Reach Finding Calm in the Chaos Here is a revolutionary thought – what if looking after ourselves we could be there for others, in a more fully, present way while feeling good? By Wanderlust Journal Our current society and conditioning patterns tell us otherwise – why should you put yourself first, that’s selfish! There is no time for that, there are so many obligations, duties to complete first. To what I respond – how can you keep giving when there’s nothing left to give? This is one of the first signs of burnout. No energy, recurrent negative thoughts, lack of drive or desire. It can be extremely daunting to stop external circumstances affecting how we feel – but there’s a way to go back to our own oasis of calmness and insights. I’d like to share with you my favourite 5 techniques to feel calmer and more grounded – finding your inner peace despite the chaos around: 1) MEDITATE There are a lot of myths about “reaching a meditative state” as “the mind needs to become blank” – the mind is designed to be busy with thoughts all the time. What meditation (and the use of visualisations and the guidance of breath) provides a pathway to stay present, while the mind becomes calmer. You can add any extra elements, such as sound, crystals, and essential oils. Meditation will allow your mind to step out from the flight/fight mode and step into a calmer sense. Use the breath as an anchor. Use visualisations if helpful to centre when thoughts pop up – apps such as Insight timer have wonderful and free options (check mine here) 2) PHYSICAL MOVEMENT It’s a great way to break repetitive cycles or when we find ourselves in a spiral. Taking physical action to break that spiral. Physical movement brings balance to all bodies (mental, physical and emotional) and allows to express and release emotions through physical activity. This action has a chemical effect in our brains, releasing endorphins (happy hormones) while detoxifying cortisol/adrenaline (causing stress). Spending time in nature is a wonderful way to move while being present and connecting with your surroundings. Anything from yoga to running to boxing to dancing – allow yourself to express freely! 3) BREATHE We use breath in meditation as the key anchor to the now, to the present. With that, we keep the mind busy observing and noticing the breath while we start connecting with our physical body and its sensations. Yoga tradition considers breath “prana” as life force, as the fuel that keeps us alive and going. It’s an extremely powerful tool to modify our state – if can be truly activating or very calming, depending on how it’s used. For instance “4 step breathing technique” is perfect to balance and de-stress – 4 x inhalations 4 x hold 4 x exhalations 4 x hold – it calms the nervous system and allows the body systems and organs to restore and the mind to be calmer. Here is a video explaining it. 4) REACH OUT This one is hard. Especially when we have been told that “showing our true self or vulnerable self” is not ok. 1 out 3 people in the UK suffer from mental health issues, but still it’s not widely accepted to openly talk about it without shame or stigma. It’s crucial to have a support network that we can reach out for help and support. Even in physical isolation times, we have amazing tools to stay in touch with your loved ones – especially those in risk or who are alone. It is ok to not be ok. When we share our stories, there is no room for shame. 5) PRACTICE APPRECIATION & FORGIVENESS Two really powerful tools to stay calm, positive and focused. Finding reasons to be happy, joyful, content are fundamental to stay healthy and with a positive mindset. Being able to forgive yourself, to be compassionate will release a lot of the guilt that you are holding back for “not having been able to do better” – you did the best you could in the given circumstances – that’s enough, that’s perfect. And with that kind approach, you’ll also be able to see and appreciate kindness around you. Give it a go and let me know how it goes! With great love and purpose, — Monica first discovered yoga and mindfulness two decades ago while developing her career in a result-driven and high-demanding corporate environment. They brought a sense of freedom, inner-peace and calmness that have accompanied her ever since. She combines different styles of yoga and somatic inspired movement (Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Yin, Restorative and Nidra) with sound therapy, coaching and energy healing in order to create deep transformative experiences. Her style is playful, creative and inquisitive, creating her unique “Holistic Wellbeing” offering, which combines cognitive, emotional and experiential frameworks to empower individuals to embody their authentic and resilient self. Currently London based, she teaches, hosts retreats and workshops locally and internationally. Follow Monica on Instagram and for online classes, check the schedule on her website on what’s coming up.