Understanding Calmness: The Foundations of Peace
If there's one thing I've learned from my own journey towards inner peace, and believe me it's been a colourful one, it's that true calmness isn't about pretending that you're not rattled when you are. It's not about plastering on a smile while your insides churn like a washing machine on spin cycle. Also, I’ve learned that it's not necessarily related to the external quietness. You can be in the loudest environment with chaos all around you, yet feel completely calm and peaceful inside. No siree, true calmness is an inside job, and it begins with understanding what calmness really is.
Calmness is about being in a state of deep inner peace and serenity, regardless of the situation. It's a state of mental tranquility where your thoughts are clear, and your emotions are in balance. In this state, you are unfazed by the external world. All sounds like a pie in the sky, right? But trust me, I've been there, and it's as real as the sun that shines brightly outside my Melbourne window right now. It's not a myth, and it's not beyond reach. It's attainable for each and everyone one of us. How? Well hang on my dear reader, that's what we're here to unravel.
The Magic of Mindfulness: The First Step Toward Calmness
Mindfulness sounds like a big fancy word and quite honestly, it intimidated me too once upon a time. But it's simple. It's about being present in the moment. Let's be real. We all have millions of thoughts that run through our heads every day. These thoughts lead to a barrage of emotions that have us feeling like we're on a perpetual roller coaster ride. Most times, we get so lost in these thoughts and emotions that we forget to live in the now. We're either regretting the past or worrying about the future. But reality check! The past is history, and the future is a mystery. All we truly have is the present. So why not make the most of it?
Being mindful is about focusing on the present, without judgement. When we're mindful, we're aware of our thoughts and emotions but we don't react or get carried away by them. Mindfulness is about observing these thoughts and emotions objectively. It's like watching a movie of your own thoughts. Once you cultivate this habit of observing your thoughts, you'll notice a remarkable change. You'll find that you're less reactive to situations that might have otherwise left you stressed and anxious. You'll find that you're calmly responding instead of rashly reacting. But how do you cultivate mindfulness? Well, there are several ways, and we'll explore some of them in the sections to come.
Embracing Meditation: The Powerhouse of Peace
Yes, you guessed it right. Meditation is one of the primary ways to cultivate mindfulness and thereby achieve calmness. Remember the time when I blurted out a totally inappropriate joke during a serious meeting because I was in auto-pilot mode and my mind was a million miles away? I would have given anything to have discovered meditation back then. But better late than never, right?
But why meditation? When we meditate, we train our minds to focus. We learn to redirect our thoughts. In the hustle-bustle of the daily grind, our minds rarely get the breather they so genuinely need. Through meditation, we provide our minds with this much-needed respite. There are various types of meditation practices, each unique in its own way, yet all of them leading to the same result: a calm and peaceful mind. Whether you choose mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or mantra meditation, you’ll be amazed at how these practices can significantly increase your inner calmness. Remember, it's not about stopping your thoughts. It's about learning to observe them, without letting them take control of you.
Stop, Drop, and Breathe: The Ultimate Stress Busting Manoeuvre
Breathing, you may say, is a no-brainer. After all, we were born doing it. It's automatic, isn't it? Yes, but that's where the problem lies. Most of us tend to overlook the power of conscious breathing. When we are stressed or anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which additionally heightens our feelings of anxiety. By bringing our attention to our breath, we can actively control it and slow it down, which prompts the body to relax and the mind to calm down.
A fun little hack I use is the 4-7-8 technique. It’s a breathing pattern where you breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven, and breathe out for eights seconds. Believe it or not this simple method works like a charm for me every single time. You can use it anywhere, anytime, as long as you remember to...well, breathe!
Body Loving Endorphin Rush: Get Moving!
What if I told you that there was a magic potion that could almost instantly elevate your mood and make you feel calm and happy? You'd probably think I'd lost my marbles. But there is such a potion. It's called exercise! What's more, you don't need a gym membership for this. Some simple movement can do the trick. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, the feel-good hormones. These natural drugs boost our mood and make us feel blissful.
Exercising regularly can not only help to manage stress but can also improve sleep, enhance self-image, and boost self-esteem. Besides, have you ever observed how a child is always in the moment? It's because he's perpetually in motion. And let's face it. We can all benefit from having that childlike joy and spontaneity back in our lives, can't we? I mean, who wouldn't want to feel like a carefree kid again?
Take Back The Power: A Journey Towards Self-Care
Mindful eating, quality sleep, and maintaining a gratitude journal are some other methods that can help you to remain calm and composed. Mindful eating not only helps you to savour your food but also makes your meals a more relaxing experience. Quality sleep has a significant bearing on your stress levels, mood, concentration, and overall mental well-being. Maintaining a gratitude journal helps to shift your focus from what's wrong in your life to what's right, thereby promoting positivity.
It's your life, your peace, and your calmness at stake. It's up to you to take charge and make these mindful changes in your life. Being a lifelong sceptic, I was very apprehensive about all of these practices in the beginning. But once I decided to open my mind and give it a go, it changed my life for the better. I am at peace, I am calmer, and I am happier. And I believe that if you embrace these practices with an open mind and heart, you'll experience the same. So, are you ready to embark on this journey towards a calmer and more peaceful you?