Guest Blog Post from Ellie Foden – founder of The Daily Quiet, with her tips to bring calm to your day
Life throws chaos at us on a regular basis—stress can be found everywhere: work, finances, relationships, home, health…and in response: we just keep on pushing through.
We over-schedule ourselves, drink another coffee, answer one more email or skip any downtime to tick one more thing off our to-do lists.
While prioritising speed and ‘more’ might feel like we’re winning at life; it can eventually lead to exhaustion, lack of creativity, lack of focus, and for a lot of us, anxiety.
BUT there is another way—a calmer way.
By prioritising calm, you can be productive without sacrificing yourself, your relationships, or your success or your health…sounds pretty good, right?
It doesn’t have to be complicated, or be another thing to add to your diary, all you need is 3-5 minutes to ground into presence.
Here are five very simple techniques you can easily weave into your day anytime, anywhere, to calm the chaos that can be life:
The most simple practice in the entire world, earthing requires nothing other your feet and the earth.
- Take off your shoes, and stand with your feet on the ground, outside on grass or sand if you can…but you can do this indoors too if the weather’s not barefoot appropriate!
- Close your eyes if you can, or softly focus your gaze towards something that’s not going to move (even down at your feet if you’d like)
- Focus all of your awareness towards the connection and support between your feet and the earth beneath you.
- Take 5-10 deep breaths as you rotate your awareness around the edges of each foot, the arches of both feet and all ten toes. Tapping into that feeling of connection and support at each point.
It sounds simple, and maybe a little new-age-y to some, but scientists are now testing to prove its efficacy in reducing stress and anxiety, lifting your mood, reducing inflammation, improving heart health and immunity.
2. Box Breath
Box breathing is a simple technique you can do anytime: on a bus, at your desk or as part of a larger meditation or pranayama. Its a powerful stress reliever and a great way to calm an anxiety filled mind.
It has four steps: inhale, hold, exhale, hold. Counting along the way so that each step is even.
- Start from wherever you are, you can close your eyes if you’re seated.
- Inhale for a count of 4, breathing into your belly if possible. Your count should be moderate and comfortable, so it doesn’t feel like too much of a struggle…we are trying to calm dow here after all
- At the top of your inhale, hold your breath for the same count of 4
- Exhale for a count of 4
- At the end of your exhale, hold your breath out again for a count of 4
…and repeat, for 5-10 rounds, or however long you have.
Tip – you can also do this while walking, and use your steps as your count: inhale for 4 steps, hold for 4 steps, exhale for 4 steps, hold for 4 steps… and repeat.
3. Play the 5-5-5 game
When you’re stressed or anxious, you’re often caught in a thought loop, trapped in your mind and out of touch with your body and your surroundings. Play this to get back into your body and stop anxiety fast:
- Look around and name 5 things you can see.
- List 5 sounds you can hear.
- Move 5 parts of your body you can feel (i.e. rotate your wrists or ankles, lengthen your spine, nod your head up and down, move your eyes from side to side).
It might sound silly, but it really works.
4. A short and sweet 10 breath meditation
Sit down if you’d like, or you can do this standing or walking if you’d prefer.
- Breathe in and out through your nose, and deep into your belly
- Count your breaths, from 10 down until 1
- If you loose count or your mind wanders you can start back at 10, and keep counting down until 1
10 breaths is all you need to come back into your body, but if you have longer you can start your count at 20,30,40… easy.
5. Listen to one really good song, with your full attention.
No phones, no emails, no distractions. Just lay back, listen and absorb it all….or dance it out, depending on the song.
Calm and connection are available for you to tap into in any moment. And the more you ground back into calmness, the more you start to live from that space… then chaos of life becomes less and less frequent, and the clam…well that makes life a whole lot better!
So just come back to you, as often as you can.
Ellie is a Yoga and Meditation teacher teaching Ashtanga and leading meditations through her newsletter The Daily Quiet and on Insight Timer. Find out more on the links below.
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