In modern times it isn’t difficult to feel like anxiety, stress, and a lot of pressure is what we should be expecting. After all, that’s what we all experience day after day. And it’s an unfortunate fact that many people just don’t find a sense of peace, calm and zen through the day, and sometimes not even in the week.
However, it is essential that you have downtime and find moments of relaxation and calm. But how do you get those? Well much like everything else in your life you have to make time for it and dedication to.
And when you build habits, it’s essential that you don’t try to just change everything in one go. Practices should be developed over time. The more you do them, the more natural they become to you. And then you will just casually build them into your day as if they were always there.
You have to decide whether each habit will suit your lifestyle and if so, how can you build them in? How can you make sure that you get what you need each day from your habits?
And something else you need to decide is what calmness is for you. Is it reading a book with your bifold doors wide open and breathing in fresh air? Is it taking a walk early in the morning so that you can watch the sunrise? Think about what calmness is for you, and then let’s take a look at how you can build that into your life.
Almost everybody talks about being grateful and how gratitude can change your outlook. How often do you actually apply that to your day? When work is stressful, and the children don’t feel like listening to you today, perhaps you had a misunderstanding with a friend, how can you find a space to be grateful?
Well, one of the first ways is to ditch complaining about things that you can’t change. When you start talking about how horrible your day has been you compound the feeling of horribleness. It is possible to say today was awful. Still, tomorrow will be better, or today at work was awful, but I’m going to have a great evening.
Look for the space when you can apply some positivity and be grateful for what you do you have. This might be one of the most tricky habits to build, but it is also one of the most important.
There are a few kinds of morning rituals. One is where you wake up with exactly 1 hour to get ready, make all the school lunches, have breakfast, and get your children out the door to school.
The other is where you slowly start waking up slightly earlier and building in more time for yourself. Waking up earlier allows you a little space for meditation.
And it’s important to talk about meditation, it can teach you how to push away negative thoughts, and hone a breathing technique. You could fit in a small amount of work, enjoy bringing your tea or coffee for a little bit longer, or simply relax in the quiet.
You don’t need to do the same thing every morning, but finding some time before everybody else wakes up can have a significant impact on the rest of your day. You can use the Calm app to help with your morning ritual. They have a number of activities like morning stretches and affirmations that can help you start your day well.
This one can be particularly difficult for parents because it will often feel like you are working, managing the house, and managing the children too. But every time you switch between tasks, you lose valuable concentration time. And it is challenging to do three or four jobs perfectly if you’re balancing them.
When you can give your dedication to one task at a time, you find it much more relaxed, and less filled with pressure. It is a sad fact that many people multitask now more than ever. People listen to music and text their friends while walking, they are replying to emails on the school run, or taking phone calls while trying to cook an evening meal.
And all those things can be fulfilling, and if you enjoy multitasking and don’t feel any stress from them, that’s great. But if you just did one thing at a time, and learned to not do extras, how much would that feel?
Imagine just drinking your coffee instead of drinking your coffee and texting a friend or reading social media feeds.
Imagine that while you are working, you only worked. You didn’t get up and start making dinner or cleaning. You sat down, and you cleared your inbox or edited your photos, and you’ve got what you need to do – done. This might be one of the most challenging habits to really build. Because it involves changing your behaviour and the behaviour of people around you.
Of course, some circumstances dictate that you will need to multitask at specific points. Try to find the peace in just doing one thing at a time, letting go of everything else, and doing it in that designated time too.
When something stressful happens, it is not uncommon for somebody to react in a stressful way. This might be shouting, it could be aggression, or it could be getting really upset. Have you ever noticed your response when something happens? Sometimes that jumping to action is more about our adrenaline then actually needing to deal with the item straight away.
There is also the reaction when something isn’t going exactly as you’d hoped, for example, you ask the children to tidy up, but they haven’t tidied up precisely as you like. Instead of getting angry, there is a conversation to be had. You can ask them to re-do the job and explain why you are asking to do a specific way. It is easy to go with your gut reaction, and sometimes that can lead you into a little bit of bother.
Watch your response, and see if taking five seconds before reacting or responding can help. It’s an important habit to put space between things, this allows your brain to come into action and prevent you from making or doing something that you might later regret.
Stress Coping Habits
Unfortunately, many of us have unhealthy stress coping responses. Feeling overwhelmed, getting angry, and completely withdrawing are common ones. There are also turning to junk food, drinking alcohol when we probably don’t need to, or letting this moment impact the rest of the week.
Rather than try to deal with the issue in a healthy way, some people start excessively spending money online, on things they don’t need or heading to time-wasting websites for fun. And while we do all need to be able to find things that can help with the stress that makes us feel good, they really should be healthy too.
When you know, your stress levels start to pay attension to how you cope with it, then once you have found your unhealthy coping mechanism, have a look for the healthy one.
There are more healthy stress coping habits and you might think. For example, after a stressful week, if you need to unwind try doing a hobby for a few hours, it’s proven to increase your happiness. And that increases happiness and will help drive down your stress levels.
Drinking herbal tea, yoga, meditation, writing, and creative outlets are great healthy stress coping habits. If you want to take it one step further every time you feel slightly stressed then drink a glass of water, and have a small countdown in your mind.
This is not just about environmental noise. This is about social media and other life noise. Notifications, the news, visual clutter, all of these things are noise. Most importantly, most of it is entirely unnecessary most of the time. Learn the ways you can reduce the sound you need to deal with each day.
For example, if you find that you’re scrolling through social media only to come away feeling rather deflated, then put yourself on a bit of a ban or delete the app for a few days and see how you feel.
It is important to limit that which upsets us. And it is most likely within your power to do so. Reducing these noise creating items will give you more space and some quiet in your life. Which is ideal for creating calm.
Spend some time thinking about what calmness is for you. If it is the ability to do your hobby in peace on the weekend, then make sure that you always block the time to be able to do that. If it is going to bed early three days of the week, then make sure that you build that into any routines.
Don’t try to change more than one thing at a time, All your attention to your calm building habits will be too thinly spread.