8 ways to become more peaceful each day…
Calm, at ease and totally unruffled by life’s ups and downs – it’s how many of us would love to be, and we think we could, if only we weren’t so stressed out and if only those daily annoyances and life dramas would stop rearing their heads and getting in the way of our inner peace!
To paraphrase Robert Fulghum, peace isn’t something you wish for, it’s not unattainable or intangible, peace is something you do, something you be, and in this post we show you 8 ways you can feel more peaceful every day!
But first, let’s take a look at the whole stress thing from another perspective. Many of us seem to be convinced that if a challenging situation arises we have no choice but to get stressed out. Stress nowadays is so entrenched in our lives that it seems almost ‘wrong’ or impossible for us not to be stressed out by work or family dramas. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way!
According to stress researcher Richard Lazarus, stress begins with our appraisal of a situation. It is, by its nature, a very subjective thing – what excites you may stress and terrify me and vice versa. So then is much of the “stress” we experience actually created (or at the very least intensified) in our own minds? According to ancient yogis and recent scientific research the answer is a resounding yes! If this is the case then, could changing or softening your mindset around certain life events and situations help you become more like the blissfully easy, and unruffled people you dream of being?
It’s said that “stress is not something that happens to us but something that happens in us”. A lot of the stress we experience really comes from the thoughts we are thinking, stories we create and things we tell ourselves. We have up to approximately 60 000 thoughts a day. Close to 98% of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday and nearly 80% of those thoughts are negative!! But the good news is the point of power is in the present moment and we can always choose to think a different, more peaceful, loving thought and consequently feel more peaceful and loving.
This little story from author Marci Shimoff paints a pretty accurate picture…
|“One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between the two “wolves” that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.’“The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf wins?’“The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”|
But that doesn’t mean we should stifle or suppress our feelings. Say you are stressed about a relationship issue. It’s not helpful to stuff away the issues and pretend they’re not really bothering us. This is like trying to hold a ball under water – it will just keep trying to resurface the harder we try to push it down. Rather we can acknowledge or admit that yes we’re feeling stressed or annoyed, accept it, but then take a step back and realise we don’t have to let this totally control us. Is feeling uptight and anxious going to help the situation? Probably not. So can we instead take a breath, soften and focus on feeling peaceful while still attending to the situation? Can we view this as a challenge that will teach us so much and contribute to the richness of our experience of life regardless of the outcome? Remember the choice and power is ours!
It’s all about mindset. It takes practice to reframe our thinking, but just like a muscle it will become stronger and more pervasive in our lives the more we practice it. Look at it as your own little work in progress. While you’re working on this, there are lots of ways you can create little self-care and relaxation buffers around yourself so that when stressful situations do arise you are more equipped to handle them and are able to approach them from a calmer, more composed place.
Try using some of the tips below to flood your days with mini moments of peace every chance you get. Do this from a place of self-love and gradually relaxation will become a natural part of you and your life…
1. Be with your breath…Your breath can be a beautiful bridge to relaxation. Try setting an alarm for each hour of the day. When the alarms sounds at say 10 am, stop and take three long slow deep breaths or spend 60 seconds observing your natural breath as it comes in and goes out. That’s it. Nothing else just focus wholly and solely on your breath. Then do it again at 11 am and 12 pm and so on. Notice if there is a difference to how you feel before and after this practice.
2. Talk to yourself (nicely!)…Take time to monitor and become aware of the quality of your thoughts and self-talk throughout the day. Notice any negative, contractive thoughts that may arise. Notice how they make you feel. Acknowledge them and let them go without attaching to them or reading into them. Just let them go and send some kinder, more loving thoughts your way. Speak to yourself the way you would someone you deeply care about. Every so often stop and sprinkle some affirmations around yourself – repeat internally or aloud some positive statements that relax or uplift you like “I am relaxed” or “I love myself and my life”.
3. Pamper yourself…Lather on a weekly face mask, enjoy a foot treatment and massage. Take a slightly longer shower with a luxurious gel, towel dry and then smooth a rich body lotion or nourishing double cream all over.
4. Check up on yourself…Check in with yourself regularly throughout the day and become conscious of your body. How does it feel? Is it relaxed? Tense? Where’s your energy at?
5. Yoga up! Enjoy a restorative or yin yoga session. In yoga, you use your body as a means to relax your mind. By focusing intently on what you’re doing with your body, your mind will naturally start to quieten. We often hold a lot of stress in our muscles and organs too, and yoga can help us work through and release any built up tension or energy blocks. Follow your practice with some yoga nidra or another form of guided meditation to progressively relax and become more familiar and aware of yourself.
