“Just calm down.”
For many, being truly calm is easier said than done. Our minds are often bogged down with worry, anxiety, and fear. The onslaught of information and messages coming through our digital devices doesn’t exactly help the situation.
You might think that a time when humanity is thriving like never before would increase our capacity to stay calm. Most of us can intuitively see, however, that “calm” is not so easy to come by.
Nevertheless, a state of calm is a worthwhile pursuit. When your mind is calm, you can think more clearly. You have a greater capacity to be kind and tolerant of others. Your body is free from an overabundance of stress hormones and can function better. Your mind is also more relaxed and available to receive inspiration and wisdom.
A calm person will be less prone to making mistakes and bad decisions or behaving in a way that becomes cause for regret. A calm person can more easily take in the present moment, appreciate the little things, and get more joy out of life. A calm person can experience peace.
If you struggle to stay calm, you’re certainly not alone. Here are some ideas to consider.
When we talk about calm, we’re talking about a state of mind. So, the pursuit of calmness is an inside job.
Look within yourself and begin to notice the thoughts that keep you from feeling calm. It may be helpful to keep a journal and write them down.
What worries you? What are you afraid of? What anger are you holding on to? What bothers you? What makes you feel anxious? What judgments swirl in your mind?
Consider External Factors
While this is an inside job, there may be external factors in your life that are hindering your ability to experience calm. Audit your environment and your lifestyle.
Is your living space a mess? Are you eating right? Do you have a regular sleep cycle and rhythm? Do you smoke? How much alcohol do you consume? Are you dealing with an addiction? Are your closest relationships healthy? Have you overextended yourself financially or overcommitted your time?
Note that all of these factors are within your power to change. Also note that all of the above are symptoms of something you’ll hopefully uncover in the previous exercise.
As you continue to dig into the factors that prevent you from being calm, aim to let go of as many of them as possible. They are not a permanent part of you. You can let them go.
For example, if you find that you’re harboring anger at someone, try to simply let it go. Lay down the anger, forgive the person in your heart, relinquish any need for an apology or response from that person, and choose to no longer walk around with anger. It’s hurting you, after all.
Letting go can be powerful.
What else can you let go of? Consider your fears, expectations, personal preferences, wishes, pursuits, jealousies, dislikes, and worries. Are they serving you? What if you decided to just let them go?
Meditation is a powerful practice that has been known for centuries for its countless benefits—not the least of which is an increasingly calm mind.
Find a practice that works for you and be very patient with yourself. Those who stick with meditation and practice consistently are usually glad they did. It’s worth a try.
Notice Moments of Calm
When you do find yourself in a calm state, notice the many benefits you experience. True calmness is a wonderful feeling. Keep working on yourself and aim for increasing calm.