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Finding calm in the chaos

By Liz Ashley

The times of uncertainty we find ourselves in of late could be the best time to tap into our internal resources to help calm anxiety and cultivate more inner peace.  By incorporating mindfulness and therapeutic techniques into our day, we’re better equipped to focus and feel more empowered to navigate chaotic or stressful circumstances. These techniques are intended to help manage stress and feel at ease through any personal or professional shifts related to COVID-19, and even after the pandemic is, hopefully, history.

From a global health perspective, it’s essential to continue with the best practices outlined by the CDC to mitigate and stop the spread of this virus.  From a mental health perspective, it’s essential to integrate therapeutic coping techniques into our daily lives. 

Two particularly helpful techniques include meditation and mindful breathing, which engages the nervous system and helps lower the stress-causing hormone cortisol. The Calm App and Insight Timer App are good resources for anyone new to mindfulness and meditation.  The Chopra Center, led by Deepak Chopra, an alternative medicine expert, offers guided meditation practice, tapping into visualization and breathwork.  Beyond these resources, try out the following mindfulness practices to help gain inner well-being in times of chaos and uncertainty.

Physical activity: Any type of physical activity that gets you moving can help lift your spirits and boost a healthy dose of endorphins, known as nature’s high. If you just don’t feel like exercising, get a jump start on spring cleaning or a garden project to shift your focus and get your limbs moving.

Gratitude practice: Daily journaling and practicing gratitude are powerful antidotes for calming anxiety. Write out 3-5 things each day for which you’re grateful. The act of writing out your gratitude and having a quiet space to reflect on those thoughts allows for more conscious recognition of the good that exists in your life.

Stay connected: Cultivating relationships and being cared for, protected, and loved are crucial things that help us all feel better during times of uncertainty. Doing something kind for someone else, particularly during periods of turmoil, helps replace feelings of distress with hope. Help spread the gesture of giving and togetherness by looking into community organizations or by reaching out to a friend and offering support. Then take pride by watching this gesture ripple out into the rest of the world.

As we face uncertainty and adversity, therapeutic coping strategies and mindfulness techniques may help to calm anxiety and cultivate inner peace, allowing us to respond with greater presence of mind. 

Whether you experience stress related to the health pandemic or new challenges in your personal and work life, these times call on us to engage our internal resources and lean into one another, even if it’s from six feet away. 

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