Build an inner calm to boost your resilience and you’ll soon find that life has less ability to ruffle your feathers, writes Jenny Light
It seems that, as our world gets busier and busier, there are fewer precious moment of calm. It can be hard to juggle all the pieces of life. Many of us recognise that niggling feeling at the back of our minds that there should be a better way to live.
So how can we create an oasis of calm within the buzz of a working day?
- Take a moment to savour the rested calm of sleep
Before you engage in a mental litany of the day’s tasks that lie ahead, take a moment to appreciate the calm that follows a good night’s sleep.
- Practise a mini meditation before you even get out of bed
As you waken, try to stave off mentally picking up the threads of the day by practising a mini meditation. Lying flat, or sitting cross-legged, in the bed, place your hands on your navel and breathe in deeply. Be mindful of the process of breathing. Visualise that each out breath is clearing your mind and creating a sense of calm. Next, breathe in the colour blue and mentally breathe out the word ‘calm’. If you like, you can even visualise a cool, still pool of water. Make your affirmation: ‘My mind is cool and calm. I am calmness. I am calm.’ Then finish by imagining yourself executing the tasks of the day in this calm state of being.
- Plan to create other pockets of calm throughout the day
Lunchtime can be a good time to find some quiet to be alone and sit in nature, or in the park. When I was a busy mum and teacher, I used the toilet cubicle as my ‘alone space’ by just shutting the door and focusing on my breathing. It worked, even on the busiest of days.
- Use alone time to Stop, Drop & Go
I teach my students to use a moment of alone time to practise the Stop, Drop & Go technique. In other words:
- Stop the busy thoughts, stress, and mental and physical static by consciously taking charge.
- Breathe in deeply then breathe out, mentally shedding the static, for a few breaths.
- Return mentally to that cool, still pool of water in your morning meditation then prepare to exit, focusing on your earlier affirmation.
- Practise a mini meditation again before bed
The final step to structuring an inner calm lies in your final thoughts of the day, before sleep overtakes you. Instead of taking a maelstrom of thoughts and jangled impressions into sleep, release your mind space of static and remind it of calmness.
Very often, our last waking thought at night is our very first thought as we wake. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to re-programme the brain and the mind.
Use it to create positive neural highways and tap into your innate spiritual state of calmness. Take a few minutes to mentally visualise that you are stuffing the events of the day into a draw-string bag.
Every time another thought comes, stuff it into the bag and re-close the neck. Tell yourself that you can pick these up again in the morning. Be firm that you will not do it now. Then repeat the morning’s mini meditation focusing on the inner pool of calmness.
By using these simple techniques, you can start to build calmness and resilience into everyday life and apply it to the stress of modern living.
Our days can fly past almost automatically, with us hardly mindful of how short life really is. But each pocket of calm (even if it’s only two minutes) builds a strong mental habit of being calm.
These calm moments will then come to your aid whenever life gets ropey.
Your mental mantra of ‘I am calmness; I am calm’ will come to the rescue and you’ll find that life has less ability to ruffle your feathers. This is the mark of true resilience.
Jenny Light is a yoga and meditation teacher based in Scotland. She is also the author of Divine Meditations: 26 Spiritual Qualities of the Bhagavad Gita and Living Lightly: A Journey Through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
She runs courses and classes in Glasgow and Kilmarnock; workshops UK-wide, and a December retreat near Dumfries.
Find out more at www.living-lightly.co.uk
“Only in the present moment, there is calm,” ~ Jenny Light