Are you trying to become a happier, more at peace person, but feel as if it’s almost impossible during these stressful times?
You’re not alone. Many people are experiencing this right now.
With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s hard to find calm and inner peace – especially when it can seem like more and more challenges are coming at us.
But, it is possible. The solution is to go ‘inside’. Not ‘inside’ where you hide out in your house away from all the chaos (and the germs).
Instead, where a person is out in the world, but learns to go inside by connecting with their inner self. This is a powerful way to bring ease and calmness in the midst of the chaos.
Your inner self is that hidden part of you that’s always at peace. That part of you that’s not bothered by what’s happening around you. You can call it your energy, your spirit, your vibration, your chakras, your soul – it doesn’t matter.
You can take a less esoteric and more scientific view of your inner self and consider what Einstein and others discovered about each of us:
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is.”
Here Are 5 Facts About Our Energy
- We and everything in the universe are made of up atoms that are made up of 99.9999999999996% empty space.
- Quantum physics has discovered that this empty space is not actually empty, but an intelligence we are all a part of.
- We are all vibrating at energetic levels based on our emotions.
- We are attracting into our lives the same level of vibration we are putting out.
- Our energy is at the core of our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
Reading all of this, wouldn’t it make sense to start working with yours?
“Your energy is a really big deal!”
Calming our mind and bodies throughout our days is so much better than just making it through them – so we can come home and crash in front of the tv for hours to ease our frazzled minds. Only to go to bed and then do it all again the next day.
This isn’t a judgment on tv watching, by the way. It’s just to point out that we can start taking tiny little moments during our days to refocus and connect with the stillness inside of us.
“This refreshes our mind and bodies not only in those moments. But over time, the benefits of these new practices start compounding.”
Whether you are someone who’s already familiar with connecting to your inner self through practices like meditation, yoga, or journaling or you’re new to the whole idea – this article will give you some good ideas.
Below are the 9 easy tips to find inner calm at any time of the day, no matter where you are, and no matter what’s happening around you.
Well, except for huge things like a tornado coming, for instance. Or a full-fledged emergency. Then yea, forget inner calm and just get the heck out of there.
But for all this scary everyday stuff that we’re so used to dealing with these days, these tips will help you quiet your mind and connect with the energy inside of you – in beautiful ways.
And the best part about these 9 tips is that none of them require anything but you. No new apps, fancy gadgets, or the latest technology are needed. In fact, you don’t even need your cell phone for any of them.
To give you a heads up, though, some of them might seem a little strange. But If you are someone who is serious about becoming a happier person, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to start getting a little weird.
By weird I mean different than anything you might have done before. By weird, I mean not mainstream; not what everyone else is doing; not ‘normal’. But how’s ‘normal’ working out for us these days?
Do you want to be ‘normal’ or do you want to start getting really deep down happy?
And remember, so much of our stress is caused by what we are telling ourselves about situations going on around us more than the situations themselves. It’s caused by our negative programming hidden deep inside of our subconscious mind.
And our subconscious mind is not rational and logical like our conscious mind. It’s just one big storehouse of all of our memories, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and habits.
So, trying to change the negative words we keep telling ourselves, for instance, with logic is futile. A person has to meet her subconscious mind where it’s at.
This is what I’m all about. If you’re ready to start clearing away and replacing the negative programming that’s been holding you back from becoming happier, you can check out the articles on this website.
Here’s a great article to start and the matching Youtube video below:
How Can I Find Time in My Busy Days to Practice Centering Myself?
Are you wondering when you would have time to sneak any new practices in during your already jam filled days?
I have the answer. First, all of these practices only take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to do.
And second, many of us are used to scrolling on our phones when we have a few free moments here and there throughout the day.
Whether it’s things like responding to texts, checking emails, online shopping, perusing videos on Youtube, or scrolling through social media – being connected to our phones is a new way of life for us.
But if you were to replace some of this connecting to your phone with connecting to your inner self – the quality of your life would improve so much over time, it would astound you.
Just a note that these 9 ideas to help center yourself are not intended to replace meditation. If you’ve read either of my two books or some of my blog posts, you know that I’m a huge proponent of meditation.
