The Secret Calm Formula
My Ten Step Ritual to say “goodbye!” to stress and “hello!” to blissful calm.
Your heartbeat quickens, you look around and all you see are the papers strewn, the 100’s of emails in your inbox, and your mile-long to-do list. You’re in a moment of stress, a moment of anxiety. I’ve been there too.
I’m going to need you to stop. Take a step back and BREATHE.
Because I care about you. “You do?” Are you a human on planet earth? Yes, I totally care about you. I’m going to share my secret ritual of getting back to my zen place.
It all starts with a single moment (exactly ONE MINUTE) of meditation. “What goes into this minute and what follows?” you ask. Here’s my (not-so-secret) formula:
Close your eyes. Connect with your breath. Just feel yourself breathing in, breathing out. Relax your jaw. Soften your shoulders. Notice how each breath is different, ever changing.
Life is the same. One day, one moment, ever evolving. The thoughts in your mind? Let them slip away. Come back to this moment. You are safe. You are accepted. You are forgiven. And you are loved.
Step 2 of my calm down ritual? The soothing sounds of the Gayatri Mantra. “What the heck is that?” The Gayatri Mantra is a sacred chant which demonstrates gratitude to the sun for giving illumination and energy to all of creation, a request for wisdom and enlightenment, and an all around beautiful song to listen to. Not your thing? You can play whatever your jam is — just get those listening ears on.
Next up is a little yoga. The best bang for your “I don’t have time” buck is a Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar. It’s a series of poses capable of warming, strengthening, and aligning your entire body.
It might take a little bit of practice to commit this sequence to habit, but the benefits are well worth it (everything from remedying digestive issues to invigorating your nervous system).
Drinking water is such an obvious tip, but it’s one so many of us busy entrepreneurs forget. Water is your body’s #1 nourishment, because it’s used in each cell, organ, and tissue you have. It also accounts for 50–70% of your body weight.
Nutritionists say that if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So what’s the solution? Keep water near you at all times. Each time you take a break from your work (whether to check email, social media, or get up and stretch), take a sip of water. Make it as automatic as blinking or breathing.
When I’m using water in my 10-step ritual, I make sure to drain at least an entire 8 oz. glass for a quick boost of hydration.
Progressive muscle relaxation is such an amazing strategy to help you quickly relax in the midst of any situation. What a great tool to have in your toolbelt! How do you do it?
Just take a deep breath, lift up your shoulders, push out your chest, wrinkle up your face, tense every muscle in your body… and then slowly let your breath out. Let your whole body go limp like a rag doll.
You can stop there or go through several repetitions, letting your body become looser and more relaxed with each exhale.
When you’re feeling stressed about the past or future, awakening your senses can be the key to bringing yourself back to the present. Of course you can wait around for a smell to distract you from your thoughts, but we’re all about being proactive up in here.
One way I make my own senses come alive is to use essential oils. A great option is using a diffuser. You can also find lava bead jewelry where just a drop or two will do the trick and stay with you all day long. Which oils are best to reduce stress and anxiety? Lavender, rose, frankincense, chamomile, and ylang ylang, to name a few.
This is another old-school tip, but it’s stuck around so long, because it’s an instant mood-booster. Take a break, get outside, soak in some sunlight, and walk it off. You don’t have to walk quickly or walk with purpose, or walk anywhere in particular. Just move.
Walking boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate stress and mild depression. #Walkingforthewin
Okay, okay, okay. I know you’ve been trying to cut out caffeine, cut out chocolate, cut out all of the little decadent (but kinda bad for you) joys in life. But this is serious. We are in a moment of stress. It’s okay to allow yourself a little indulgence. I won’t tell if you won’t.
What’s my guilty pleasure? A decaf half sweet vanilla latte. Hello, Starbucks.
Truth: you need to be nicer to yourself. I hear your inner voice scolding you for taking that break just now. I know you’re struggling to feel adequate. Because you think you have to be the perfect insert-your-identity-here for everyone.
Well, I’ve got news for you: you are already amazing. Yup, you in your pj’s with messy hair and no makeup. You are a human, which makes you capable of creating beautiful art with your words, your thoughts, and your actions.
So scribble some positive affirmations in your journal. Here are a few to get you started:
I am worthy of my dreams.
I trust in divine timing. The universe always has my back.
I have the power to create change.
I am now creating my life exactly as I want it.
Finally, this one will actually help you transition back to work. Put together a playlist on your player of choice (Spotify, Amazon Prime, etc.) of the musicians you know will always make you feel real chill. Then crank it up when you need to get back in the zen zone.
Okay, so my secret ritual is out. But you know what? I’m super stoked about that. Because if I can help just one person avoid getting to the crippling level of anxiety I suffered in the past, then my job is done.
This isn’t a list of earth-shattering revelations of genius, but it is a great list to print off and keep on that cute little Pinterest-inspired cork board by your desk. Just to remind you. To remind you to take time to care for the longest and deepest relationship you’ll ever have — the one you have with yourself.