In his book called The Worry Solution, Dr. Martin Rossman writes about the importance of cultivating calmness in our lives.1 When we are calm and relaxed, our bodies and brains repair and renew themselves. (Read his wonderful book for more.)
Research tells us that we can train our brains and muscles to be calm—if we do it regularly. Here are three keys to calmness. Keep this handout with you—or if you can, memorize the three keys. Try this over the next week every time you feel worried or anxious—standing in a line up, or waiting to be served a meal. PS: No one needs to know you are doing it.
Another way to reduce worry is to help others. Do you know someone who struggles with worry or perhaps anxiety? Offer this practice to them once you have tried it in your own life. Give them a copy of this handout and tell them about your own experience. Happiness is helping others.
The Three Keys to Calmness
1. Take three simple breaths—slowly.
a) Breathe in and breathe out. b) Breathe in calm, breathe out worry. c) Breathe in peace, and relax.
2. Relax one area of tension.
Sometimes tension comes from habit. You can actually teach your muscles to relax by choosing one area of tension and simply inviting it to relax. For example, think ‘shoulders, relax’.
3. Focus on a calming image.
Now think for a moment about an image, scent or sound that is calming to you. It may be of a pet sleeping, or the face of a person you love smiling at you, a peaceful park you’ve been to, or the sounds of waves and seagulls at the ocean, or windchimes. Even a scent can be calming, such as the scent of pine trees. Visualize it now—it will help your mind and body to be calm.
1Adapted from Rossman, M. (2010). The Worry Solution. Crown Archetype, New York, NY.