Simple Practices For More Calm
Ashley Davis Bush offers exercises to help find inner peace each day
If you are going through turmoil, feeling stressed or overwhelmed, there is no quick fix to getting back on your feet. Or is there? Although life hacks and inner peace may seem like polar opposites, there are simple tools you can use to feel calmer and happier.
In The Little Book of Inner Peace: Simple practices for less angst, more calm, author Ashley Davis Bush offers tips to help hold onto that sense of contentment and serenity that comes over you when experiencing a gorgeous sunset, walking in the woods or enjoying a restful soak in a bath.
Ashley is a psychotherapist who understands that moments of peace tend to quickly evaporate, while anxiety, ever present in the background, often finds a way to creep back to the surface. The good news is that becoming calmer does not necessarily mean hours of meditation or changing your lifestyle completely. It can be as simple as practising some easy calming techniques that you can call upon in stressful circumstances or when you are just feeling a bit ruffled:
Feed your good wolf
You may have heard the old Native American parable about the two wolves who fight within each of us all. One is the wolf of fear and hate and the other is the wolf of love and compassion. Whichever wolf we feed wins the fight. People can be incredibly hard on themselves through both thought (self-criticism) and behaviour (destructive and self-sabotaging). Yet, if we are kind and compassionate to ourselves and feed our good wolf, we also develop compassion for others.
Try the 4-7-8 breath
This ancient breathing technique helps recalibrate the central nervous system. The combination of a short inhale followed by a twice-as-long exhale has an immediate effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, putting the brakes on your stress response.
- Inhale to the count of 4.
- Hold the breath to the count of 7.
- Exhale through your mouth, as if blowing through a straw, to the count of 8.
- Repeat this cycle twice more.
- Do three cycles in the morning and in the evening for a calmer, less reactive disposition.
Consult your inner ‘wise woman’
Imagine if you could consult your future self for advice or counsel? Perhaps your 98-year-old self, has some wisdom to impart:
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the age of 98.
- Formulate a question or a concern that you would like to ask your inner ‘wise woman’.
- Imagine that your older, wiser self is conversing with your current self. You can even have her write you a letter if that makes it easier.
- See if this wider perspective shifts your current perception of what is going on today.
The Little Book of Inner Peace: Simple practices for less angst, more calm by Ashley Davis Bush is out now