The NSTEP Blog

Finding Moments to be Calm

Written by: Charlotte Just (YEG)

Greetings NSTEPpers!

Take a deep breath… Hold it for a moment, and then exhale. Do you feel more relaxed? Breathing exercises are just one of the ways to help you feel more at ease.

We know this past year has been incredibly hard for everyone! The world has been dealing with an unprecedented amount of change and stress. Many of us are juggling multiple jobs, raising children, and feeling uncertain about the future.  It can be difficult to find moments of peace and serenity. In these moments, it’s important to take time for yourself and find moments to be calm.  A Harvard study found people’s minds are wandering an average of 47% of the time, and that “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” 

You may have heard of the term mindfulness, which can be used to describe “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment”. This type of practice in your daily life can help to achieve a sense of calm, and has been suggested to have many benefits for well-being.

Benefits to Meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can involve breathing methods and guided imagery to relax the body and mind, helping to reduce stress.

Elements to Meditation

Focusing your attention. This is generally one of the most important elements of meditation. It can really help free your mind from the many distractions that cause stress and worry. You can focus your attention on such things as a specific object, an image, a mantra, or even your breathing.

Relaxed breathing. This technique involves deep, even-paced breathing. The purpose is to slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently.

A quiet setting. If you’re a beginner, meditation may be easier if you’re in a quiet space without distractions such as television, radios, cell phones etc. As you grow into your  practice you may be able to meditate anywhere. This could be especially helpful in stressful situations at work or in traffic where you can soothe your mind.

A comfortable position. You can practice meditation whether you’re sitting, lying down, walking, standing, or in other positions or activities. Just try to be comfortable and relaxed so that you can get the most out of your meditation while aiming to keep good posture. 

An open attitude. Let thoughts pass through your mind without judgment.

Life can be chaotic and messy sometimes, but here’s why finding those little moments to be calm in your life is so important.

Benefits of calm:

Being still and silent can help:

Cultivating calmness is not limited to meditation or mindfulness. It is about finding what works for you. 

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Yoga
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Going for a walk or spending time in nature
  • Reading a book
  • Colouring
  • Turning off your electronics for a period of time (phone, TV)
  • Writing in a journal
You can begin by dedicating a small amount of time to something you enjoy doing. Even 5-10 minutes out of your day is a great start and can help to make it a daily habit.

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