You can tap into it any time, anywhere.
You could be on a busy city subway, surrounded by people and noise, and close your eyes to go there…Where is there?
We live in a busy, sometimes frustrating, and downright depressing time. Climbing our way out of a pandemic and dealing with the residual fall out for some many of our adults and children has and is continuing to be a challenge.
Now is the time to tap into our inner peace, our tranquil place that resides deep within all of us and yet sometimes difficult to find. We have a deep reservoir of peacefulness and serenity inside us. What we have to learn to do is tap into it.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Your breath is always with you, and both yoga and meditation practices harness the power of breath control to help shift your state of mind. Learning and practicing the 4-7-8 breath (Relaxing Breath) is the perfect, portable stress remedy, as it puts you in a relaxed state almost immediately, and you can do it anywhere at any time.
As the Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh puts it, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
The 4-7-8 Breath by Dr. Weil who advocates for alternative medicine
Close your mouth and inhale through your nose as you count to four. Hold onto that breath as you count to seven, and then exhale through your mouth for the count of eight.
The long exhale helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is basically initiating a relaxation response in your body.
Visualize your happy place.
This practice becomes easier the more you do it, and the stronger your visualization, the more effective it is. It may take you awhile to conjure up what that go-to happy place is. The more details you add to your story the more impact it will have in feeling the reality of being in this happy place.
For example: You may want to visualize a favourite vacation spot, sitting by the water or ocean breathing in the fresh smell of the water and the calming sound of the waves rolling in and out, in and out…as you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Try to really get all the details in your mind's eye—the smells, the sounds, the textures, the touch. Accessing these vivid memories will cue your body to start feeling like you're actually there, which will relax you and calm your mind and body.
Make a "joy list" for when you need it later.
While a compassionate inventory of how you’re feeling is a powerful mindfulness exercise, ask yourself 'what do I need to do right now?' This can remind you to lean on actions that tend to give you peace. Since many people find it challenging to remember which activities bring them joy when they're currently feeling stuck in chaos, create a “joy list” ahead of time so that you have it ready to access it when you are feeling the need to release the stress and frustration.
When you need your joy list, pick something on the list that brings you joy like baking, singing, dancing, writing. Sit with it for awhile and take in all the happiness you feel when doing this activity. Similar to visualizing reminding yourself of the joy or calm this activity brings you will actually rewire your brain for happiness and resilience.
In the larger pursuit of learning to access your inner peace, accepting the things that are out of your control is the long-term goal, difficult as it may be. Acceptance is an overall way of engaging with life.
When we resist our circumstances we create a lot of suffering, which of course is the opposite of inner peace and the second you start going with the flow and putting yourself in alignment with what is, you immediately start to have a sense of flowing with rather than flowing against.
It's a challenging process, and one your brain may resist on impulse at first. You may not nail it the first or fifteenth time, and that's normal. But I suggest practicing acceptance because the results are so worth it.
In terms of practice, when you're in a situation, for example, in a long grocery line, you can't believe it, you're late for something, you're feeling really stressed. Just stop, drop into your heart space, and say, 'This is what I've got. This is where I am. I'm just going to flow with this. And I'm going to look for an opportunity now to just practice patience, and practice self-compassion. This is really hard. I wish I could be faster. I wish I wasn't in this line, but I am. It's okay, and I'm okay!
Lee Pryke, Intuitive Life Coaching