For most people, life is anything but calming. With a to-do list that never seems to end and challenges that pop up that you weren't expecting, it's no wonder anxiety and depression are so common. Even if you don't suffer from clinical depression or incapacitating anxiety, you could still benefit from more calm in your day. Here are some tips to help you cultivate more serenity in your daily life.
Watch What You Drink
If you're drinking coffee much of the day, the caffeine may be contributing to stress and anxiety. Switch to decaf and see if you feel calmer. Green tea, although it contains caffeine is a better option. It's also a source of theanine, an amino acid that calms the nervous system. Therefore, it counteracts the effects of caffeine. You could also switch to an herbal tea with calming properties such as chamomile or passionfruit. However, these herbal teas may also make you sleepy. So, try them first in the evening when you don't have to stay alert.
Watch What You Eat
How much sugar are you consuming? It matters. Sugar and refined carbohydrates from ultra-processed foods cause rapid swings in blood sugar that can affect your mood. You might feel good right after consuming a sugary food but when your blood sugar drops quickly afterward, it can bring on anxiety, fatigue, and brain fog. Make sure you're eating a diet of mostly fiber-rich whole foods without added sugar, along with protein to help stabilize your glucose level. Skip the ultra-processed junk. Make sure you're eating a diet that balances your blood sugar to keep your mood stable.
Include Self-Care Rituals in Your Day
Self-care is important for maintaining calm. If you rush through your day without making time for yourself, you're doing nothing to lower your stress level. You can't control everything that happens, but you can change how you respond to outside factors. Self-care rituals like daily meditation help you do that. Mediation teaches you how to live in the moment and be fully present. When you're living completely in the present without judging it, worry becomes less of an issue and you feel a sense of inner calm. Other self-care rituals that have a calming effect include a walk in nature, slow and controlled breathing, and a relaxing bath or massage. Make times for these things. They're not a waste of time but can save you time by making you calmer, relaxed, and more productive.
Compartmentalize Your Life
Too often, people bring work home from the office rather than letting it go. When you bring work home, you turn your home into an office too and it's harder to let go of work-related issues. Even if you work at home, compartmentalize your tasks to one room or area of the house. Make sure there's a door you can close to separate yourself from your work. It's important to have a way to escape stress and worry. Make sure you have work-free zones.
Change Your Environment
The environment you live and work in affects your mood and stress levels too. One way to do that is to bring the outdoors in. How can you do that? Fill your home and workspace with nature. Lush, green plants are not only calming to look at but some clean the air too. How about a Zen garden for your desk? Another option is to add a desktop fountain to your work area. The sound of flowing water is soothing to the body and mind. If you don't want to invest in a fountain, play nature background sounds while you work. You can find free online videos that play hours of nature sounds like rain, thunderstorms, birds singing, and more.
Reduce the Noise Level
A noisy environment makes it harder to focus and increase stress hormone levels that cause you to feel anxious. Noise also makes it harder to focus and interferes with productivity. Lack of productivity increases stress. If you work in a noisy environment, consider wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Not only do they protect your hearing, but they'll give you added peace of mind if you work in a loud environment.
Interact with Animals
Interacting with nature and animals has a calming effect. You may already have a dog, cat, or other pet that helps reduce stress. If not, there are other ways to engage with animals. How about adding a small aquarium to your home? Studies show that watching fish swim lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level.
Now you know some ways to lower your stress level and promote calm. Take advantage of them and add more tranquility to your life.