6. Unplug…Unplug from the outside world and all its stimuli and tune into yourself. Enjoy even 2 minutes of silence. Invite it in and notice how it feels to be with your own energy. Give yourself a screen detox and spend some time out in nature. Watch a sunset, swim in the ocean, walk barefoot in the grass. Nature is truly one of our greatest teachers; it shows us our inter-connectedness, teaches us acceptance and reminds us of the true, innate beauty of simplicity.
7. Enjoy the art of aromas… Aromatherapy is a gentle yet effective means to relaxation. Essential oils can affect our mind via two routes – one of which is through olfaction (smelling). Just above the tops of our nose we have olfactory bulbs that are linked directly to the limbic system in our brain. This is the home of our emotions, feelings and memories, which is why inhaling certain scents can trigger certain emotions, memories and feelings. The other way we are affected by essential oils is through absorption – by massaging diluted essential oils into our skin.
By inhaling, diffusing or enjoying certain essential oils through the art of massage, we can help trigger and evoke an all embracing feeling of total relaxation, peace and calm.
Some common oils for relaxation include…
|Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Harmonising. Happy. Energetic. Sunny. Positive. Soul-nourishing. Cold pressed from the outer peel of oranges, the benefits of sweet orange essential oil were first recognised in ancient China. The fresh, sweet scent of orange is wonderfully soothing, especially for young children. It’s said to help calm nervousness, bring warmth and joy, reduce fears and instill sweetness and laughter
Soothing, feminine and balancing…. Ylang ylang is a softening, floral and intensely sweet essential oil. It’s euphoric and uplifting and can help dispel feelings of aggression, tension and irritability and instill feelings of gentleness and joy!
Herbaceous and subtly rosey, Geranium essential oil is a beautifully balancing and regulating essential oil. It can be useful in relieving feelings of stress, nervous tension and anxiety. It’s also said to help you get out of your mind and back into your body where you can reconnect with sensory experience.
Known as the mother of all essential oils (because it is an endlessly helpful multitasker!) pure lavender essential oil is calming, healing, caring and relaxing. It is said to help calm the nerves and remove tension. Warm lavender baths or footbaths are wonderful for relieving physical or nervous fatigue and helping you drift into the land of nod if you’re struggling with sleep. It’s also a super harmonising adaptogen so can help calm the mind if you’re feeling stressed or uplift you if you’re feeling emotionally depleted.
All these beautiful oils are combined in our Relax Essential Oil blend and feature in our Relax Massage Oil so you can massage & melt away stress and tension and drift off blissfully into sleep with a loving end-of-day massage! These calming oils are also in Relax Aromatic Mist. This mist is an absolute gem because you can take it anywhere with you! Whenever you’re feeling on edge, simply pause, close your eyes and spritz some around to bring you back to your centre.
8. The gift of presence…
A lot of times we can dissipate our energy and get ourselves all frazzled by doing one thing while our mind is somewhere else (usually thinking about the next thing we’re going to do!). Not only can this be stressful and conflicting, but it means we’re moving through our days without every really experiencing them or being in the moment. You’ve probably experienced how good it feels to be present – those moments where you forget everything else, perhaps when you’re fully absorbed in watching the ocean, listening to a beautiful piece of music, cooking your favourite dish or cuddling your pet. You feel that beautiful sense of integration. The good news is these moments don’t have to be so few and far between – they can become part of your natural life. It just takes practice and the desire to live more wholeheartedly!
Try spending at least one day a week living intentionally (or perform at least one task a day with total intention and presence) – fully inhabit each action as you do it. Focus all your senses and attention completely and lovingly on whatever it is you’re doing. Enjoy it. Embrace the moment for what it is. And when your mind starts to wander to the next task or is tempted to check your phone or newsfeed, take a breath and bring your attention back to the task at hand. You’ll probably notice any feeling of division being replaced with a subtle sense of renewed energy and enthusiasm quite quickly. Once you’ve completed your task, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done before moving on to the next thing and give it the same mindful attention.
This form of mindfulness is great because it doesn’t take up extra time. You can develop meditation around your everyday activities like eating, showering or walking. As long as you are fully absorbed in the moment, a blissful, meditative-like state can be yours whenever you want it to! For example, when you’re eating a meal, sit down and eat it in a calm atmosphere without distractions like tv, texting or talking. Take the time to really taste the flavours, smell the aromas and feel the textures of your foods as you’re eating it. You’ll probably enjoy the meal so much more this way too!
|These mini practices are great, but you can add an even richer layer of relaxation to your life by regularly carving out a day each week to dedicate to things that evoke a sense of relaxation and nourishment for you. Our next blog post will focus on creating your own Soulful Sunday – a day to set aside some nonnegotiable me time and indulge in your own relaxation ritual!