#CalmTip: Do Less

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you’re like most of us, you have a lot going on and several responsibilities. So, you might be wondering why today’s tip is “do less.” Well, doing less can improve your focus (because when you do too much, you’re probably switching from task to task, constantly being distracted); you’ll have more time for the things you enjoy; and, of course, it helps you create calm because you’re not allowing yourself to be pulled in many different directions.

Here are tips for doing less (from Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net):

  1. Slowly cut back on non-essential commitments
  2. Single-task and focus
  3. Set limits on how many things you do daily
  4. Focus on what’s important first before you get distracted.

“Do less with more focus.”

#CalmTip 24: Take a Social Media Break

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

With all the tragedy, violence, and heartache going on in the world, social media can be a place full of negative news. If you’re like me, you want to stay aware of what’s going on (to a degree), but seeing it constantly on your timeline can be overwhelming and draining. To center yourself and find calm, it helps to take a break from social media, whether it’s for a few hours, a day or longer. Use the time to read something positive or inspirational or do something to get you closer to your goals.

#CalmTip: Do What’s Best for You

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Trying to be who someone else wants you to be or living up to someone else’s expectations of who you should be is stressful. Living unauthentically can drain your energy and make you unhappy.

Well-meaning people might try to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but since they’re not you, they don’t necessarily know what’s best for you. That doesn’t mean to forget about everybody in your life and your responsibilities. Figure out what you want and what’s good for you then find a way to incorporate it into your life in a way that works. Even if other people don’t ‘get you,’ be true to who you are, and do what’s best for you.

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” (Unknown)

#CalmTip 22: Practice Gratitude

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., gratitude effectively increases happiness & reduces depression. It also reduces toxic emotions like frustration and regret.

Being grateful when you feel stressed helps pull you out of your negative mindset and helps you put things into perspective. Something I do when I’m feeling anxious or frustrated is take out sheet of paper or my journal and write down everything I can think of that I’m thankful for. After I finish, I feel a lot calmer and have a more positive outlook, which helps me get through the rest of my day. Try it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” – Ralph H. Blum

#CalmTip: November 3rd, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Music is a great way to create calm. According to the University of Nevada, Reno, music can have a profound effect on your emotions and body and is an effective method for reducing stress. For example, faster music can make you feel more alert and help you focus better, while a slower tempo can quiet your mind, relax your muscles, and make you feel soothed.

“Meditation music” (Native American, Celtic, etc.) is very helpful in reducing stress. In addition to meditation music (one of my favorite stations on Google Play is Gerald Jay Markoe Radio), I also listen to jazz and classical when I need to create calm. If these genres don’t work in helping you relax, listen to a few types to figure out what works best for you.

#CalmTip: October 13th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualization is a great way to create more calm in your life. Here’s an exercise to try:

  • Find a quiet, distraction-free space, and get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breath, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location where everything is like you’d ideally have it.
  • Visualize yourself calm and relaxed. As you keep visualizing, focus on the different sensory aspects, making it more vivid in your mind.
  • Stay in this place for a few minutes or until you feel relaxed.

“Develop your imagination — you can use it to create in your mind what you hope to create in your life.” – Stephen Covey

#CalmTip: September, 29th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, being physically active is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can also reduce stress, making it a great way to find your calm. Studies show that it’s very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be really helpful when stress has drained your energy or ability to concentrate.

You don’t have to join the gym or spend two hours per day exercising (unless you want to). You could take a 20 or 30 minute walk after work, go for a bike ride, or work out at home with exercise DVDs or YouTube videos (I’ve used Blogilates, FitnessBlender, and HangTightWMarC). Figure out what you like, and get moving!

#CalmTip: September 22nd, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your breath is closely linked with how your feeling. When you’re relaxed, calm or content, your breath is deep and slow (how it should be). When you’re tense, angry, anxious, or fearful, your breath is either held in or it becomes irregular, short, or difficult. When you’re mindful of how you’re feeling, you can change your breath to what it should be and feel more calm.

Here’s a breathing technique to try for relaxation: Inhale deeply for four counts; pause; exhale fully for eight counts. Do this for a minute or two until you feel relaxed.

#CalmTip: September 15th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Affirmations are a great way to create more peace and calm in your life. They are statements you can write down then repeat regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with the thoughts, images, and feelings you would be experiencing if your goal was complete already. Here are a few tips for writing them:

  1. Begin with the words “I am,” and/or use present tense.
  2. Make it positive.
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Be specific.
  5. Make them for yourself.

(From The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm)

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My book, The Black GCover croppedirl’s Guide to Calm, is available now! Get your print or digital copy now; and don’t forget to tell a friend (sharing is caring!).

 

#CalmTip: September 1st, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

We live in a culture that glorifies busyness, grinding, and hustling. Of course, there are times when you’ll have to work a little longer than you want, and you may have to make time sacrifices, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur. But making time for rest rejuvenates your body and mind, and regulates your mood. Take breaks, and schedule time (even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes) to rest.