11 Easy Ways to Calm the F Down

I’m tired all the time.I am not sleeping well.

I worry so much.

I just want to be happier.

I feel like my life is passing me by.

All comments I hear from almost every single client who has ever had the courage to walk into my therapy office. These are also comments I hear from just about all of my friends and family on a regular basis.

As a true educator and mental health therapist I have a usual first recommendation for just about every single client and my loved ones: self-care.

So much of our lives will be improved by working on self-care, however most of us are not choosing to make the time to practice it daily. Self-care that includes a morning and nighttime routine, exercise, proper nutrition, supplementation, water intake, meditation and true talk therapy, especially talking about shame and fear must be practiced daily.

We cannot give from an empty well.

Practicing self-care fills up our well.

The biggest eye rolls and groans I ever get?

That, of course, would be whenever I mention the word meditation.

Despite the growing research and popularity of meditation it, unfortunately, is still far from a household name, let alone a daily practice.

The biggest complaints about meditation being:

I don’t have time to meditate!

I can’t get my brain to shut off!

I don’t know how!

My responses to these complaints, right after, “I know, it can feel so hard!” are:

Meditating will actually help you to feel like you have more time and energy!

It is really more about focusing and freeing your mind than shutting it off!

There are so many ways to try!

I practice what I teach and have meditated more days than not the last four years despite being wired as someone who will never be naturally meditative and calm.

As my new acupuncturist asked me a few weeks ago, “Do you consider yourself pretty Type A?”

To which my response was a scoffing and owning, “Um, yes!”

“You’re pretty intense aren’t you?” he asked.

“I am. I like it. I’ve learned to manage it and I don’t want you to take it away,” I proudly stated back.

Type A, intense or passionate, no matter how you describe it, it is one of my best qualities.

It can also be the quality that kills me if I am not careful.

Our strengths can become our weaknesses, and so I’ve learned to manage my intensity with my self-care practices, and especially with my mediation practices. The most helpful way I have stuck with my meditations is to have a toolbox of different ways and resources to meditate.

Because I have chosen to find some way to meditate most days, my sleep, mood, presence, immunity and happiness are all much improved!

Here are some of my favorite resources to get you started as well, give me five to ten minutes every day for the next 21 days using one of these techniques:

  1. Color in an adult coloring book. I love Johanna Basford.
  2. Use an app like: HeadSpace (my personal favorite), OMG I Can Meditate, Calm, Mindvalley Academy 6 Phase Meditation (my new favorite) or Oprah and Deepak’s app.
  3. Watch a candle flame.
  4. Use an scented essential oil, rub it on your hands and wrists and sit quietly, when you get distracted smell your wrists and refocus your mind.
  5. Listen to the same instrumental song every single day. Breathe by Stanton Lanier is my favorite.
  6. Search a guided meditation on YouTube.
  7. Use a mantra. For example: I am calm or I am loved or Love (in breath), Peace (out breath). Repeat it over and over.
  8. Chanting like from Gabby Bernstein’s YouTube channel.
  9. Try acupuncture.
  10. Count your breaths, inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4 and so on. Only count to 10 then start back at 1. Repeat for ten minutes
  11. A real time feedback tool, my favorite is Muse. Muse provides you with nature sounds for feedback, such as birds chirping when you are in the calm state.
 
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So sit your @ss down and try one of these meditations for ten minutes every single day.

Challenge accepted?

I bet you feel a difference for the better, and if you don’t let me know.

But, I’ll probably tell you to try again with a different tool.

It is all about being open to new things and finding what works for you.

Go out my intense, passionate, Type A warriors and find the glory of calm.

~~~

The only affiliate link above is Muse. By purchasing Muse through this link you get 15% off the purchase price and I make a small commission. All the other links are simply because I love their work and have found them helpful in my journey.

***Contains Amazon Affliliate links.

Choosing to Make the Time

Today I am part of the Rewired Life Blog Tour, where we are all exploring and digging deeper in the concepts of Loving yourself, Healing your body and mind, and Celebrating life. Click here to read all of the other amazing bloggers!!! ~~~

Four years ago my life fell apart and together all at once.

And every day since, I've fought, white knuckled, practiced and chosen my life in recovery.

There is not much like a failed infertility journey, three lost babies and the darkness of grief, anger and general life-isn't-fair-and-I'm-the-victim to get you deep in the darkness.

And still, I believe, we must realize that it is always a choice.

A choice to be a victim to life, a victim to what has happened, what has been done, the losses. traumas and tragedies or a choice to overcome through choosing how to respond to it and redefining ourselves and our lives.

Just a week ago one of my clients said,

I know you are so, so busy. How do you do it? How do you still do all the self-care?

With ownership of my own work I responded,

I make the time. No one has time for anything extra in their lives. We are all busy, too busy. We must choose to make the time for what we want and need in our lives. My happiness and sanity ride on me choosing daily self-care.

She responded with a bit of exasperation in her voice,

But when do you do it? How do you find the time?

Four years into my practice of fighting for my redefined happy life it is easy to instruct someone on this work,

I think good and doable self-care is 3-5 things every morning and 3-5 things every night before you go to sleep that you make the time for. Some days it is a complete struggle and I must force myself. I force myself because those choices are aligned with who I want to be. Other days those choices are natural and easy, but this is also years into my journey.

She replies,

And, you still do it all? Every day?

With authentic honesty I reply,

Pretty much very damn day.

There must come a point for us all that we have had enough. Enough of feeling miserable. Enough of being busy with things we don't care about or that don't make us happy.

Enough.

The hardest part of reaching that state of enough is that it means finding the time and space to add more to your life. One more thing, that we already feel like we cannot possibly fit in. Except that one more thing is finally choosing to make the time to change our lives through taking care of ourselves.

 
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My daily choices to choose the life I want through my self-care has not only saved me from the darkness that follows when life doesn't turn out how you hoped and dreamed, but it has opened me up to receive the life filled with dreams I never even imagined.

So I challenge you, what can you add to the start of your day and the end of your day, every single day, that will fill you up?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Color! Adult coloring are not only a fad, the relaxing and creativity building effects of them are being more and more supported in the research.

Meditate! Some of my favorite resources are the Headspace app, The Tapping Solution or using a song or a scent.

Intentional reading! A devotional of some kind, does not have to be religious necessarily. My favorites are anything by Sarah Young (Christian) and Panache Desai'sFinding Your Soul Signature.

Journal! Write about your day, the peaks and valleys and most especially finish it with a gratitude. I prefer 1-3 things that I am grateful for (they have to be different every day). Then I write 3-5 sentences about why I am grateful for one of those things.

Write! Set a timer and write for five minutes based on a random writing prompt you find online.

Walk! Specifically, walk outside in nature and practice presence. How many shades of green do you see? What do you smell? Do you feel the wind?

Read! Especially at night before you go to sleep, read a real book!

Hobby! Do, practice or create something that gets you excited and makes you curious. For me, it is gardening, raising monarch butterflies and volunteering.

Gratitude! It is the single most important and life changing skill for getting out of this thriving and not only surviving.

~~~

Yesterday we heard from Yogi Tish over at her blog Ocho Brazos Yoga.

Coming Monday we get to hear from Dan Mason over at Creative Soul Coaching.

Finally, don't miss a free sample chapter of Rewired Life by my friend Audrey Michel here.