How to Stay Calm in a Restless World

Seven simple tips to help you lower your angst and up your calm.

Posted Sep 22, 2020

 Susanna Newsonen
Source: Susanna Newsonen

This year hasn't exactly turned out how we thought it would. COVID-19 has flipped our lives upside down, forcing many of us to change our routines, habits, and lifestyles. We've been restricted from seeing our family and friends freely, and traveling for holidays has been highly discouraged if at all possible. In times like these, it's normal to feel anxious. It's normal to feel restless. It's normal to feel lost. Yet you can still work on keeping your calm.

You can choose how to react to everything that is going on. You can choose to react with less anxiety and more calm. And I bet you want to too. Let's bring more calm into your mind and into your world, regardless of what's going on in the world around you. How? With these simple steps.

1. Acquire a talisman.

A talisman is some kind of calming charm that you carry with you. Whenever you feel anxiety, nerves, or frustration kick in, you can pull out your charm. You can look at it or simply touch it or rub it with your fingers to remind yourself to stay calm and grounded. Barack Obama himself has admitted in numerous interviews to having his own range of talismans in his pocket. He certainly kept his cool whilst running for, and winning, his presidency twice. Nevermind the calm he always exhibited when running the country for eight years.

2. Remind yourself of all the people you love.

Sometimes our anxiety kicks in when we feel we are alone. That's when you have to remind yourself that you are not alone. You have always yourself as company. You also have the positive energy I'm sending your way every day. You also have the energy of the whole humankind who is rooting for you and your happiness too. Naturally, you also have all the people you love—past, present, and future. Take a moment now to close your eyes and imagine all those people. Imagine them all standing in a circle with you. Imagine all the love and positive energy that surrounds you. Lean into it.

3. Practice being present.

Obsessing about the past and future can send a whirlwind of emotions around you. This steals your focus away from the present moment and away from what truly matters. Practice being in the here and now. Do this by picking an object and focusing on it. Observe it—what does it look like from all the different angles? Touch it—what does it feel like? Listen—does it make a noise in the wind or when you touch it? Smell it—is there a scent? Feel it—does it provoke emotion in you? Does it make some parts of your body tense or soft? Which ones? Observe it all and take it fully in. Take the present moment in.

4. Limit your time online.

This is especially important when it comes to consuming news, being it from reputable news sources or social media. It's easy to get sucked into them and let them affect your mood. To avoid this from happening, have designated times you allow yourself to go online. Try not to go online for more than a few hours every day, and definitely stay offline the first and last 30 minutes of your day.

5. Go into child's pose, also known as balasana.

This kneeling resting pose in yoga stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles whilst also relaxing your neck and spine. Best of all, it also calms the mind. Stay in it anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Surrender to it fully and relax. Remember to take deep breaths.

6. Breathe.

Never underestimate the power of this life-giving act. Taking a moment to take deep, long breaths into your lungs does wonders. It calms your whole parasympathetic nervous system down, relaxing your whole body whilst also calming your mind. If you feel restless doing this, keep doing it until you calm down. Stay focused. You can also try the recalibration breathing technique when you feel anxiety taking over. This means inhaling through your nose for four counts, holding your breath for seven, and exhaling through your mouth for eight. Do this cycle at least three or four times. Do it until you start to feel the stress melting away.

7. Accept.

Not easy but, once accomplished, makes everything easier. After all, inner peace comes from being free from external circumstances. It doesn't mean you stop caring, trying hard, or are apathetic to the problems of the world. It just means that you don't let them dictate how you feel. It means that you let go of the resistance you feel to circumstances you can't control, like the weather, the traffic, how many COVID-19 cases there are in the world, or other people's opinions about you and your life. Next time you face a frustrating moment, rolling a gentle smile on your face will already bring more acceptance in. Next time you're faced with someone whose behaviour is annoying, send them well wishes in your mind and you will already start to feel calmer.

Most importantly, remind yourself that this shall pass. Be it your anger, anxiety, or the state of the world. That is the beauty of this mad, adventurous life. Nothing is ever constant and everything is forever evolving. Enjoy it. Make it count. Keep your calm.