How to Be Calm Amidst the Panic

Man and woman being calm through meditation in a studio room.

Keep Calm and Meditate

Wow, it feels like crazy times we’re living in right now due to COVID-19 and I would like everyone to be steadily calm and find this as a perfect opportunity to meditate. I thought sharing some tips about how to lower your anxiety might come in handy right now. And, given that many of you are now working from home, it might be the perfect opportunity to start a new routine with the same.

Positive Effects of a Calm Mind

Meditation can have a very positive effect on our attitude toward life. Take some time to quiet your mind and remain calm. This helps to soothe your nerves and reduce anxiety. When you don’t internalize stress, you are more likely to perceive good vibes from others and feel happy about life and your relationships. You can also practice yoga, which includes good techniques for reducing tension. And consider not watching every media outlet and reading everything possible about COVID-19. Information changes daily and that in and of itself can create anxiety.

Meditation can help support your immune system and fend off diseases. Meditating techniques, such as concentration meditation, are used to focus on a single point. Mindful meditation is used to control wandering thoughts and improve a sense of calm.

Benefits of Meditation

Its benefits include lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, and reduced stress and an improved calmness of self. It can also help boost energy levels when practiced as part of a regular routine. Here are a few simple ways to start meditating:

  • Sit or lie as comfortably as possible and close your eyes.
  • Breathe naturally; don’t try to control it.
  • Now breathe by focusing your attention on it. Stay calm and notice how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Observe how your thorax, chest, and abdomen move during breathing. Just notice the movement without controlling the breathing process. Start doing this for 2 to 3 minutes and then increase the duration.

How to Practice Meditation

Meditation can be an incredible tool to help you find your Zen and stay relaxed and prepared to face the world. If you are new to meditation, then follow the below steps and tips for a successful start.

  1. Choose a suitable time: Meditation is meant to be a relaxing time, so try to choose a time that is convenient for you and won’t cause or experience any sort of interruptions.
  2. Go to a peaceful place: Choose a peaceful and quiet place to meditate so that you are able to concentrate effectively and achieve the best results.
  3. Sit in a comfortable posture: Your posture makes a huge difference in helping your body and mind relax; make sure to sit in a proper posture. Try to sit straight with your spine erect, keeping shoulders and neck relaxed and eyes closed during the whole process.
  4. Meditate on an empty stomach: The best times to meditate are before meals because it prevents you from dozing off soon after eating. Alternately, don’t meditate if you are hungry because you will not be able to fully concentrate.
  5. Start with a warm-up session: Warm-up exercises before the meditation will help to achieve better results
  6. Take deep breaths: Deep breathing is essential for helping your body relax and getting energizing oxygen to every cell in your body.

5 Simple Techniques to Being Calm Through Meditation

1. Walking Meditation

If you don’t like sitting for long periods of time, then walking meditation might just be the thing for you.  You will have to focus on your body while moving.  While your arms and legs swing, feel them uplift and extend. Feel your feet as they rise and touch the ground while keeping your mind focused on the moment, instead of paying attention to other things.

2. Breathing Meditation

Get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and inhale slowly through your nose. Hold the breath for a pause and then exhale it through your mouth again slowly.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

To practice this one, your mind needs to be present in the right moment. Start by focusing on your breath and continue by feeling other sensations in different parts of your body.

4. Mantra Meditation

This meditation can be practiced by repeating a sacred word, such as “OM,” in order to bring your mind to a state of focused tranquility. You can repeat the mantra aloud or repeat it silently.

5. Empty Mind Meditation

This meditation technique allows you to be fully aware without a specific focus. Simply sit in a peaceful place in a good posture and let your thoughts float without passing any judgment on them.

These meditation techniques are simple ways to start your meditation practice or enhance and refocus your existing one.

Reduce your stress response

This one can be easier said than done but I’ve got some easy tips that just may help. There are several things you can do to reduce your stress response. The first and most basic one I like is to stop and breathe. Yep, it’s that simple. When you feel yourself breathing in a stressful way, such as very shallow in only the upper portion of your chest, stop and notice it.

