Much like the ocean
It’s unrealistic to expect calm all the time. Life will always have its ups and downs—unexpected twists that bring highs, lows, and everything in between. Whether it’s a day bursting with excitement or one that brings a lot of anxiety, finding practices that bring a sense of calm creates a center of balance we can return to when we’re experiencing big thoughts or feelings. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding calm. What matters is being curious and patient to find approaches that work for you.
Take it a few breaths at a time.
Join meditation and mindfulness teacher Neil D’Astolfo for a short, calming breathing exercise.
Use this meditation from Headspace to reset your day and feel calmer and more connected to yourself.
Pressing pause can reset our perspective.
Quick Tips On Calm
Find Your Calm
Think about what helps clear your mind and ease your tension when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s different for all of us, and it can range from meditation or working out to music or calling a friend. A great way to observe what brings you calm is through journaling. Try spending a few minutes each night reflecting on your day and thinking about the moments you felt the most calm and balanced. What were you doing? Who were you with? What were you thinking about? Use this as a blueprint to create a set of calming practices.
Tune In to Slow Down
When our thoughts are racing, it isn’t always easy to keep up with them or slow them down. Many people find music to be an effective tool for quieting and soothing the mind. Maybe there’s a genre or artist that feels especially calming to you. One way to be proactive is to create playlists of songs you find calming or relaxing so you have it on standby whenever you need it. You can also search for “calm” or “relaxation” on music platforms like Spotify to find curated playlists of music that was created to help people unwind and feel calmer.
Sit Down and Lean In
We have a tendency to push away thoughts or feelings that feel big or negative. Ignoring the hard stuff may feel good for a moment, but it’s hard to feel calm when we’re actively trying to ignore something. A powerful meditation approach is to focus on your breath and, when those difficult thoughts or feelings come in, gently acknowledge them, show yourself and others involved some compassion, and gently return your focus to your breath. Sitting with those difficult feelings often is more calming than pretending they’re not there.
Use the Pause Button
Our bodies are trained to react when a person, situation, or thought brings up stress or anxiety. We kick into fight, flight, or freeze mode, and that changes how we think, respond, and act. That often means overreacting or lashing out, which can make the situation worse. Instead, when you feel youranxiety or stress shoot up, take it as a signal to press pause and lean on a practice or tool that helps you calm down. When you’re more settled, you can decide what to do or say next.
Talk It Out
There are plenty of days when finding a sense of calm is hard to pull off on our own. Sometimes just telling somebody that we’re struggling or articulating what is making us feeling unbalanced or overwhelmed can bring on a huge sense of relief. You can start by talking to a friend or trusted family member. Therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals can also be incredibly helpful, because they are trained to help us talk through challenging thoughts and feelings and develop tools and practices to feel calmer.
Need Help Now?
If you or a friend are struggling and need to talk to someone, you are not alone. There are many free, confidential resources available 24/7.