There are days when I look at my to do list, and start to panic. How in the world am I going to get all this done?
And then I take a moment, and remember, this is not how I choose to live my life. My priority for the day, despite a very full day, is Calm.
Literally, when i feel my energy winding up, the panic, the overwhelm setting it, I write CALM at the top of my priority list. That list of the top three things i need to focus on.
At this point in my life, I crave Calm.
Calm is where I choose to be. That’s the energy I want in my life, no matter how busy, how full, how many interruptions, how much churn and swirl surrounds me. I want – I need – Calm.
So how do we achieve calm, when life is feeling very full?
By purposely, intentionally, inviting it in. Intentionally embracing and applying the strategies that support your sense of Calm.
Here’s a few ideas:
Deep, Cleansing, purposeful breaths. Close your eyes, and for a moment or three, Simply breathe.
A physical therapist encouraged me to practice diaphragmatic breathing for 2 minutes at a time. It’s an interesting exercise. Focuses the mind, and relaxes the body.
To start: Set a timer. Breathe all the way in through your nose. Breathe all the way out through your mouth. Repeat. If two minutes feels too long to start, try for shorter durations throughout the day. A few breaths sometimes is all that is needed to clear the energy and invite in calm.
Taking the time to find something to be grateful for is a worthy endeavor. Even on the most challenge days, finding three things to be grateful for can shift my perspective and invite in a sense of calm.
Recently in my 100 Day Content Creation Challenge, we discussed gratitude in our role as content creators and writers. One person shared how she finds something to be grateful for the first thing every morning, “before her feet hit the floor”. That practice of starting the day in gratitude invites in the energy she wants for her day.
Another writer shared how he finishes his day with 10 things in that day that he is grateful for. And how that helps reframe his day.
When the overwhelm comes, when you feel down or stretched to your limit, try taking a pause and finding something, anything that you are grateful for. Focus on that for a moment. See how that makes a difference for you.
And if it’s a rainy day or too cold to be outside, open a window or bring the outdoors in, in some way. There is something healing about being outside, breathing in fresh air, feeling the breeze on our skin, hearing the birds and the rustle of the trees…
It speaks to us in a very base level, resets our system, and connects us to the bigger world outside of ourselves. Take a moment to step outside, and be part of the whole.
Connect with Your Pet or Animal Companion
There’s a reason why we have pets, animal companions, and therapy animals. That connection with another living creature who loves us and wants to spend time with us, brings delight and comfort, and calm into our lives. A snuggle with the dog, a cuddle with the cat, some time out with the lambs or the horses… those all help bring calm to us.
My favorite parts of the days are routines I have with our rescue dog Tyla, and our two rescue horses. The authenticity, acceptance, and genuine desire to spend time with me is uplifting, calming, and relaxing. The tactile feeling of petting their coat, petting the warm softness, is reassuring.
Yes, I know they can get wound up. and they are extra responsibility. At one time the animals out numbered the humans here. It is true, there’s work involved in caring for others. And there are also benefits, including the calm and peace of sharing space together.
Seek out Little Bits of Lovely
Invite in Calm by intentionally seeking out, noticing, and appreciating the Little Bits of Lovely that exist in your world. Even on overwhelming and dark days – or especially then – there are bright spots. Little bits of Lovely to be noticed. A pretty flower alongside the road, the beautiful sunset, the hummingbird that came to visit. The water glistening across the pond. The little ducklings gliding across the water after their mother. These tiny little bits that make your heart smile and invites in a moment of calm and sense of beauty and well-being.
Take a few moments to connect spiritually, whatever that means for you. Open up your energy and being to connect with the being or power higher than you. Connecting on a spiritual level help us let go of our worries and stress and invite in the calm. It brings us back to our center, back to what is important. If prayer or mediation isn’t your thing, then pause in stillness and rest in the inner quiet and invite in that feeling of calmness and inner peace.
