. I suggest you to put an alarm on your phone to practice 3 conscious, intentional breaths about 3 times a day.
Close your eyes, if you can. Eyes opened are ok too.
Place your hand on your heart, if possible.
Take a deep breath in as you recite silently “Breathing in I calm my body.”
Hold the inhale for a second.
Exhale completely as you recite silently “Breathing out I relax.“
Hold the exhale for a second.
2. Practice controlled breaths
Practice 3 controlled breaths several times a day to build muscle memory. This is another fail-proof technique that works really well when practiced. It becomes really easy to recall it when we need to calm the nervous system. To get started I suggest you to put an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to practice. 3 times a day is a good start.
Close your eyes, if possible.
Place your hand on your heart, if possible.
Now inhale for a count of four (1, 2, 3, 4).
Hold the inhale for a count of four (1, 2, 3, 4).
Exhale for a count of four (1, 2, 3, 4).
Hold the exhale for a count of four (1, 2, 3, 4).
I also use the “Breathe” app on my phone and watch. It reminds me to “breathe” every 2 hours. We are always breathing, but not always consciously.
3. The STOP Sign Strategy
When we are driving, no matter how in hurry we may be, we always stop at the stop signs, right? So, picture seeing a stop sign in front of you.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or burned out stop everything you are doing, no matter how important that is – it won’t get it done properly anyway. The stop sign strategy helps us change our perspective making the brain changes its focus.
Take a few conscious breaths.
Look at a different direction than the one you were looking before (change your perspective).
Ask yourself “What’s happening right now?”
Notice what’s going on first in your body, then look around you and notice your environment.
When you feel better you can resume your activity.
4. The Five-Finger-Technique
Another calming technique is to touch each finger to your thumb. Begin with the index finger, then middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. Do one hand and then the other. You can lightly touch each finger, press the fingers, or rub the fingers. Test which technique works best for you. This sensorial technique creates a momentary change of focus in the mind, allowing your nervous system to calm down.
5. Practice Mindful Minute
Stop everything and for the next minute, you will practice being in the moment.
Take a slow deep breath. Take another slow deep breath.
Take a deep breath and name something you smell.
Close your eyes and name something you hear.
Run your tongue on your teeth and around your mouth, swallow and name what you taste.
Now look around and name something you see.
Stretch your hand out, touch something, and name the texture of it.
Take a deep breath in and out. Resume your activity.
6. Practice gratitude
Thousands of studies have now proven that one of the most powerful techniques to help us achieve happiness, peace, and calm is the practice of gratitude. Yes, the world is in chaos right now. Yes, it is burning literally over here. Yes, there are lots of injustices happening right now but there are still also a lot of wonderful things to be grateful for. If we just look, we will see.
First thing in the morning and last thing in the day, take a deep breath in and out, acknowledge at least one thing that is working for you. One person or thing that makes your life better, easier, happier. One moment. One event. Find one thing to be grateful for.
When you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath in and out. Acknowledge that things are difficult, acknowledge the hardships, it’s ok, but then, on the same breath, express your gratitude for something or someone in your life that is working, that is good.
“Yes, so much land is burning right now, many people are being displaced, the fires are coming close, I’m scared, overwhelmed, sad, and anxious but I’m so grateful for all the firefighters and volunteers working tirelessly to control the fires. I’m also grateful for all of the farm workers who continue working tirelessly on the farms, amidst the fires and the pandemic, so that my children and I, and all of us, can be fed.”
We are not overriding the hardships in our life, not at all. but if we are opening our mouths to acknowledge the hardships, we should also acknowledge what is working. Gratitude will help us to go through the hardships with more resilience and strength.
7. The WAIT strategy
This is another fool-proof strategy I teach my clients and they will tell you it is spot on! When you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, tired, depleted take a couple of slow deep breaths and ask yourself: W A I T
What am I thinking?
Ask: Is this helpful for me right now? or Is this something I have control over?
Identify positive, helpful things you can do at this moment. Things you actually have control over.
Try that instead. Take action on that.
8. Practice (guided) meditation
Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. It can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.
It took me a while to learn to sit in quiet meditation by myself. Now I always look forward to it. I also do appreciate guided meditation, although certain voices bother me. I love the Calm app. I love Tamara’s voice, I love the lessons I learn daily, and I love the sleep stories. (*I am not affiliated to Calm, I just truly believe and love the app.)
You can find free meditations online (on youtube, spotify, Gaia website) and paid ones too. The most important thing is to find one that you enjoy, to help you build the habit to sit in quiet.
9. Create and maintain boundaries
Think about your energy, motivation, and positivity as a bucket that is constantly leaking. If you don’t fill the bucket, one day sooner rather than later you will find yourself running on empty. Tending to your bucket is your responsibility! Gratitude, meditation, breathing, self-care and setting boundaries are ways to make sure you don’t run on an empty bucket.
1. Say “NO” to people and things that are out of alignment with what you want and need in life or at the time os the asking.
2. Ask for help when you need to. It feels good to be helpful right? Yes, so let others help you too, you will make their day!
3. Be assertive and say what you need to say with respect but firm.
If you would like to learn more, I wrote a very good blog post on how to create and maintain boundaries here.
10. Practice acceptance
Resisting what is happening creates a lot of stress. When you focus on wishing something was different, rather than accepting what is, you use your energy on something that is unproductive and yields no positive results. Accepting what is, however, doesn’t mean “do nothing”, be complacent or apathetic, on the contrary, it means that investing your resources on what you can change and things that matter. That will give you a sense of control, peace, and calm.
Our world is in constant flux, more now than ever before, in our lifetime, at least. Most of it is completely out of our control and it is that sense of lack of control that creates (partially) our anxiety and stress. Finding ways to feel more in control will allow us to achieve peace and calm so that we can take action that will create positive results in our lives and the lives of those around us.
The most important ways to achieve peace of mind involve being true to yourself, accepting that life is uncertain, and watching your thinking. Pay less attention to the negative thoughts, yours and others, and focus on what is working for you, the things you can control, and what you are thankful for in life. Inner peace is within you, go find it because nobody can find that for you.
Try these strategies out and let me know which ones work better for you.
I’ve canvassed the internet and created this document with 80 suggestions to help you find peace and calm. Download it, print it, and keep it handy. It’s FREE! Share the love, share the print out, share this blog post.
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