How to Keep Calm and Carry On
Many of us are perhaps experiencing feelings of anxiety, helplessness or lack of control at this unprecedented time in our world’s history. Trying to remain calm may be difficult for you but know that you aren’t alone in these feelings.
Why Take the Time to Meditate?
We’ve all been forced to slow down – many of us have been constantly running on empty as we take on more and more, our lives get busier and busier to the point that we don’t know how to relax any more! This is the perfect time in our lives to stop, take a step back and learn the simple practice of meditation so when the world picks up to it’s crazy times again, we’ll be more prepared.
Meditation or simple relaxation techniques can ease anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed, enabling us to carry on with our daily lives in a more relaxed manner.
Some short-term benefits of relaxation or meditation are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved blood circulation
- Lower heart rate
- Less perspiration
- Slower respiratory rate
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- More feelings of well-being
- Less stress
- Deeper relaxation
Simple Meditation Techniques
Start by checking in with your body
Find a quiet spot to start your meditation – ideally at the same time every day to get your mind settled into a routine. Either sit comfortably, or lie down, then close your eyes. Now pay attention to how your body is feeling – do you have aches and pains? Adjust your posture to feel the most comfortable. Use your senses and listen to the sounds around you, notice also the sensations of smell and taste. Take note of your breathing pattern – are you breathing shallowly or slow and deep? This first step helps increase our mindfulness of being in the present.
Slow your breathing
Now, start to slow your breathing by focusing on taking deeper breaths. Any thoughts that appear, just take note of them then return your thoughts to the breath. Focus on your breathing and you will notice your body will become stiller and calmer.
Regulating our breath allows us to regulate the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn, relaxes us. Practicing deep breathing like this enables you to manage any overwhelming emotions of fear or anxiety as they appear.
While you are in stillness and relaxation, imagine a good experience that will make you feel refreshed or full of hope. Imagine how it makes you feel and use these positive feelings to calm and recharge yourself. Take your time to figure out what will make your cup feel full again.
When you are ready, bring your breathing back to your normal breath pattern and start to wiggle your fingers and toes, begin to move again and slowly sit or stand up. Enjoy the feelings of calm and relaxation you’ve just gained.
Time is a gift that we need to learn to use well to benefit our daily well-being so we are showing up as our best selves for ourselves and for others.
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