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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 5 May 2021

Want some peace and calm in your life? Take these few minutes to get it done

You have the ability to see from a new perspective, you have the ability to see situations as they are and not get lost in drama.

Naomi Sturdy

AT THE MOMENT we are in a great time in Ireland where mental health is widely recognised, acknowledged and methods to improve mental health are becoming more varied and available.

Issues such as depression and anxiety and their affects on ones wellbeing are more understood and help is available to those who need it.

My particular area of interest, however is not so much in treating issues but giving individuals tools they can use inter daily lives to feel better and to prevent stress and the affects of stress.

From my own personal experience living in Dublin, city life tends to move at a much faster pace. Traffic is heavier, work is more demanding and your social life can pull you in different directions. 

shutterstock_85417051 Source: Shutterstock/mangostock

The great news is that you do not need to move to the Bahamas to find peace and calm!

Even though escaping may seem like the answer, you do not need to necessarily change your outer situation but rather your inner situation. You have resources at your own fingertips that can enable you to deal with life effectively and in ways to best benefit your health.

When things are happening all around us, maybe it’s raining when you run for the bus and the bus just pulls off, someone skips the queue in front of you or your boss snaps at you, maybe you want to change jobs, or you feel lonely, maybe you are having financial issues or struggling to find time, whatever it is for you, whatever your sources of stress are, how you feel and respond is up to you.

Rather than thinking of mental health as something we need to fix when it goes wrong, its more like servicing your car. When we have a car we are familiar with the idea of getting our car serviced, general upkeep and maintenance. If we don’t, things start to go wrong or the car does not work as efficiently or it generally begins to get worn down.

So, can we do the same for ourselves?

Our minds are often like a washing machine on its highest spin, thoughts swirling around and often going unnoticed.

Can you check in and notice your thoughts and your mindset. Can you clean out old thoughts and habits and ‘refresh’ on a regular basis?

In Meditation, you can take time to sit, to do nothing but breathe and observe. To many people this may seem like a waste of time, or boring, or weird, but really by taking even only ten minutes a day, you can begin to slow down the stream of thoughts and reactions that occur for you everyday.

You can begin to notice how so many of your thoughts are not beneficial and how they can lead to negative feelings and emotions.

This also does not mean that we ignore everything and just decide to ‘be calm’. It is not about suppression, but rather as mentioned addressing what is necessary, what is beneficial and letting go of all the rest.

Life will always happen, things and situations will always occur, we cannot stop this. Our gut instinct is to avoid threat, whether it is life threat or the threat of being embarrassed, hurt, disrespected etc.

shutterstock_309012077 Source: Shutterstock/KieferPix

Through mediation you can begin to notice that the situations you perceive as threatening may not be and that you can choose to respond and allow yourself to feel okay and safe being you and you can feel relaxed.

It is about recognising and becoming aware that thoughts will always be there, that as humans we will always have them. What can happen though is with the thoughts come all those habitual reactions and feelings, all those stored up memories of fear, anger, loss, sadness, pain. You have the ability to stop the habitual reactions, you have the ability to see from a new perspective, you have the ability to see situations as they are and not get lost in drama.

Now as you become aware, you can choose to stay content. You are not changing situations around you but changing how you feel.

Our lives whether we live in a city or elsewhere are ours to enjoy. You can make your own enjoyment happen.

Here’s how to get started: Tips to Meditate and Find some Calm in your Day

  1. Pick a place to practice, try to create a routine.
  2. Turn off your phone or switch to plane mode.
  3. Set your alarm or you can use a timer ( I like the insight timer app)
  4. Use cushions if you are sitting on the floor, your bed or the couch, make sure you are seated upright so you stay alert, rather than slouching and falling asleep.
  5. You can have your eyes open or closed but if open look ahead along the floor, keep a focus point.
  6. Begin with a body scan and then bring your awareness to your breath, you can use a mantra like breath in, breath out, to keep your focus. If you notice you are thinking or get distracted just come back to your breath and your mantra.

Naomi Sturdy set up Elements Yoga and Pilates over three years ago. She is particularly passionate about encouraging students to develop healthy functional movement, a healthy mindset and mental well being. She has a Bsc Physical Education from the University of Limerick and is a qualified yoga and pilates instructor. She recently took part in the Wellfest event in Dublin. 

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