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Cultivating More Calmness

For most of us, it’s hard to feel a sense of calm throughout our day. Stress and anxiety seem a normal part of our modern way of life. Here are suggestions to help create peace more of the time. They’re most effective when practiced regularly.

Start each day with a calm morning ritual. Get up a little earlier to enjoy the quiet of the morning in silence, even if just for 10 minutes. Practice yoga, meditate, take a quiet walk, write in a journal, sit in the garden with a cup of tea. This time sets the tone for the day.

Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise—visual clutter, social media, news, phone calls, things to read, things to distract us from ourselves. Reduce these things and create more quiet space in your life. Give your nervous system more time for relaxation.

Learn to witness. When something stressful happens, instead of immediate action, watch your inner reactions. Do you get angry and wish things were different than they are? Judgmental about others’ imperfections? Sit for a few minutes and just watch what you’re experiencing. Take slow, deep breaths with long exhales. This will calm you and allow you to see things as they are and to think more clearly. You can cultivate more ability to witness through a regular sitting meditation practice.

Create healthy coping habits. Often we try to manage stress and discomfort with unhealthy coping habits—anger, withdrawing, eating junk food, shopping, spacing out in front of the computer or TV. When you notice you’re feeling stressed or out of balance, watch what you reach for to calm yourself. With greater awareness, you can choose to replace unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, being in nature, connecting with a loved one, getting a massage.

At Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, we know this: Caring touch, combined with mindful breathing, is one of the most effective pathways to a calmer body-mind. Make massage one of your healthy coping habits!

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
~John Dryden