Are you cultivating calm?
It's easy to think that there are two kinds of people; stressed and chilled. Sometimes the stressed admire the chilled and envy them their peace, offering them back-handed compliments like: "I wish I was as relaxed as you, but I'm too busy to sit and do nothing." The fact is that calm people are often busy people too. Cultivating calm is more a question of attitude, choice and priority than how much spare time we have in our day.
We all have the opportunity to cultivate calm. Though some of us may be more hot headed or prone to stress than others, we can still choose to invest some time each day in peaceful or contemplative pursuits.
A shift in perspective
We can also try and choose calm responses to whatever little challenges crop up during the day. If we think we're subject to a conspiracy and the whole world is against us, then that will be our experience, and it won't be a happy one. If we choose to live moment by moment and take a few seconds to drop our shoulders and take a deep breath as we sail from one event to the next, we will feel less under attack and more like we're going with the flow.
If someone cuts us up when we're driving we can choose to shrug and smile or shout and honk our horns. It's not personal, why should we waste our energy and feel bad about someone we will probably never have a connection with in our entire life.
Quick and easy calm
Building some calm time into your day doesn't take time - it gives you time. Here's a quick and easy breathing technique to help you feel calm and more peaceful:
- Sit, or stand, with your shoulders, neck and jaw relaxed
- Take a deep breath in and count to four
- Hold the breath and count to two
- Release it slowly and steadily as you count to six
- Now let your lungs rest empty and wait, and allow your breath of it's own accord flow into your lungs once more
- Draw the breath in deeply as you count to four
- Hold it for two counts
- And release again for six
- Pause and wait for your breath to come again like a wave rolling in to an ocean shore...
Continue like this for as long as you feel comfortable. You might choose to sit for five or ten minutes, or your could choose to complete five or ten breathing cycles. Play with it and see how it suits you best, if you do this one simple exercise two or three times a day you will soon notice that you feel generally more calm and relaxed.
Choosing to cultivate calm every day
In a recent post we talked about the perils of black and white thinking (link). In concluding this post I would encourage us all to reflect on the fact that we can all be stressed and we can all be calm, we just need to check in with ourselves often and decide which way we want to be. I know I can run hot and get stressed if I loose sight of myself and my aspirations, I also know that's not how or who I want to be, so every day I'm taking care to do something that helps me be consciously calm. How about you?
photo by jessebezz