Guidepost #8: Cultivate Calm and Stillness - Let go of anxiety as a lifestyle
After diving into all three books by Brene Brown I realized that The Gifts of Imperfection is the perfect companion to the work I do around the effect stress, anxiety, and feeling like enough have on loving your body and living a fulfilling life. To share in these gifts I am writing about a guidepost a week from the book for the next 10 weeks and how to embrace each one. I will also gift a journal prompt with each guidepost for you to use. I love this book and encourage you to pick up a copy!
Guidepost #8/10: Cultivate Calm and Stillness - Let go of anxiety as a lifestyle
I’ve been waiting for this guidepost to come up. As psychologist Harriet Lerner says, “Anxiety is extremely contagious, but so is calm.” Calm is a practice. It’s not the absence of anxiety or ignoring that is exists. Calm means you’re practicing a healthy awareness of anxiety and how to move through anxious moments. I'm not referencing the kind of anxiety caused by an animal lurking in the bushes – by all means, be anxious in that situation.
I am referring to the kind of anxiety we live with, sometimes, constantly. Stress and anxiety seem to saturate the day thanks to deadlines, media, money, health, work, and the list goes on. Are you getting anxious just thinking about it? Sorry about that. Instead, let’s practice calm and stillness. The easiest way to feel calm is by breathing. I know, you are breathing right now but are you aware of your breath? Pay attention to your inhale and exhale. Take time with your breath – count 3 seconds in and 3 seconds out. Feel better?
Stillness is a little different. I know, for me, I can practice working from a calm place and I can practice being calm when sh*t hits the fan. Both are helpful and both take patience. But stillness…stillness is something I have to build into my day, every day.
Stillness is journaling in the morning, meditation, sipping on tea with zero distractions, or just sitting in silence for a few minutes. As Brene points out, stillness is not about nothingness. As she writes, “It’s about clearing and making space so we can feel, think, dream, and question.” Yes, please! Don’t you crave more space? I do.
This week’s journal prompt is a practice of calm and stillness. Instead of writing about it, just do it.
Cultivate Calm and Stillness - Set 10 minutes on a timer and place pen to paper. I have two journal prompts for you today!
What feels easy and effortless?