I must acknowledge recent events that happened in Washington, DC. So many of us watched the news yesterday and were overwhelmed. I was, too. But, I found that I was able to calm myself during the chaotic day by coming back to my yoga and meditation practice.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Here is what you can do to help calm yourself right now, in this moment, if you are feeling overwhelmed by what is happening in the world.
- Ground yourself. Take a moment to notice what is supporting you. Keep it simple. Your feet are on the ground. The earth below you totally supports you. It removes some of the load of effort from your body. Feel the support of the earth. Hold on to something if you need to. Notice how it feels to be supported.
- Breathe. So often when we are overwhelmed, we hold our breath. Breathe. Start just by watching your breath move in and out of your body. Then, allow your exhales to calm your heart beat and soften the tension in your muscles. Keep watching your breath. Then, once you are breathing without holding, take a big breath in and a long exhale. Do this as many times as you need to feel calm.
- Visualize the tension flowing out of your body and into the earth below. Let the tension pass out of you and through the floor of your home and down into the depths. The earth has the power to take this energy and process if for renewal. The earth can handle it. You don’t need it.
- Now, imagine a beautiful calming white light filling the space left by the tension. Allow yourself to be filled with calm and peaceful energy.
- Gratitude. Think of one thing you are grateful for. Start with just one small thing. Then, perhaps you can think of another. When we notice the small things, they can add up. It can help bring you a lighter, calmer, happier feeling inside.
- Get upside down. Lie on your back and lift your feet in the air, do a standing wide leg forward fold, headstand, handstand, or whatever is your favorite way of getting your head below your heart. Inversions are a proven stress reliever because they send more blood and oxygen to the brain. Only do these if they are safe for you, as people with heart conditions, eye issues, spinal issues, and other medical conditions should not do inversions.
- Kindness. Do something nice for yourself. What makes you feel good? Make yourself a cup of tea or read a book. Take a walk or look at a tree outside your window. Often, a simple act of kindness brings us a feeling of calm relief.
It’s important to acknowledge how you are feeling in the moment. Perhaps you were angry, confused, worried, outraged, nervous, and your heart was beating fast and your mind was spinning. These are all real, human reactions to chaotic events. You are not alone in feeling this way. Many in my community reached out for support during the events in DC yesterday. However, once you acknowledge these feelings, it’s important to release the feelings that overwhelm you so that you can move forward from a place of peace.
I came back to this practice many times yesterday and today. Whenever I have felt the noise of the world (news, social media) get to me, I paused and remembered these practices. And then I did a few of them. They have been helping me to stay calm. Maybe they can help you, too?
May you have peace within,