To put it simply, we take showers everyday to clean the outside of our bodies. Meditating for even ten to fifteen minutes a day is like cleaning the inside of our bodies.
If you want to read more about meditation, here are two blog posts to check out:
These ideas to center yourself are meant as quick, easy practices you can sprinkle in throughout your days.
Here Are 9 Simple Ways to Center Yourself Anytime During the Day
1. Calming Breaths
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
The first tip to centering yourself during the day is to pause and take a few slow cleansing breaths.
Spiritual leaders for centuries have taught us about the power of breathing and ‘following our breath’. And just like everything these spiritual leaders have told us – science is now beginning to prove it all.
Cleansing breaths not only center you, but help bring more oxygen to your lungs and brain and all parts of your body, slow your heart rate, and so much more.
I have a great article here on cleansing breaths here. It includes the basic breathing exercise below and also includes two other breathing exercises. You can watch the matching Youtube video below:
Here Are The Steps to Basic Cleansing Breaths:
(There’s plenty of variations to these basic cleansing breaths that you can find online.)
1. Pause from whatever you’re doing. Soften your body, if you are stiff or tense.
2. Close your eyes if you can. But, if you’re at work with people around, for instance, or in a crowded place, you can just as well take a few breaths with your eyes open.
(The secret to these cleansing breaths is redirecting your thoughts to focus on them. Use your imagination to ‘follow the breath’ by picturing the air as it flows through each part of your body.
My article in the link above shows you how you can take cleansing breaths up a few notches by imagination the air is traveling through the cells of your body and actually cleansing them.)
2. Inhale slowly and gently through your nose, bringing the air all the way in as if it’s filling up your belly. Expand your belly like it’s a balloon.
3. Breathe out slowly through pursed lips as if you are letting the air out of a balloon. Make sure to get all the air out. Another good way of exhaling is dropping open your mouth and breathing out from your throat.
4. Pause for a few seconds.
5. Then repeat as many times as you’d like.
(You can pause in between in breaths and out breaths if you prefer.)
A note: If you tend to be a naturally shallow breather, you can learn to start checking in with yourself during the day and switch to belly breathing.
Start noticing, for instance, if the air coming in seems to stop right at your chest. Then teach your body to switch from your chest moving up and down to your belly expanding in and out.
As you can see, I’m not an expert in any way on the proper way to breathe. There’s plenty of great medical information online that can explain more about it.
Sometimes the cause of our frustration and stress during the day is because we have this belief in the back of our minds that says people and things around us have to change in order for us to be happy.
But, this belief is wrong. And one of the best things you could ever do for yourself is to replace it, little by little, over time.
The reason I say ‘little by little over time’ is because our beliefs are so ingrained in us that unless something so major happens in our life to completely topple them, it’s going to take time to teach our mind and bodies new beliefs.
This practice of adding grateful moments to our days is a good place to begin.
Just start pausing during the day, especially when you find yourself in negative moods, and spend a few seconds listing in your mind people and things you are grateful for.
You could look around the room and list the people you’re grateful for that you see.
You could think of a few of your: family members, friends, health, possessions, etc..
You could say thank you for the air you’re breathing, the food you’re eating, the clothes you’re wearing.
You could be grateful for your heart doing it’s job or other parts of your body for doing their amazing work everyday.
You could be grateful for your paycheck, your job, your customers, etc.
You could be grateful for the people who invented the everyday conveniences we have, like computers and cell phones.
As you can see, the list of things we can be grateful for is never-ending. Just make it a habit to pause during the day and list a few. If you’re already used to doing this, you can bump it up.
The trick with gratitude is to really FEEL grateful.
“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.”
3. The “Thank you, Arigato, Blessings” Exercise
This is a simple gratitude practice that has a beautiful spiritual quality to it.
What makes it really grounding is that gestures are incorporated into it.
It’s especially powerful when you’re in situations that might be challenging for you. For instance, you can use this practice before, during, and after doctor’s visits that might be anxiety provoking for you.
Instead of worrying all the way there, being nervous the entire time, and then ruminating after the visit – saturate your mind with this practice.
Use it to be thankful for anything and anyone associated with that experience.
