Back when I was a consultant to a treatment center in Florida, one of my friends and colleagues came on board as medical director. The first thing she said to me was, “Wow, you just radiate serenity!” I decided then and there, that was the best compliment you could get—better than being told, “You look so healthy/thin/young/fit…” or any other physical description that is overused in our culture and doesn’t fulfill us whatsoever.
Years earlier, I remember being in a life transition as I was growing into the person I strived to be. I had just finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training, where I had been immersed in learning about yoga. I was also practicing it daily, along with meditation. I was participating in group training at a place that made it very fun, and I was eating in a way I liked—planning and preparing ahead to create ease on the days I had a stressful schedule.
What was I doing right in both these times in my life? I was consistently applying a set of basic actions or rituals that protected my serenity in moments of stress.
Here are just a few calming practices you can try in the face of adversity:
- Breath work such as the “physiological sigh”
- Yoga in micro-practices—brief poses or mental adjustments you can fit into small windows in your day
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Time in nature, including grounding
- Petting a dog or cat
- A challenging workout (within your ability)
- Talking with someone supportive
- Drinking warm drinks
- Good sleep
- Creativity projects
- Guided imagery
- Eye movement therapy
We all have stress in our lives. Even if you are financially secure, have stable and loving relationships/friendships, are doing yoga every day, and are physically healthy, you’ll still encounter traffic, politics, climate issues, and people who may not be the nicest. What causes our stress is different for everyone, and so is where we find our resilience. When we do find it, our serenity radiates for others to see and feel.