3 things to calm your mind in anxious times
What a few weeks it’s been.
An unbelievable number of life changes thrown at us, at speed, against a backdrop of a contagious virus that can either be life-threatening or so mild that you’re barely aware you even have it… and if you’re a reasonably fit and healthy person it seems there’s no way of knowing where you stand on that graph. That kind of uncertainty is frightening.
Like many, I have had my moments of overwhelm. There is just SO much to take in, SO much to physically adapt to, SO much to mentally process. This processing requires a lot of energy and to begin with, even though I felt like I’d done very little, I was exhausted. My brain was like a box of frogs, jumping from one thing to another and incapable of maintaining focus. Making any kind of decisions, let alone acting on them, has been hard.
If this is you too, try not to berate yourself. This whole situation is so NEW and unlike anything we’ve ever been through before so we have no benchmark, no previous experience to refer to and crucially no physical shoulder to cry on or hugs to draw comfort from.
Here’s what I’ve been finding helpful, which will also help you to calm your mind in these crazy times:
Breathing. This is so simple yet so effective and you can do it anytime, anywhere. Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4, expanding your belly and keeping your shoulders down. Hold it for a count of 7, then exhale gently through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat two or three times.
When we’re stressed we often don’t breath deeply enough so we don’t have enough oxygen circulating around our body. This perpetuates the feeling of stress so it’s a vicious circle! Taking a moment to focus on our breath can help to break that cycle and calm you down.
Journalling. The act of getting your thoughts out of your head and writing them down on paper is a great way to get some calm focus and free up some headspace. If you do this first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night it sets you up for a calmer day and helps you to unwind before bed. Three things I find good to focus on:
What am I grateful for?
Today is going to be / has been a good day because…
I am proud of myself because…
Meditation. Now more than ever this is my go-to tool for calm. It helps to still your mind and reduce the number of thoughts that pop into your head clamouring for your attention. I also find using guided visualisations a really good way to help me relax. Meditation takes practice, so if you’re new to it you will find listening to a guided visualisation easier and just as effective.
I’ve created a soothing guided visualisation specifically to give you some respite from the madness of the world. It’s free. You can get it here.
Whatever situation this current crisis finds you in I hope you are able to take a little time each day to focus on what YOU need.
Take care of yourselves.
P.S. If you know someone else who would benefit from these techniques please share this with them. x