How to Reclaim Calm in a Stressed-out World

These days we find calm hard to come by. The world around us, right now, teems with anxiety, anger, and fear, which understandably stirs us up too – stressed out.

We often feel overwhelmed by life in our loud, busy world. It’s really not surprising. The 24-hour news cycle is mostly filled with negativity (full of negativity) and scaremongering about wars, political skirmishes, and economic struggles. Our always-on, always-connected culture is addictive and yet unfulfilling. With all of the things happening in our world today and the things we’re being told on social media, we’re often left feeling stressed and burned out.

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To achieve greater equanimity, you need to recalibrate your life.  These are some of the adjustments you might need to make to turn down the noise, reclaim calm and find true happiness.

How to Reclaim Calm In A Stressed-Out World

Stressed out

1.  Breathe

Have you noticed how you breathe when you’re stressed? You take rapid, shallow breaths, and this can actually make the physical symptoms of stress worse.

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Concentrating on and controlling your breathing can reduce your stress levels and your blood pressure, and increase feelings of well-being, calm, and energy. A technique known as tactical breathing can help: simply inhale for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts. Doing this anytime, anywhere would help you regain control and calm.

2.  Avoid people and situations that trigger you.

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Why enter into contentious situations again and again?  If you cannot agree with someone else, agree to disagree and disengage.  Remove yourself from combative situations when possible.

Once you’ve developed a firmer sense of equanimity, you may be able to remain unperturbed in difficult situations.  You may even be able to bring humor, spaciousness, and harmony into a conflict.

Know yourself and your capacity, and adjust your life accordingly.  Try spending less time in contentious online groups.  Also, don’t jump onto the internet first thing in the morning.  Instead, focus on practices that strengthen your equanimity.

Although avoidance helps to a certain degree, I don’t recommend trying to create a permanent “happy bubble” by removing all difficult people from your life.

3.  Be present

The buzzword on this is ‘mindfulness’ but if basically means being present in the moment. It’s easy to let our minds spiral out of control when we’re overloaded with information, emotion or stress, and we can end up raking over the coals of the past or catastrophizing about the future.

4.  Practice gratitude

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The best tool to combat the culture of ‘not enough’ is gratitude. A gratitude practice can be as simple as writing down one thing you’re grateful for each day. This small action can have profound effects on your mind and body, leading to better sleep, better self-esteem, improved health and a more optimistic outlook.

5.  Take a break

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We love being connected, and being able to access a world of information in an instant.  We are not automatons that can stay connected to the Internet, gleefully task switching for hours on end without breaks, and expect ourselves to not feel anxiety about missing out on something that might happen when we are disconnected. It is recommended that after using technology or staying connected for 90 minutes, you should take a break for around 10 minutes to reset the brain and regain calm. That could include activities like taking a short walk, doing a crossword, having a chat with a colleague over a coffee.

6.  Listen to spiritual teachings.

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The modern world does not encourage a spiritual view.  Instead, you’re pressured to buy more, secure your personal position, and defend yourself.

Spiritual teachings, on the other hand, urge us to cultivate peace, compassion, and wisdom.  They remind us of the bigger perspective.  This life goes by in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?   Will we spend it quarreling or will we choose equanimity and an open heart?

7.  Talk it out and listen to guidance

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You might get to a point where you realise you need some extra help and having a neutral, impartial person to talk to can do a world of good. A counsellor or life coach can help you lay out the problems you’re grappling with, and point you in the right direction.

Although it can be hard going, working on complicated issues in your life will reap massive benefits in terms of mental well-being, and may even see you making huge strides in your relationships and career as you gain calm and confidence.


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