What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? So said William Henry Davies in 1911. More than 100 years have passed and no truer lines were written to reflect our present lives. The world of today is a deadline chasing one where everyone is just continuously on the move.
Stress is defined as any alteration within or outside of the human body, that causes emotional, physical, and psychological strain. The degree of strain depends upon your ability to cope up with the altered situation.
There is an intricate relationship between stress and your overall well-being. The more you get overwhelmed with the everyday stress around you, the more adversely your physical and mental health is impacted.
A calmer minded is a clearer mind
Stress has become a 24X7 experience in today’s age. We wake up with a stressed mind, go through the entire day, and take the stress with us when we hit the bed at night.
Continuously living with stress wears your body down in a multitude of ways and impacts your decision-making ability. When stress tightly coiled around your mind, you react instead of responding to the situation.
Stress also deeply hinders your ability to look at the bigger picture. The calmer the mind, the greater is your focus and awareness of your surrounding. A calm mind is a hub of all things positive and creative.
A step towards keeping your mind calm
Cultivating a calmer mind is both an art and a science. There are several techniques and practices that help you cultivate a mind that is calmer and less agitated.
1. Deep breathing
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” —Thích Nhất Hạnh”
Your breathing is a crucial indicator of your overall health. It is the first thing that alters when you are under stress. It becomes quicker and shallower vis-a-vis your normal breathing pattern. Shallower breathing sends a signal to your brain to carry on with your fight-or-flight response. Deeper, calmer breathing impedes the fight-or-flight response and helps your mind to relax.
Regulating your breathing aids in generating a calming response in your body. There are various breathing techniques that you can adopt to manage your stress and calm your mind.
If you are a beginner in the world of breathing exercises, start with the easiest one. Inhale deeply and hold it to the count of four and then exhale up to the same count.
2. Compassion and kindness towards others
Being kind to strangers is the best way to give back to society. Being of service to others is one of the most profound ways to maintain and nurture connections with fellow humans. These random acts of kindness release dopamine, a happy hormone that ultimately boosts your mood and helps keep your mind calm.
Helping a stranger cross the road or carrying a young mother’s baby in the store while she fishes out her credit card may seem insignificant but they have a deep impact on your mind.
3. Connect with nature
Connecting with nature has therapeutic value for your holistic wellbeing. Take time out from your busy schedule and take a walk in the nearest garden. While you are taking a stroll, pay attention to what is happening around you- feel the air and inhale the fragrance of the flowers.
You could even choose a quiet corner in a garden, take deep breaths and let your mind feel calm and refreshed.
4. Relax your body
A relaxed body houses a relaxed mind. When your mind is relaxed, it’s as if a cloud covering your mind has been lifted. With the cloud gone, you begin to think clearer and sharper.
Meditation is fast gaining ground as an important technique for stress management and a calmer mind. It takes your body and mind in a deep state of relaxation ebbing the tension away. However, it is just one way.
Doing light stretches and yoga are also effective in keeping your boy relaxed . Choosing a quiet corner and reading your favorite book or a hot shower at the end of an exhausting day will also help you feel relaxed. Mix some Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet in for a good night’s sleep.
Visualization is a powerful tool in calming your mind. It allows you to remove all negative energy around it and focus on the action that will help achieve what you desire. When you create a mental picture of what calmness would do to you, it would prove as a reference point for every time you are agitated.
Combining your breathing exercise with the visualization technique is a potent way to train your mind to stay calm. As you inhale, imagine calmness descending on every cell of your body and enveloping you in a warm, peaceful hug.
While you exhale, visualize that that stress is slowly leaving every pore of your body. All this while, hold on to the mental image of yourself as a calm person.
6. Never lose the bigger picture
It’s easy to lose your perspective when your thoughts are jumbled up. Calmness is not about running away from the situation, it is about facing it with a clear mind. Stress leads to negative emotions like anger, fear and anxiety.
As a result oftentimes we take an impulsive decision that might be detrimental for us. Identifying the source of your stress is the biggest step towards finding a solution. Keeping the bigger picture in sight helps you keep your mind calm.
A calm mind is all about training your mind to effectively deal with a stressful situation. Resilience doesn’t mean an eternal state of happiness but an ability to deal with the storm and emerge stronger when the storm passes away.