NAMIRA HOSSAIN TALKS ABOUT 10 EFFECTIVE WAYS OF CALMING YOURSELF WHEN FACED WITH OVERWHELMING STRESS AND TUMULTUOUS TIMES.
As I write this, in October 2023, we live in a world that feels like it is on the brink of the apocalypse. Having just survived a difficult pandemic when we were forced to contend with the restriction of being under lockdown, daily loss of lives, and health scares, we fell under the pressure of a global recession as a result of the ongoing war in Russia and Ukraine
In 2023, things do not seem to be much better. There is a genocide unfolding before our eyes as we witness horrors on social media happening in Palestine. We are experiencing large scale natural disasters as a result of climate change and hundreds of species of animals are going extinct as a result of the human penchant for destruction.
Is it even possible to find inner peace in the midst of such chaos? When reality is crumbling before our eyes and we have to contend with supporting ourselves and our families, through the frantic pace of our lives – that is when we need our peace the most. Many of us have experienced various brutal hardships through the course of our lives. However, this does not absolve us from our responsibilities. There is a growing disparity between the rich and powerful and those who are poor and marginalised. With inflation growing at an alarming rate, financial stress weighs largely on a lot of our minds.
Believe it or not, within us all, we all actually have a reservoir of calm that we can actually tap into when everything else feels so overwhelming. We must build up our reservoir of micro practices that we can use to build our resilience and manage our stress with ease and grace. To find inner peace, we do not need to run away to a silent ashram, we need to find a way to contend with the present moment.
Here are some ways we can cultivate inner peace during such tumultuous times.
Face the source of your anxiety
Something many of us tend to do is ignore the source of our stress or anxiety. This only serves to make a bigger problem which has to be eventually faced. However, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves about what is causing us stress, whether financial or emotional – then we can take action on it.
Breathe in, breathe out
Meditation is not simply a new age practice that has no obvious benefits. It is an ancient and life changing practice through which we learn to channel our lifeforce and activate the parasympathetic nervous system which encourages us to rest and digest. By harnessing the power of our breath, we can actually shift our state of mind. There are various free tutorials on YouTube for those who are unsure on how to get started.
The practice of yin yoga encourages us to find stillness in various poses which deeply stretch our muscles. The act of staying still in one position itself brings on feelings of discomfort. However, by learning to embrace discomfort in those moments, we can learn to embrace discomfort in our own lives. This makes us more resilient and able to cultivate a sense of inner calm.
Use positive affirmations
Our brains are very malleable and they can be rewired with the use of positive affirmations, especially ones that remind us that we are safe, loved and at peace. Meditating on, writing down or simply repeating affirmations can induce feelings of well-being in our spirits. We may not be able to control the chaos around us, but we can control ourselves.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WITHIN US ALL, WE ALL ACTUALLY HAVE A RESERVOIR OF CALM THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY TAP INTO WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE FEELS SO OVERWHELMING
Look for answers from the great beyond
When times feel uncertain, we can turn to esoteric practices such as tarot and astrology that meet us at the intersection of fate and free will. By learning to align better with ourselves and the energies around us, we can make more empowered choices that can help us ease some of the burden and find answers. We can understand where we have agency beyond our self limiting patterns and this can illuminate a way forward.
Reframe your narrative
If we constantly focus our energy on the negative and what is not working for us, we will attract more of what is not working for us. However, if we reframe the narrative, we will understand that any obstacles in our way, were in fact signs from the universe. Often, the universe destroys all that is inauthentic to create a new reality that is more aligned with our current purpose.
Take aligned action
It is not enough to just reflect on what is making us feel stressed out or anxious. If it has to be faced, there probably is an action that is required from our end. Unfortunately, how we often deal with stress is procrastinating and not taking action on the looming task. By dealing with it head on, we can feel much lighter.
Gratitude is a high vibration emotion and fills us with feelings of contentment, peace and wellbeing. Learning to cultivate gratitude everyday for the simplest of things – from the roof over our heads, to having enough money to pay for our bills or being able to enjoy good health – can remind us of how bountiful our lives truly are.
Help others heal to heal yourself – When we are kind to others, we naturally feel much better. And this does not mean making ourselves a martyr or being self-sacrificing, but it means having the courage to be truly kind in a world that is often harsh and cruel. We do not have to allow others to dim our light, or to kill our softness. Our propensity to love makes us human.
Prioritise self care
Getting enough sleep, water, nutrition, enough time for rest and pleasure are essential in cultivating inner peace through difficult times. It is not selfish to take care of ourselves. We must remember that we do not have endless reservoirs of love, patience and calm – through the act of sustained self care though – we can find it.
Forgive yourself and others
We all make mistakes such as poor choices and questionable actions. That does not mean we are doomed to repeat the same patterns forever. It is essential for us to learn to forgive ourselves so we can move on, find solutions and break the pattern.
In order to access our inner peace, we must learn to contend with the fact that there are many things beyond our control. If we resist our circumstances, we extend our suffering. But if we learn to flow and adapt to situations, we can find inner peace even in the most trying of times.
This can be a challenging process, especially if our bodies are used to being in its fight or flight mode. Attempting these practices does not mean we will achieve inner peace in a day. We will not solve all of the problems of the world, and we probably may not even solve all of our own, but we will find that just by grounding and coming back to the present moment, our worries will ease and peace will not feel like such a faraway goal, but something that lives within us all.