We all live in a fast-paced, and sometimes chaotic society. Many PIN members have made conscientious efforts to learn and use tools that help them to feel more balanced and calm, and less anxious each day. In turn, these tools support their independence and work/life balance. Ethan C., a PIN member who has aspirations of supporting peers to manage feelings of anxiety and depression, shared his thoughts and strategies. He also interviewed 3 other PIN members to get their input on tools and ways to help alleviate anxious feelings and support life balance. These are strategies I have used to feel more balanced and calm:
- It has been important for me to personally find ways to relax. I want to be a positive person, so I have worked to find ways to increase positive feelings and moments in my life.
- Counting to slow down the moment or to get to a place of calm can help give me time to think. It can help me think through and make a good decision.
- I do a few minutes of Tai Chi every morning. Tai Chi is a form of moving meditation. It is exercise that involves slow and intentional movements to relieve stress from the body and to recharge every day. It helps to start the day fresh with a joyful heart, and positive thinking. One good practice is balancing the heart, and it releases endorphins.
- It even helps to scream into a pillow to release stress in a safe way!
Why do you need to work on finding ways to feel calm?
I have a hard time slowing down to sleep at night. The problem is I have a hard time quieting my mind. I always have a too active mind. If my mind was quiet, I would go to sleep right away.
What do you do to help you sleep?
Meditation, yoga, and self-hypnosis all really help me. Listening to ocean sounds also really helps me! I use different guided meditation methods to help me relax my mind on a daily basis. I also go to yoga one or two times a week. Yoga is a great way to exercise and to practice another form of relaxation. I also use essential oils to help relax me. When I am getting ready for bed, I put a few drops of essential oils in my oil diffuser. This helps me wind down when I am ready to go to sleep.
One of the methods I also use is Muse (a device you wear on your head to assist with meditation. It provides support to deepen focus and meditation based on the state of the person’s brain who is wearing the device). The problem is you have to use it regularly in order for it to recognize your brain.
My favorite to help me go to bed quickly is to listen to sounds with self-hypnosis. It counts you down and gives you the option to wake up or go to sleep. You can get it through Audible audiobooks or through the iTunes store. I like Eric Brown Hypnosis and Rachel Maddow Hypnosis.
What strategies, apps or other things have you used in your life to help you feel balanced and calm?
I have used the 5 senses exercise.
If I wanted to start using that exercise, how would I begin?
I first did it in a group and it was facilitated by a group leader. You say out loud – 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; 1 thing you can taste. It is a grounding exercise. It helps me feel more grounded and secure. My favorite way to relax and escape is to listen to Ed Sheeran songs. His voice is calming no matter what he is singing about.
Sam, do you have any strategies or apps that you use to help you relax, or help you through the day?
Actually, yes. I find that listening or singing along to music helps me destress myself. I have a little fun playing my own concert in my head, on my own stage, which is quite relaxing. I also like to use my skills of creativity to make artwork that I give as gifts, and possibly in the future to make pieces I can sell.
What kind of music do you like?
I am eclectic. I love anything from Billy Joel, Elvis Presley, The Monkees, country. I love even a little Kenny Chesney, which is always cool, and even a little Jimmy Buffett now and then.
How does music help you?
It helps me forget about things, and kind of go into my world where I get to relax and go into an area where I don’t have to worry about doing anything professional, correct, or be judged. Music to me can never be wrong.
How does the artwork help?
Artwork is never wrong. To express my creativity, in a relaxing way, I am sharing my art with others.
When you are using these ways to stay calm, do you have a feeling that helps you transcend in some way?
When I am using these things, I can’t be judged. No matter what people say about my music and art I won’t be offended, because everyone has their own opinion. It is a way to escape judgement and criticism from others. It helps me put positivity into the world.