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Cultivating A Practice Of Daily Calm

Cultivating A Practice Of Daily Calm

Disclaimer: The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp

Sometimes the daily grind of work, commuting, family, and finances can feel like a never-ending source of stress that we need to escape from. It’s easy to associate the stressful situations in our lifestyle with being the cause of our stress. When that happens, our lives may start to feel stressful and exhausting more of the time.

Daily Calm

In some cases, these kinds of daily patterns may lead to a person to consider therapy. Opting for online therapy can sometimes provide a more convenient and cost-effective option. Online therapy may also provide access to a wider range of therapeutic modalities. If you’re curious to find out more, visit BetterHelp’s guide to how CBT therapy works:

In this article, we’ll look at how it’s possible to cultivate a practice of daily calm that can help you feel more relaxed and energized.

The Practice Of Self-Regulation

There are ways to find calm that don’t involve white knuckling it through the day. Sometimes, being so exhausted it feels impossible to do anything other than hit the sofa and Netflix. The process involves learning how to cultivate feelings of calm — all while experiencing the normal daily twists and turns life sends our way. 

When we talk about cultivating calm and feeling more relaxed during our day, we’re actually talking about self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ability to better manage our feelings and reactions to events, as well as the ability to focus on tasks. Also called emotional regulation, self-regulation is the process of learning to more consciously manage our feelings and reactions. 

The good news is we can get better at self-regulation. We can retrain ourselves to better manage our feelings and reactions to become more calm throughout the day. Through shifts in mindset and specific techniques, we can practice specific exercise that can help retrain our minds and bodies to feel less stressed. 

Get Curious

Each moment life presents with choices for how we can react to a stressful event. Being present and open means taking a curious attitude to what’s going on around you. Instead of trying to harshly challenge a stressful situation, leave room for observation and curiosity. Maintaining our sense of curiosity may put us on the path to better understanding ourselves and the world around us. 

There’s no complicated mechanism to learn here, this is more about making a shift in attitude and learning to look at the world in new ways. Through a practice of being curious, we can often delay or avoid making snap judgements that may lead to a negative reaction to stress. That doesn’t mean it’s simple to do, but practicing being curious throughout the day can help strengthen your ability to remain calm.

Challenge Beliefs About Stress

Whether we believe something is good or bad, we can find ways to make both things true in our mind. The same goes for stress. If we believe something to be causing stress in our life is the cause of the stress in our body, then we will create an association that induces a stressful response in our mind and body. 

This means after going through stressful daily events, it’s possible to begin to associate the stressful events with them as being the cause of stress in our mind and body. For example, say you have a demanding coworker at your job who makes unreasonable demands. Quitting your job may not be a realistic way to end the way you feel stressed. But you may be able to change your relationship to how stressed out you feel by that coworker’s unrealistic demands.

That doesn’t mean it’s your fault for reacting with stress or sadness to something negative happening or a life event. It’s just saying that there’s space between the event and the reaction you have to the stressful event, especially when it’s a more typical part of the day, like traffic.

How Stress Works In The Body Responding To Threats

Stress is a response from the body’s autonomic nervous system to a perceived threat. Whether the threat is an actual tiger about to attack or the threat is perceived in the mind, our body has evolved to somewhat automatically respond to stressors in order to help us survive. That means this “fight or flight” response can be triggered throughout the day. Our body also has a parasympathetic nervous system that subsequently calms us down after being triggered by a threat. 

Even though these bodily systems work somewhat automatically, we can learn to exert a certain amount of control over this process. The first step is becoming more conscious of how these autonomic nervous system responses are working within us throughout a normal day. 

Interrupt The Harmful Stress Response In The Body

In that space between the stressful event and feeling the stress response in our body, we’re able to learn to lower our response and feel less triggered by a perceived threat. A perceived threat can be almost anything in our day-to-day lives, from wondering whether someone thinks poorly of us to running out of milk for cereal. Yet neither of those events truly represents a significant threat to our survival

It’s possible to become a person who feels more sense of calm, even when stressed by situations. Mostly what you’ll need is just some practice. There are a myriad of benefits beyond just feeling less stressed and more calm. For many, the feelings of stress can leave them emotionally and physically depleted. Others may turn to coping mechanisms, such as crashing on the couch with video games or watching tv. 

As you cultivate calm, it’s possible to feel more energized and less dependent on coping mechanisms that can interfere with your life. If this seems unlikely or impossible, know that there are skills involved that take time to develop. By learning to pay more attention to our wellbeing throughout the day, we’re already on the path to being more mindful of moments where our body is experiencing a stress response. 

What People In High-Stress Jobs Do Differently

There are many who work in highly stressful environments like emergency rooms or in the military. Every day, they’re faced with possible life-or-death situations. How do they learn to cope with extremely stressful situations and perform at a high level? They learn to help control their stress response through skills training. 

It’s good to remember that it’s possible for people in extremely stressful jobs to be functional, because that means it’s a skill that can be learned by almost anyone.

In Conclusion

Many of us live and work in high-stress environments that are negatively affecting our health. But removing the source of stress or quitting your job isn’t always an option. And the real truth is there’s no way to completely remove sources of stress in our lives. But we can learn to change our relationship to stress. So don’t wait for the weekend or a vacation to start feeling better today.  

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