Here are the steps:
1. Make the prayer sign with your hands right in front of your chest as you say, ‘thank you’.
2. Place your hands over your heart as you say, ‘arigato’. The Japanese word for ‘thank you’.
3. Open your hands in front of you as you say, ‘blessings’ while sending these blessings out to someone or something.
You can keep repeating it over and over again, if that feels right.
And you don’t have to only use it in challenging situations. It’s powerful when you just feel like celebrating something during the day, as well.
4. Relax Your Whole Body
Do you notice your body is tense at times? A good practice is to pause anytime during the day, check in with your body, then intentionally loosen and relax each part of it.
Here are the steps:
1. Pause and start at your head. Gently roll your neck and soften any muscles around your face that might be tense.
2. Move down to your shoulders. Are they stiff? Move them around and loosen them.
3. Shake out your arms, hands, and fingers.
4. Take a belly breath and relax your stomach muscles.
5. Gently arch your back and move your hips.
6. Stretch, move, and relax your legs, ankles and feet.
If I missed a spot that’s important to you, just add it in. Customize this practice however you’d like.
The movements are all meant to be faint and gentle.
This practice will not only relax your body, but will relax your mind, as well.
5. Feel the Space Around Your Body
If you’re familiar with Dr. Joe Dispenza’s teachings, this exercise will be familiar to you.
As part of his guided meditations, he has participants place their awareness on each section of their body and sense how it occupies space. He then has them sense the space around each section of their body.
As a person connects with their body this way, they are altering their brainwave patterns among other things. Changing your state of consciousness this way allows you to enter the operating system of your subconscious mind, as Dr. Joe explains.
This is where old, negative, habitual patterns can begin to be broken down and new ones created.
His research and teachings are absolutely fascinating. You can read about them in any one of his books, like Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
So, for a quick version of this during the day, just pause, close your eyes, and sense the space your body occupies. Then sense the space all around your body. Not just in front of you, but on the sides and behind you, as well.
Keep extending this space that your are sensing. Feel the space right around your body; then extend it to the space in the room; then the building; then the area around the building, and so on.
6. Can You Hear the Mountain Stream?
A Zen master was walking along a mountain trail with his student one day when the student asked him how to enter Zen.
After several minutes of silence, the Zen master asked, “Can you hear the mountain stream?”
The student could not hear the stream at first, but was able to after a few minutes of heightened alertness.
“The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time.”
taken from a Zen story
To center yourself during your busy, noisy days – listen. And by noisy, you could be in a quiet room – yet the negative thoughts pouring through your mind can be loud and disturbing.
Take a few moments to feel like the Zen student. What do you hear that you weren’t aware of? Even just listen to the silence, the soft humming of a machine running, a bird talking outside of your window, etc.
7. Become Aware
As the story goes, the Zen master and his student continued on their journey.
The student asked the Zen master what he would have said to him if he had not been able to hear the stream.
The master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, “Enter Zen from there.”
To translate this wisdom to your days, just pause at times and simply become aware. Aware of your thoughts and your feelings. Aware of the mountain stream. Even becoming aware that you haven’t been aware is enlightening.
One of the secrets, though, is to have a lightness about it. Go easy on yourself when you realize you’ve been unaware. In fact, even have a sense of humor.
Learn to never beat up on yourself when you become aware of thoughts that you wish you weren’t having. Awareness is always the first step to any change.
And we don’t have to try and live our lives without mental noise and the busyness of our days. Even challenging times make our lives alive and exciting. Just learning to bring more consciousness to our days is amazing.
8. Be in the Now
Spiritual Teacher Eckhart Tolle reminds us that living in the now is the secret to happiness. Most of our unhappiness is caused by too much accumulation of mental time, as he puts it.
We get stuck in the past and in the future in our minds and we go about our days this way.
When you learn to be present in the now, you free yourself of these attachments.
“The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind.”
One of the best ways to do this is to start noticing seemingly insignificant things around you. Really see them.
Practice taking a few moments when you need to center yourself to look at things objectively – without judgement or opinion. Observe their colors, shapes and textures. Feel their presence. Etc.
I have a great article on being in the now here.
9. Accept This Moment
I’ll leave you with this last quick tip center yourself: Acceptance of what is.
“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.”
Thanks for reading!
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