Listen to Soothing Sounds
While highly subjective to personal taste, listening to soothing sounds – the ocean waves, birds singing, or any other natural sound – can be very calming. Nature sounds are very powerful in bringing calm and peace into our lives. Listening to these tones can help you slow down and relax your minds and body.
Take it one step further, and close your eyes and listen to nature, to help your brain recognize the sense of peace that comes from nature.
Even if you are not in a location where nature sounds are just outside, playing an ambient sound video or a nature sounds video or audio track can elicit the same effect.
For me the sound of water is very soothing, so spending time near a water fountain, water feature, or an indoor table top fountain helps me relax, center, and invite in that sense of calm that I crave.
What ambient or nature sounds quiet your mind and bring that sense of calm?
How about music?
Music is another great way to bring in calm and peace. Also highly personal, music has the ability shift our mood, soothe our soul, and invite in calm. This could be with relaxing melodies or with music that brings calming memories to mind. Keep your favorites on a playlist, so that whenever you feel the need to invite in the calm, your your favorite calming tunes will be at the ready.
Invoke Calming Smell Memories
Odors or smells can trigger powerful memories and responses within our brains. Knowing this, we can invite in the calm simply by scenting odors or smells that we know trigger a calming response. This can be done with candles, essential oils, dried flowers or herbs, wax melts, or anything scent related – even baking bread or cookies!
This is all very personal to you as an individual. For example, I love the scent of Lavender and every spring keep a lavender plant on my deck so I can just pinch off a leaf. While my younger daughter can’t stand the smell of lavender and instead grows lemongrass on the deck so she pinch off a piece any time she wants.
My son introduced me to wax melts as an alternative to candles and we’ve had a great time “scent testing” different wax melts to see which we love. Right now my favorites are “coffee” and “Pancakes and maple syrup” scents.
For candles, I prefer a vanilla scented candle. But there are so many options available. It’s worth experimenting and becoming aware of what scents invoke that sense of calm and peace for you.
Watch the Flames
There’s something magical about watch the flickering flames of a candle or fire. Whether it’s an outdoor fire pit, your fireplace, or a candle, that flickering flame just has the power to mesmerize and relax you. Provided of course you don’t have trauma around fire.)
Even if you don’t have access to fire, or it’s not safe for you to have an open flame – because of family, pets, or where you live – you can still get that flickering flame effect with flameless candles or digital fire video, or wax melt burner that has a fireplace illusion.
We’ve added both a grouping of flameless candles to the top of bookcase in our living room, and a wax melt burner that is shaped like a mini-fireplace. Since doing so, everyone has remarked repeatedly on how much they enjoy the sense of “fire” and how much more relaxing it makes the living room feel.
Personally I really enjoy having the flameless candles on at the end of the day. It’s just a restful and calming way to end the day.
Sometimes the best way to invite in the calm is to let out the overwhelm, the sadness, the doubts, the emotions that are weighing you down or winding you up. My favorite way to do that is through journaling. A quiet space, a blank book, and a pen to just let out what’s in my head, put it on paper and release it.
For me, journaling is also a conversation with the creator, a conversation with myself, a way to think on paper. Just working through the thoughts circling in my head, to make decisions, plan things out in a very rough way. Have a discussion that I can’t have with anyone else. Just the act of working through it with pen and paper, releases stress and churn, and invites in that calm, centered feeling.
The best way to invite calm into your life is personal to you. Part of your individuality. If things feel overwhelming or a bit chaotic, in encourage you to lean into the ideas that appeal to you. Try out new ideas, mix them up, and cultivate calm in your life in a way that works for you.
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Shannon Stoltz is a writer, trainer, and entrepreneur. But her favorite role has been that of work-at-home mom to four fabulous, homeschooled, and now grown, kiddos. Shannon is fascinated with how humans learn, grow, and communicate, and passionate about the importance of embracing our unique gifts, talents, and individuality. She lives in the countryside outside Houston, Texas, with her family, and their menagerie of rescue animals.