Cultivating Peace for Better Days
Hello Dear Readers! I hope you’re all staying cool and finding some fun this summer, despite the strange circumstances we find ourselves in.
I am grateful to have been able to partake in what summer has offered this season, but it has required intentional thought and planning to keep the focus on moving forward, especially in a time when inertia seems the easiest course.
Speaking of stillness, this morning, after meditation, I was enjoying a cup of coffee on my porch. I spent some time watching a bunny, chipmunk, squirrel and several birds of varying colors enjoy the sunshine and seed in my backyard. It was a little slice of heaven. This is a far cry from the post-apocalyptic dream that woke me at 4 am. Have you been experiencing some of these extremes, Dear Reader? From what I hear from my friends, this is our new normal. So if you have or even if you haven’t had these same high’s and low’s, I’m here to offer you some ways to deal with inertia, healthily, and add more stillness to your daily living.
One of my areas of specialty in coaching is helping people incorporate mindfulness into their everyday lives. Focusing on the present moment is an effective way to get connected to your body and see what shenanigans your mind is up to. Why is that even a thing, you may ask? Well, imagine if I had continued to reflect on my nightmare well past my wake up time? I could have allowed myself to drift into a dark world of hopelessness and fear, that would have bled into my entire day and morosely colored my mood. Instead, I focused on my breath, cleared my mind, and communed with nature. Those were all conscious decisions, which allowed me to bring more peace than stress intentionally into my present moment.
Let’s shed some light on your day, Dear Reader, and get you feeling more peaceful!
Tips for Promoting Peace
Physical: doing some stretches, going for a walk, or finding a way to get active each day for as little as 20 minutes can help you calm your body and mind. I like to go for walks in green places and get my dose of Vitamin D just about every day of the week. If 20 minutes seems daunting, do a few stretches while in a chair. Lift your arms over your head, roll your neck and shoulders and open your jaw wide a few times. This will help you remember that you are more than just a brain!
Mental: Right now, while you’re reading this, I would like you to look inside your mind and notice the voice in there. Now, you might think “but that’s silly, I don’t have a voice in my head” and THAT is precisely the voice I’m talking about! We have a constant narrative going on inside our heads, that interprets and judges the world around us. It’s a natural part of being human, but it is also something that can stress us out. If you take some time in your day to look inside and notice your narrative, I can guarantee you will find that some of the time this might be creating stress for you. Maybe you’re replaying an argument you had with your child. Maybe you’re fretting about an upcoming trip to the grocery store. When you actively notice a “story” going on in there, you can end that story or at the very least, realize what you’re doing and acknowledge that it’s just that: a story. Once you know what it is, you can actively focus on something else more positive. Or better yet, take a few deep breaths and say “thank you mind, for sharing,” then go about your business.
Spiritual: What brings you joy? Time in nature? Time with your dog? Maybe you love a loud rock song? Are you someone who feels most inspired when you’re creating? Spend a little time each day (even five minutes) actively adding capital to your joy bank. This is something that we often forget to do as we rush from task to task. But when we have a healthy amount of joy in our days (i.e. cultivate the positive), we can weather the storms of life with more ease and grace.
BONUS: Take a break from social media and television. YUP. I said it. Do you need those hourly updates about case numbers? Do you need to see that footage of the angry person in the grocery store? There are things we can control and things we cannot. Watching nonstop news doesn’t make things different, and it could be stressing you out. If you need to know what’s happening, how about at least breaking it up with a cute cat video or one of my favorites: a laughing baby montage. We live in a world where we are super-connected, Dear Reader, and it would be virtually impossible to miss something big, so give the screen a break and give yourself a little more peace today!