Sometimes you may even catch yourself holding your breath. At that moment, stop whatever you are doing and take 5 deep belly breaths. Actually put your hand on your belly and inhale while feeling your belly rise and fill with oxygen. Now release the breath fully and completely. Do this 5 times and you will start to engage the parasympathetic (relaxing) nervous system. Or try the 4:7:8 BREATH. Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath for 7, and then exhale through our mouth for a count of 8. Do 4-5 rounds of this and you’ll be feeling calmer immediately.

Herbal Assistance

I like KAVA or ASHWAGANDA. Kava is great for stress management and anxiety that is situational. It’s a mild sedative so it calms down your nervous system similar to placing a weighted blanket on your body. It will reduce muscle tension. So if you’re feeling all tense and tight, this will help you relax. As a side note, it also helps with migraines, as well as, tooth and ear aches. If you can’t calm down your mind to sleep, then add a little valerian with the kava and it will calm down those crazy mind thoughts that keep you awake. It’s also great for MENOPAUSAL stress.

Ashwaganda is for you if you are wound up in general and now are extra tight during the holiday situational stress. This can be added to kava to reduce your cortisol levels and help with that wired and tired feeling. Both of these herbs work quickly to calm you down but don’t worry, they will not make your sleepy or impaired your ability to work or drive. They will just leave you feeling super chilled and relaxed.

If you’d like to try either of these herbs, let me know and I’ll order some for you.

Get enough sleep

What is the right amount? It’s more than most people get, 7-9 hours is ideal. Many people are running around sleep deprived and using massive amounts of caffeine to make it through the day. Sleeping the right  hours is also essential to balance. You have an internal clock whereby there is an ideal time to sleep, eat, have sex and have a bowel movement. Working in sync with your internal clock will help you feel well-rested, digest your food better and help your mood.

The Right Time to Sleep

Getting to bed between 9-10 pm is ideal. I know, you might think that sounds crazy, but my suggestion is to start getting ready for bed an hour before you actually want to sleep. Have a wind-down routine, lower the lights and get off the electronics. If you are a night owl, then just start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier per WEEK. Make it a slow transition and you will reap the benefits of a restful night’s sleep. Caffeine can take about 12 hours to be processed through your body. So keep the coffee consumption before 11 am. Get up between 5-6 am. Start your day with a cup of warm lemon water and that will get your bowels moving. Then have breakfast between 7-9 am and dinner before 7 pm. By the way, the ideal time for sex is 7-9 pm. I knew you were wondering that.

Need a Drink to Make Yourself Calm?

I shared this over the holidays and I’m sharing it again, but it’s a lovely potion that many of us could really use now and help us calm ourselves and our families. Thank you Charlotte Keikel! Get ready because you’re gonna LOVE IT!

KAVA COLADA

The Healthy Herbal Cocktail

Recipe #1

1 can organic, full fat coconut milk
A bag of frozen organic pineapple
Add a banana (optional)
8 Kava Forte tablets from MediHerb, ground into a powder in a coffee grinder or crushed by hand with a mortar and pestle
Organic vanilla extract (optional), 1 tablespoon

Recipe #2

A can of organic, full fat coconut milk
8 Kava Forte tablets from MediHerb, ground into a powder in a coffee grinder or crushed by hand with a mortar and pestle

1 can of organic pineapple, crushed

Frozen strawberries, blueberries or mangos (optional), a cup
1 Tablespoon organic vanilla extract (optional)

 

For both recipes, combine all ingredients in a blender. Once combined, pour into a quart jar. If not immediately consumed, store in the refrigerator. When ready to drink, shake well, pour into a wine glass, and garnish with fresh berries. You can adjust the amount of kava tablets for the portion sizes you serve. The proportion is 1 Kava Forte tablet for every 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of the mixture. Both recipes are delicious! Enjoy!

If you need help with any of this, I’m here to support and guide you. Stay safe and Be Well.  Donna

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