1. Return to Your Breath
This is a very simple, yet powerful way to find calm. Plus, it is easy to take with you, no matter where you go. To Return to your breath, begin by watching your breath. Next, take fuller breaths, first filling your belly fully and eventually, filling from your belly all the way up to your clavicle (collar bones) with breath. Continue to watch each inhale and each exhale.
2. Practice the Relaxation Response for 5 – 20 minutes
The Relaxation Response is a technique outlined by Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School who researched the power of meditation. He was so impressed by his findings that he went on to form the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. He has written many mind-body books that are worth the read.
3. Practice a sitting or moving meditation
This can include a sitting meditation, yoga, qigong, tai chi, or even jogging if it helps you find your “zone.”
Actually, let’s not call it exercise, let’s call it movement. How ever you like to play, go play. Walk, jog, canoe, kung fu, cross-fit, how-ever you like to play, do it!
5. Get out of your head
Focus intensely on something that is in the here and now and that is pleasing to you. This can be something as simple as watching the clouds in the sky, really looking at a tree and exploring its bark and limbs, observing an animal.
6. Keep the logical part of your brain busy
Make the logical part of your brain work. You can count backwards from 100 to zero, do math problems, or find a fun puzzle book. Keep that smarty pants brain busy and out of trouble.
7. Take time to listen
Listen to the birds outside, the sound of cars whizzing by or put on headphones, lay back and tune into really enjoyable music or a podcast.
8. Yoga Nidra
Download a guided visualization or Yoga Nidra track and enjoy the peaceful journey.
9. Observe your senses
What intake information are you receiving from your sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste taking in right now?
10. Be Silly
Practice something fun or silly, like balancing on one leg or balancing something on the tip of your finger. Maybe now is a good time to take up juggling.
11. Do a hobby
If you have a hobby, focus intently on it. If you don’t have a hobby, try something new out and throw yourself into experiencing it.
12. Create an invisible bubble
In your head, visualize a big bubble around you keeping anyone or anything that is annoying you, such as a boss, outside the bubble. Inside the bubble, picture yourself inhaling incredibly fresh air, enjoying the temperature and feeling in a very special and peaceful place. You can decorate your space to feel peaceful or if you prefer, feel free to stick your tongue out or flip-off your annoying boss. Remember to keep the potentially offensive visualization inside your head, while letting only your giant smile emerge on the outside.
13. Journal about your day
Write about happy moments and about what is threatening your calm in elaborate detail. Explore why you feel the way you do about it. If you are afraid someone will read it, put it through a shredder as soon as you are done.
14. Write a story
Write a fantasy story full of details and plenty of adjectives. Picture the scene as you write.
15. Listen to running water
I personally like my cats’ stainless steel water fountain, or woodland streams, and rain storms with the leaves dancing in the wind.
16. Take an Epsom salt bath
Feel free to add your favorite bubbles or scents. Keep away from mints, eucalyptus, or anything else that might irritate parts that don’t need irritating.
17. Go get a massage
Massages release both tension and toxins from your body. Be sure to drink plenty of water and if you have not had one in a long time, give yourself a good rest afterwards. If the budget is tight, try a foot soak followed by massaging your feet with a good lotion or oil. You can also use a tennis ball or golf ball to massage your back, feet, arms, etc…
18. Read a book
Be it a book you enjoyed in the past or perhaps a new book by your favorite author, take the time to enjoy the story. Alternatively, if your getaway is a movie or TV show, do that!
19. Hug a tree
While you are there, observe the bark and texture. Picture your woes being sucked down into the ground by the tree’s roots.
20. Take action or decide to let it go
This can be challenging, but it can be done. Take a good hard look at whatever is bothering you, decide if it is worth being bothered about, if it is, decide to skip the stress and take action instead. If it isn’t worth an action, let it sail out to sea.
I’d love to hear what you do to reclaim your calm. Post in the comments below!