Many of us live with a low-grade stress level that becomes so normal to us that most of the time, we don’t even realize it’s there.
While we might not be showing obvious signs of stress, cortisol—the hormone associated with stress—wreaks havoc on our mental and physical health over the long-term.
So, it’s important to make time to calm our minds and bring some peace into our lives, even if we’re not feeling anxious.
Of course, meditation is an incredibly effective way to create a calm mind and I highly recommend that you meditate as often as you can.
The problem is that most of us don’t have time to sit and meditate daily. So, here are 10 simple things you can do to calm your mind if you don’t have time to meditate.
1. Focus on gratitude
When we’re facing a series of challenges, it can be easy to slip into tunnel vision and focus on what’s going wrong at the expense of noticing what’s going well.
Even taking the time to write down just three things each day that we feel grateful for can help reinstate a balanced perspective on our day-to-day experience.
2. Practice self-compassion
I know that I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else, and I think many people are the same way.
Practicing self-compassion means acknowledging and accepting reality and extending the same kind of compassion to ourselves that we would to a good friend who is in trouble.
Self-compassion can help us stop measuring ourselves against different standards compared to other people.
3. Take a long bath
Nothing calms quite like a long, peaceful soak in the bathtub. Baths help you relax by making you take time to step away from the hustle and bustle of the day.
Add some lavender essential oil to the water to make it even more relaxing.
4. Set routines
Setting routines might sound like a recipe for boredom but it actually helps give us a day-to-day sense of peace in our minds.
When we have set routines, we have less decisions to make during the day.
This frees up space in our minds for bigger, more important tasks.
5. Create a daily list of tasks
Like setting routines, making a daily task list can give you peace of mind because you know exactly what you need to do that day to accomplish what you have to do.
Nothing creates stress more than thinking of something you forgot to do just as you’re getting ready to settle down for the night.
6. Stare at a favorite piece of art
Whether it’s a Van Gogh, a favorite poem, or a sculpture your child made in first grade, looking at our favorite art can bring us a sense of peace.
Just try not to think about why you like it. That’s not important.
I know what you’re thinking. If you don’t have time to meditate, where are you going to find time to exercise?
Exercising for just 10 minutes can release endorphins, pain-killing chemicals that help induce a state of mental and physical peace.
Try taking a walk during a break at work or parking in the farthest space from the store or work. Any exercise is better than none.
8. Pet your favorite furry friend
There is just something about stroking the fur of your favorite pet that brings an instant sense of calm.
Whether it’s the softness of the fur, the repetitive motion or the love and affection you feel, petting your favorite fur baby will release your tensions and pull you away from the stresses of the day.