Does it feel like things are louder, faster and a bit more hectic lately? Or maybe you just have those moments like I do.. you are trying to leave the house, and a family member (she may or may not be three years old) has decided that co-operation is a bad idea. You are under time stress, so your natural reaction is… frustration. The situation then devolves into tears and the digging in of heels (most likely on both sides).
A little injection of calm into this moment, or any moment when frustration, impatience or anger arises, would do a world of good.
Let’s say instead of getting frustrated, I had the wherewithal to respond with calm to my daughter. Perhaps then I can offer some real listening, giving my child the gift of being heard. Having been acknowledged, she is more likely to co-operate, but even if she doesn’t, at least I’m not frenzied.
Sounds lovely, but how do we get there? Sometimes a calm response just feels impossible in those crazy moments.
The good news is that there is a secret recipe to being able to summon your calm. The bad news? It takes lots of time and practice.
Like all the good stuff in life, there are no shortcuts and you can’t buy it in a store, but you can do it. And although I’m not perfect by a long shot, I have dedicated myself to this practice and I have made progress in cultivating the power of calm in my life. I know that you can do it too.
How to Practice Calm
Pick a peaceful time. Don’t try to practice cultivating calm when you are under stress. Pick a peaceful time to practice daily when you are alone. It also helps to choose a space dedicated to your practice that feels peaceful to you.
Start small. As with all new habits, the key is the start small. Sit quietly for only 3-5 minutes at first so that it’s not daunting. If after a month or two you are ready for more, then go onto 10 minutes. Don’t do too much too soon – remember it’s all about creating a habit that is comfortable.
Follow your breath. When thoughts arise, come back to your breath. You can also use a guided meditation. In the Daily Practice, I have guided audio meditations that are 3-5 minutes long to help ease you into the practice of sitting quietly. It’s a simple thing to do, but not easy. Use any support you can.
Share your intention for support. Share your intention to cultivate calm with 1-3 good friends and ask them to hold you accountable to specific changes. These should be friends with whom you feel comfortable showing your vulnerability.
Create a respectful voice chart. I have used purchasesildenafil.com this practice from Dr. Laura Markham several times! Make a chart for however long you intend to not-yell and place your children in charge of whether you get a smiley-face for that day or not.
Practice self-compassion. When you are inevitably human and don’t make your mark for calmness, be kind to yourself. You will make mistakes. I certainly do all the time. Don’t let that stop you. Remember, each breath is a chance to begin anew.
It can feel like a crazy world, but we can become the change we want to see. If we want more calm and peace in our lives, it is up to us to practice it. When we do, we create stronger neural pathways that strengthen our habit.
The thing is, we are always changing and growing no matter what. So let us decide how we are going to change for the good of ourselves and for our children.
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