Five expert ways how to calm the mind

If you’re feeling more anxious than usual these days, know that you are not alone. It’s a stressful time, but it’s important to stay calm and collected.

We’ve rounded up five experts to tell us how they relax and relieve stress, fast.

Meditate
Luke McLeod specialises in meditation and is the founder of Soul Alive.

If you haven’t tried meditation before, now is the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s a practice that can be done by yourself and is proven to help with stress and anxiety. In saying this, though, a lot of people struggle with meditation. My suggestion, particularly if you’re new to it, is to start out with guided meditations. Like we do at Soul Alive, each session is taught live online by a meditation teacher, where they guide people through the practice, helping them overcome the usual challenges along the way.

Stand-up paddle board
Kylianne Farrell is an ecotherapist, counsellor, fitness industry educator and presenter, personal trainer, mental health first aid instructor, mental health advocate and a Red Paddle Co Expert.

Human beings today are busy and screen addicted, bombarded with man-made stimuli and stress from every angle. When we step away from the constant hustling and the pressure to be and do more, grab the board and paddle to hit the water, we give ourselves the permission and space to restore and recover. The majority of Australians feel that stress not only impacts their physical health but also their mental wellbeing. Stand-up paddle boarding may hold an anecdote to balance out the damaging effects of stress from daily life. Natural settings have been shown to lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure, lower anxiety and increase feelings of wellbeing. With each stroke, optimal conditions for the attentional recovery within the brain are created, clearing space for reflection by being immersed in a natural environment.

Future self
Briony Leo is a psychologist from Melbourne. Her interests include relationships, trauma, addictions and mental and physical wellbeing. She has specialist training in EMDR, neurofeedback, Schema therapy and ACT therapy.

One useful way of helping us to shift gears is to try and take perspective on things – and imagine ourselves five or 10 years from now, looking back at our current selves. What might they see? What things in your life right now might stand out to them? Considering 2020 as a ‘point in time’ rather than our whole existence is really useful, because it allows us to put it into perspective and reflect on things like ‘what have I learned?’, ‘what matters more to me now?’, ‘how have I changed?’. Often, perspective is a great way of refocusing and taking stock, and also imagining a future that is more than a few weeks ahead.

Breathe, move and meditate
Beth Borowsky is an educator, yoga teacher and CEO of The Karma Class.

Nature and exercise are like honey for the body, mind and soul. Get outdoors and into nature – especially with your kids or grandkids. Go for a bicycle ride, a run on the sand or create a fun obstacle course indoors if the weather is poor. Do family yoga – a great way to build strength and flexibility and, when enjoyed with mindful breathing, creates calm and balance. And there are many ways to experience meditation. The Karma Home Activity Cards show you how to enjoy a candle gazing meditation or a mindful silent walk. Gift yourself and your loved ones with experiences that allow you to let go of your worries and release physical and emotional stress.

Practise gratitude
Claire Summers is founder of
Gratitude Glass Jars.

Practising gratitude daily not only allows you to excel in your pursuits but has long-lasting benefits to counter stress and strengthen our mental health. Find the tool that works for you, whether it’s capturing a daily note of gratitude in your glass jar or writing in a journal. The sheer act of writing down a positive emotion or experience from that day will reinforce the experience in your mind, raise your serotonin levels and provide a sense of calm and joy as you reflect.

Do you find yourself experiencing more stress and anxiety as you get older? Do you practise meditation or yoga? How do you calm your mind when you feel overwhelmed?

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