So, What did you accomplish in 2020?
Yeah, we get it, it’s the end of the year and we are supposed to be gearing up for happy holidays and festive parties with loved ones. Celebrating our wins for the current year. Ending one season, while we look towards the future! Like a choose your own adventure book.
Blah blah blah, bah-humbug.
Like my niece calls frantic Halloween shopping on Halloween afternoon before we have a party we didn’t really plan for until the last 24 hours – 2020 has been a bust. If your family is still with you, and you haven’t lost your job or your home, count it all joy. However, chances are you also didn’t have much ability (literally, regardless of desire or finances) to accomplish much more of your dreams in 2020 than a #staycation during #stayhomestaysafe and learning to crash-course home-school.
Sure, some of us had an amazing year. Some had huge changes that were positive amidst the grey skies all around us. But for the most part, it’s been hard and tumultuous for all of us. You get the participation ribbon and you survived. Not a huge celebration, but it’s not the worst it could be.
Que Sera, Sera
It is what it is. Which is a world outside of our selves, twisting in directions we don’t always choose but must always adapt and maneuver within. And although THIS year is almost over, the challenges and stresses we have faced will still linger after the ball drops into the next.
But our own mind, our inner world – that is our locus of control. We choose the direction of our thoughts, our reactions, our values, our battles, our surrenders. We can choose to be calm amidst the chaos. Remembering we may be “in” this world, but not always “of” it. You choose.
5 Methods to Create Calm
So, when feeling stressed or anxious here are 5 simple, quick, and free methods to help harness your chi and ground yourself back into your own peace and serenity.
This one works best with another human present, but it can be done solo or even with your favorite fur-buddy.
Grab your special someone, and wrap your arms around them. Simultaneously, take a deep breath in slowly and evenly and hold for a few seconds, and slowly release. Focus on your and your partner’s breathing and tightening embrace as you repeat 2 more times. If you are solo, hug yourself tight and do the same, centering on your own rhythm.
Slow, intentional, and deep breathing lowers the heart rate and reduces stress. Deep breathing allows the brain to receive more oxygen and triggers the nervous system to calm down. Interpersonal synchronization has also been shown to increase dopamine as well as act as an analgesic (pain killer).
Choose Acceptance and Grace…
I have come to appreciate more holistic forms of treatment for a variety of issues. Some physical, some psychological. After years of medications with a plethora of possible side effects, I prefer the simplest and least chemically derived options whenever practical. The best way to show yourself love and grace is to find healing paths that work for you.
Tapping is one I highly recommend if you are looking for a step by step and scientifically sound method to help deal with the more mental or habitual side of the dis-ease spectrum.
Tapping interrupts the current brain process (in this case: stress or anxiety) and re-directs the body and brain simultaneously. Your thoughts are focused on a mantra or script, while you tap specific points along the meridian of your body.
The practice is simple. Start with acknowledging the stressor or issue, ending with acceptance and self love.
An example set up statement for when you feel overwhelmed: “Even though I feel stress from _____, I love and accept myself.”
Begin by tapping along your outer palm as you say your “set up statement” 3 times. Then continue tapping rhythmically thru the remaining body points in the sequence while you vent and say how you feel. Ending the sequence feeling more at ease. The language is less important, it’s more about centering your mind around that fact that you are safe and able to relax.
Here is a basic 9-point sequence:
- along outer side of hand, just below the pinky
- inner point of eyebrow (either eye)
- side of eye along same eyebrow
- underneath the eye
- under your nose
- middle chin (the dip between lips and chin protrudes)
- along collar bone (about where a bowtie would sit)
- along your rib cage, about a hands width below your armit
- finally, the top of your head
Repeat as you wish.
Choose to Take a Moment…
Say what you want about movies and over the top action comedies, but Bad Boyz II got at least one thing right. Ear lobes have a powerful connection to the rest of the nervous system. The “woosah” mantra isn’t scientific, but it helps keep your brain occupied while your nervous system can work on releasing stress.
Whether you pull, rub, twist, sqeeze, or whatever works for you – inducing the pressure points sends happy signals to your whole system.
In the middle of a long line at the grocery store and someone arguing on the phone behind you? Grab your earlobe with your thumb running along the back side in the crease of your ear. Gently use your thumb to stroke the back of your ear for a few moments. Or try rubbing your upper ear between your thumb and index finger back and forth.
Play with a few methods, see what works and feels comfortable. Within seconds it starts to work. The outside stressors may still be there, but your inner physiology sends the signals your brain and body need to embrace the calm.
Choose to Be Still…
This one I have shared before in another article here on our blog, and it is still one of my go-to mantras anytime I need a “time out” from the world. I can be driving my car in heavy traffic late for an appointment or trying to fix something at the house that is super frustrating.
There is truth and peace in each line of this simple meditation. Intentionally read and FEEL each line as a separate statement. Out loud, or silently to yourself. Pause and take a deep slow breath between lines. Bringing yourself back to the present, embracing the simplicity of “being”.
Be Still and Know.
Be Still and Know I Am.
Choose to Be LOUD…
Sometimes bringing peace and calm is a bit counter-intuitive. Sometimes we cannot create calm simply by slowing our mind and centering our thoughts. When frustration or anger or fear is so edgingly on the surface, LET IT OUT!
It’s not always possible or helpful to suffocate or press down raw emotions. We know crying is sometimes therapeutic and cathartic. So is a good, loud scream. Within reason and preferably outside of earshot, of course.
Close your eyes and visualize your mental enemy. Scream and yell till your heart’s content!
Get it all out, tossing it out into the ether of the universe. And let it go!
(Caution: if anyone is in earshot, give them a quick heads up to not worry if they hear something strange in a moment.)
Sometimes the simplest things are true. Choose what works for you. Allow yourself the space and time to take care of your inner sanctum.