It’s not easy to stay calm; we’re living in a stressful time.
You might be worried, anxious and tense. Dwelling on something long in the past or worrying about something you couldn’t possibly predict.
I like this quote from John Newton:
“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.”
Or the short version – live life in the present, moment by moment!
These are just a couple of techniques that help me to refocus when I’m starting to stress out.
The simplest thing to do is to focus on your breath for a couple of minutes.
You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel afterwards!
Get comfortable, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for four counts.
Hold it for one.
Now breathe out through your mouth slowly for eight counts.
Repeat until you feel ready to open your eyes again.
(If needed, adjust the counts to suit you – just remember the out counts should be double the in counts).
At the same time, scan your body – is your jaw tight? Are your shoulders raised? Relax them.
Sitting at a window is nice for this one, but anywhere at all will work.
Sit down with your feet planted firmly on the floor.
Start by naming seven things you can see. Name them either in your head or out loud – a tree, a car, a flower, a wall etc.
You don’t need to add judgement or description.
Next, what five things can you can hear? A bird? A lawnmower?
Now what can you smell? Perhaps you have something baking or you’ve sprayed some perfume. Name four if you can.
Then, what can you feel? The floor under your feet? The texture of your clothes? Name three.
And finally name one thing you can taste.
By using all five senses, you bring yourself back to the here and now and hopefully it helps to break the chain of thoughts that led you to worrying.
Practise makes perfect
Don’t feel bad if your thoughts start to wander again (it’s only human)!
As soon as you notice your brain overthinking, just try again.
Feeling calm? For more health and wellbeing tips from “The People’s Friend”, click here.