Reflection: These last few weeks have been an anxious time for many of us, flooded as we are by a barrage of worries and concerns.
Pick your Coronavirus induced worry of the day: personal health, finances, cancelled plans, restrictions on freedoms, wellbeing (or lack thereof) in friends and family, a downward spiraling economy … the list goes on.
If you are struggling to calm yourself down, you’re not alone.
I’m reminded of the difficulties that small children face as they learn to calm themselves in the face of disappointments, rebound from minor accidents, or simply settle down to go to sleep.
One of the measures of growing maturity – from infancy through childhood and onward is known as self-soothing – the ability to calm yourself in the face of distress.
In many ways, the depth of distress that Covid 19 has delivered our way is new to all of us. And, we’re learning all over again how to soothe ourselves in the face of worries that invade our minds at unpredictable times of day and night.
Action: If you’ve ever tried to comfort a distressed child, you’ll know that diving right in with reassurance and diversions is rarely the best place to start. We need first to simply be with them, acknowledge and hold them in their pain.
This applies to us as well. Acknowledging that we are hurting, and simply being with that hurt for a time is helpful.
Once we’ve named and owned our pain, we can open up to other practices that help us settle down. You might find a few of these helpful. I know I have.
- Diminish the outside noise and stimuli that may be bombarding you (news updates, ‘poor us’ conversations, nonstop commentaries). Close your eyes for a moment and turn your attention inward. (Don’t do this while driving!)
- Sit still and slow your breathing to calm your body and your mind. Our breath is always available as a kind of metronome of our body state.
- Tune in to a few details in your environment – a book, a plant, a mug, a shoe – anything that is neutral, interesting, or beautiful. Examine it with care.
- Change the channel by changing your setting. Perhaps move outside for a short walk and some fresh air.
- Shake things off. Tighten a few muscles and then shake them loose. Let the tension fly!
- Memorize a few positive statements that are meaningful for you. Repeating phrases that are calming and affirming can help you stop ruminating on anxieties. Here are a couple that work for me. “I’m healthy. I’m safe. All is well in my world.” Or, “May I be filled with loving kindness; may I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease; may I be happy.”
- Remind yourself of times in the past when you’ve persevered or triumphed in the face of adversity. Note how far you’ve come and how you’ve drawn on strengths that lie within.
- Read an uplifting and confidence building message. Words from others can sometimes shift our state of mind.
- Listen to – or play or whistle or hum – a tune that soothes your spirit.
Soothing yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. And as much as you may be tempted by diversion strategies (mindless entertainment, alcohol, a little online shopping) a steady diet of diversion isn’t likely to leave you in a better place over the long haul.
It’s far better to stock your ‘Calm Down Toolkit’ with simple practices that help you find your way back to peace of mind – over and over and over again.
Quotes Of The Week:
Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind. – David Allen
Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. – Hermann Hesse
Breath is the power behind all things…I breathe in and know that good things will happen. – Tay Porchon-Lynch
Calmness is the cradle of power. – Josiah Gilbert Holland
Resources Of The Week:
Thirteen Healthy Ways To Comfort Yourself by Margarita Tartakovsky.
Nine Self-Soothing Techniques to Use Before A Panic Attack by Carina Wolff.
Self-Soothing Strategies: 8 Ways to Calm Anxiety and Stress by Judith Orloff.
I may have shared this before, but it continues to be one of my favorite calming tunes: Still Mind Still by Peter Katz (no relation).
Readers Write: In reply to the recent ezine, In The Face Of Our Challenge, Pause reader DM writes: Thank you for sharing your personal feelings in today’s Pause! Every one of your points resonated with me. By the end, I had a frog in my throat and was trying not to let the tears start falling. It is good to know we are not alone in how are feeling. It is an unprecedented time and we are all walking on thin ice from time to time.
Pause reader PM writes: This is a note of gratitude to you for helping me see a tentative road ahead, and for your constant and consistent references to exemplary practices which help people (your readers and your audiences) understand the world that we live in.
Covid 19 scuttled our Artists’ Workshop group plans for our Spring Show. So, I’m taking it online to present a limited edition Art Show & Sale of my Café Series paintings that celebrate connection, conversation, and reflection.
This gallery of nine 10×10 watercolor paintings on stretched canvas is now open for viewing and purchases until Saturday, May 9th.
This Pauseworks Studio link will take you to complete show and sale details, larger images, and descriptions of each of the nine paintings.
Here’s hoping these beauties all find their new forever homes. Maybe one will come to live with you!
Tags: attitude, burnout, connection, coronavirus, covid 19, focus, happiness, health, overload, overwhelm, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, Saskatoon, self soothing, soothing, speaker, stress, wellness