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14 Steps to Calm

A friend called yesterday and shared how she was suffering from daily anxiety and panic attacks. She was the third person to relay a similar story in past weeks. This can't be good.

Embodying calm seems like an elusive dream, but have faith. It’s not out of reach. In fact, it's right here within.

Before we accept anxiety as a companion, there are tools that can bring us closer to our always-calm center.

Yes, there is peace in there. Promise. Sometimes waaaaaaay in there as the case may be - but we can do this.

Read over this list and choose the practices that resonate with you. It is not comprehensive by any means. Add to it what you know works for you - or what you have considered trying.

Then put them into the toolbox of your daily spiritual practice and open your heart to the possibility of newfound peace.

There is nothing more important to the wellness of our mind, body and soul than to learn the art of calm.

Inhale peace. Exhale stress. Ahh.

1. Make exhalations longer.

Start by counting 4 on the inhale and 6 on the exhale, with a goal of 4 in and 8 out. Do this for a few minutes and you will feel the difference immediately.

The hallmark of “fight or flight” breathing during a panic attack is rapid breathing and heart rate. By increasing the length of the exhalations, you remind your body that there is nothing to fear and that all is well.

Essentially you are breathing in a way that signals relaxation and your body follows suit.

2. Use positive affirmations.

There’s an extensive body of research that supports the theory that what we think, we create.

The body will default to pathways it already knows, so it takes a little retraining to create new thought habits.

Here is a starter list of affirmations, and you can add your own. Your journal, phone notes or index cards placed strategically around the house are good places to keep these.

Word everything in the positive and smile with your whole body as you think them - lifting yourself to the higher emotions of gratitude and joy.

Use them as mantras during the day:

I am in perfect health.

I am calm and serene.

Everything is in divine order.

I am safe and all is well.

I am joyful and peaceful.

Today will be an amazing day.

I am in the flow of love.

I am relaxed and focused.

I am in the flow of grace.

I love my life.

3. Ask for help on a soul level.

There’s unlimited help available in spirit realms for the asking. The prayer might go something like this:

Thank you for putting a perfect plan in motion to relax my mind, body and soul. Assist me in using my inner tools to find deep peace. I trust that a beautiful plan is unfolding in my life today and that I have nothing to fear. Thank you for helping me return to my natural state of calm.

Divine grace is benevolent and conspires to help us out. But we must ask clearly and positively.

After asking, know you have been heard and assistance is on the way.

4. Stay connected.

Stay connected with your family and closest friends, and share your journey with them.

Stress can be isolating, and it’s important to keep an open heart.

If you had a physical issue, your beloveds would want to help you out. Same goes for stressful times.

5. Be kind to yourself.

Anxiety is exhausting so skip the self-criticism.

Think only loving thoughts of yourself. You are doing the very best you can. You are not alone in this.

6. Exercise.

Yoga, walking, kayaking, dancing, Tai Chi—pick something relaxing that you can do outside or facing a window.

Calm your body and soak up the beauties of nature while you release endorphins.

7. Drink lots of water and less caffeine.

Flush toxins and hydrate your cells with plenty of fresh water throughout the day.

Cut out soda and limit caffeine to two cups a day, max.