What does feeling calm mean to you? To some it may mean feeling anything that provides a break from anxiety or feeling a sense of peace deep within.
To me, calm means feeling free. Able to make choices without being dictated to by other emotions or racing thoughts. I find calm can be equated with balance for me personally. When I feel balanced, I feel my energy is flowing freely and I have a good sense of wellbeing. That feels like calm.
Of course the idea of calm is subjective as perhaps calm to one person is how they feel during a busy day that I would not finding calming at all! I think we can all agree though that a state of feeling calm is where we feel relaxed and at ease.
So how to reach this seemingly elusive state? In this blog I’m going to share five ways that I use to calm myself and that I use in my wellbeing groups. These have definitely worked for me personally and for the lovely people I work with. I hope you find some comfort in them too!
Five Ways to Find Calm Now:
If you are feeling the opposite of calm, then first of all well done for noticing! Many of us trail blaze through our days on emotional roller coasters without actually noticing how we feel at any given moment. So if you are aware that you’re not feeling the calmness that you’d like, then that is a huge step into moving towards a calm state.
Firstly notice how you’re feeling without changing it or judging it, simply observing as if you were a third person. This can take practice as we are often so ruled by our emotional states. We don’t have to be though and by doing this exercise often, we can get better as noticing our feelings. Different philosophical schools call this by different names. One is “Photographing” as discussed in the Michael Teachings. In Gurdjieff’s work which he called “The Fourth Way” it is “self- observation” and he stated that we are so driven by our emotions that we can’t make true decisions for ourselves. His technique to break this was to pause and observe the self.
Perhaps have a notebook to hand and write down what you feel, seeing if you come to any other observations as you do so.
I’m sure you’ve spotted that most of my wellbeing lists have “Breathe” on them, but my blog is called Breathe with Bexi! I love how transformative working with our breath can be. It’s a free, simple way to change our state of feeling. Once you’ve noticed and observed your emotions, now you can breathe more deeply. Beginning to slow down the breath. Perhaps engaging in some formal breath work or Pranayama. Simply slowing the breath is extremely beneficial though.
3. Do Something You Love
Do you find that when you’re stressed you tend to forget about all the things that make you happy? I have been there and sometimes didn’t sing or play guitar for weeks, even though these are some of the reasons I get up each day feeling excited! Stress causes mental confusion and messes with our motivation factors so we forget about the things that keep us well.
Returning to activities you love is a great way to bring calm and joy back into your life. Specifically if you have an activity that brings you into a state of flow- this is a state where time flows and you don’t notice it in the same way you do when you’re enduring a situation. Flow is a beautiful way to be in as you’re so engaged with what you’re doing you are almost in an active meditation. Great activities to achieve this are painting, DIY, gardening, playing music and reading.
4. Stay Away From What You Don’t Love
I much prefer to give positive statements but sometimes it’s helpful to point out what not to be doing if you want to feel calm. Working with the observations in #1 perhaps link the emotions with what you were doing at the time that compounded them. I do believe that we can learn to feel calm in any situation and that our own inner emotions don’t have to be affected by the outside world, but this takes practice and so until that skill is embedded, it’s helpful to identify situations that leave you less than calm and see if there are any changes that can be made there.
Work, family, living situations are the most common stressors as these are situations we are immersed in and can find it difficult to see a way out of them but by practicing that idea of stepping back and viewing as a third person, we can gain a clearer perspective of how we can make alterations to improve our situations.
5. Get Out in Nature
This is my go to for when I’m not feeling calm. It’s ironic as sometimes nature can be the least calm place to be- tumultuous waves at the beach, frantic squirrels chasing each other, stormy trees bending- and yet it always retains a sense that everything will still work out perfectly.
Perhaps that’s a lesson from nature, it’s ok to have moments of chaos as long as we know the calm is always there as a bassline, soothing us back to our balanced state.
I truly hope this post is helpful to you! I’ll be following with a video on my YT channel also called “Breathe with Bexi” so please have a peek there and see what I get up to on my walks each week!
Best wishes and deep breaths,