The good news is that there are five great ways to get calm fast, though you might not like what I’m about to say next.
Do you ever find that your mind sometimes runs on and on with thoughts that stress you out? I’m guessing that is exactly why you’re reading this message today.
Here’s the part I said you won’t like: you’re the problem, not your mind. Ouch, that hurts a bit, doesn’t it? Sorry. Let me explain.
The problem is not with the person or the situation you’re going through that has your mind over-occupied; ultimately, the problem rests with how you’re processing the world around you. Take heart though because any problem you cause is also a problem you can fix!
The problem is how you’re thinking about the problem.
You may think that the circumstances or the people in your life are causing you stress and anxiety, but that’s not the truth. The truth is your thoughts about those people and circumstances are what’s making you feel all gnarled up in knots.
To be fair, I will concede that at times life can be hard. There could be some ugly or uncomfortable things going down in your life right now, I know I’ve sure seen my fair share of drama and trauma. Work overload. Crushing financial hardships. Major life losses. Hurricanes of change all pounding away at me all at once. Can you relate? Some days aren’t easy, my friend, not easy at all.
Then there’s what really matters in life: people. Love is all that really counts, but the trouble is that not all people make it easy to keep those compassionate vibes of tenderness alive. I truly do want to be a loving person to all, but there are days when my thoughts have other intentions.
When you’re dealing with situations and people problems like these, your mind can go into overdrive making everything seem far worse than it really is. You trade peace of mind for a piece of your mind, and that’s not helpful.
I used to let my mind run wild with all sorts of scary and ugly imaginings. My out-of-control thinking habit just kept getting worse and worse until one day, fed up and flat-out exhausted, I decided there had to be a better way.
So I experimented until I found relief, and here are the five habits I picked up that are now helping me tame my monkey mind and maintain my inner calm:
5 ways to get calm fast
- Practice stillness daily. Just get quiet. Really quiet. I don’t care if it’s for five minutes or twenty minutes or an hour. Remove all distractions and sit in stillness. Focus on your breathing. If thoughts begin to distract you, just return your focus to your breath.
- Make mindfulness a priority. That cool cat Ram Dass had it right when he said, “Be Here Now.” When your mind is wandering, you’re not mindful of the moment you’re in. So come back fully to now.
- Take deep, long breaths at the first twinge of anxiety. Sometimes the thoughts that begin the anxiety process go underground and you first recognize them not through conscious awareness, but rather through the physical sensation that something is amiss. When you feel those twinges tugging at you, pay attention. Return to calm by taking a few long, deep breaths. It gets you out of your mind and into your body and you’ll find that practice is very soothing.
- Remind yourself you don’t need others’ approval. I used to have the very bad habit of worrying what others thought of me, and that led to a lot of no-win internal dialogues. I now know that I can only care about what I think of myself, as I’m the only person I can do anything about. As for other people, I wish them no ill-will. I just know that what they think of me says more about them than it does about me.
- Learn to smile at the Chatterbox inside your brain. Left to its own devices, my mind likes to fast-forward into the future … or encourage me to be perfect … or ruminate in a myriad of unhelpful details. Oh, silly mind! Those thoughts aren’t helpful. By learning to smile at them rather than take them seriously, I now easily release the thoughts as they no longer have any power over me.
Give these techniques a try next time you feel that those old babbling thoughts are angling to take over. While it may take a little time to incorporate these five habits into your daily practice, it’s well worth the effort. I promise they’ll offer the relief you need to return to calm in seconds flat.