Thomas Keating wrote these simple but profound words
The deep listening of pure contemplation
Is the path to stillness.
All words disappear into It,
And all creation awakens to the delight of
Finding Peace in the Moment with these simple practises
When you are in the middle of a disagreement or a difficult emotion, here is a few quick resets to create some inner peace. They will also just give you the space to respond in a way that is nurturing.
The brilliant thing is no one will even know you are doing.
Try to practice one or more of these exercises below as you read them. Each takes less than a minute and it will shift you stress response into a calmer place. Then use the one or two that seem to work to bring you a sense of calm.
- Close your eyes: You can usually close your eyes without being noticed, even if for only a half a minute. Try it now. The outside world takes a backseat while you go within. You almost instantly regain a sense of balance and relaxation.
- 30-second body scan: Bring your attention to how your body feels, sitting or standing, right where you are at this moment. With your eyes open or closed, scan your body from the top down, front and back, relaxing as you go. Relax your forehead, your eyes, your mouth, your tongue, your jaw. Lower your shoulders and relax your belly. Bring your attention to your hands, then your feet. In less than a minute, you can feel better from the inside out.
- Feel your breath: You can find inner peace with your eyes open, too. Focus your attention on your breath as you slowly take in a deep breath through your nose, then, let it out slowly through your nose. Pause for two seconds, then repeat. Holding the breath after you exhale helps counteract stress patterns of shallow breathing or holding the breath in. In, out, hold, repeat.
- Count your breaths: Eyes open or closed, it might help to silently count your breaths. In, count one; out, count two. Count your breaths all the way to ten. The mind might wander, but simply keep focusing back to your breath and counting. This calms your nervous system.
- Pay attention to each one of your senses: What are you hearing in this moment? What are you feeling? What are you seeing? What do you taste? What do you smell? By paying attention to your senses, your focus can shift back to the present moment just enough to relieve stress.
- Say a affirmation: Silently repeating an affirmation can immediately shift your focus from a stressful situation to peace. Slowly say a prayer in your mind or repeat an affirmation. All is well, I’m doing the best I can, and Peace can be found here and now, and This too shall pass, are good examples. You can also choose a single word, like One, Relax, Trust, or Calm. Repeat seven times.
- Smile: Give yourself a smile (don’t grimace.) Smiling releases endorphins that reduce stress and help you feel better. Studies have shown that even faking a smile can lead to feeling happier. Even if it feels strange at first, make it a point to smile more often.
- Slow down: Do one thing at a time, move a little slower than usual. Get up from your chair more deliberately or walk a bit more slowly—you’ll find that this helps ease the tension, brings you back to the present moment, and relaxes your mind and body.
- Excuse yourself: If you’re unhappy in the moment, or if you’re around people who are unhappy, the discomfort can be contagious. Whenever you notice signals of stress in your body, simply excuse yourself, “I’ve got to get back to a project,” and walk away. That project is your inner peace. Go outside, back to your desk, or head to the bathroom. Once there, use one of the above techniques.