Guiding ourselves back to calm

Meditation Expert Laura Coleman gives some soothing advice on how to remain centred and peaceful as the second UK lockdown begins.

Can you pause for a moment and take a breathe?

The rain pours down my window as I type this, and the leaves that have fallen are drenched. They create piles of sodden debris that look particularly forlorn under this grey and miserable sky. All their vibrant brightness of the yellows and oranges have dulled to brown.

Unlike a few months ago, the outside seems a perfect mirror for the doom and gloom of the news. Last time we were teetering on the verge of lockdown, as we seem to be now, the weather was our surprising friend. The sun blazed and the sky seemed to be impossibly blue much of the time. As if nature was offering us a gift each day to help us through.

So it feels that we will all need to draw on something much deeper to cope with this current uncertainty. Our bodies and minds will naturally be gravitating to “what ifs”.  

For me, I can feel resistance to the imposition of restrictions. The “it’s not fair” beginning to kick in, and also a sense of sadness and regret all over again for the people who I know will suffer the most. People who are already feeling isolated and alone, for whom the ache and weight of it all has already been too much.

So how can we cope with what’s to come? Here are 3 small practices to help you to steady yourself:

  1. Stay with this moment It’s so tempting to predict, project and imagine what is coming, when in truth we don’t know. Can you pause for a moment and take a breath? In this moment right now, you are safe.  The breath is an immediate way to shift our nervous system state.  It’s the back door to managing states of stress and anxiety. Slowing the rate of our breathing and taking the breath down to the belly allows us to activate soothing in our nervous system. Take 5 slow deep breaths right now.

  2. Allow the feelings Our next habit can be to push away how we feel.  “I’m fine”, we tell ourselves, even while the churning of our stomach or the stiffening of our shoulders tells another story. Or the opposite happens  and our thoughts and emotions take over and block out everything else. One way to allow the feelings so they don’t overwhelm you is to connect with the body instead.  Close your eyes and just tune in to the sensations you feel right now. Can you feel your feet on the floor? Your hands in your lap? Can you feel where in your body most needs attention?

3. Stay vigilant for those in need Looking outwards and helping others is proven to be effective at improving our own mental states. 

Being of service takes you out of the dark and damp corridors of your own suffering. 

So can you reach out to others right now?

Can you send a message or make a call to a friend, a neighbour, a loved one?    

One final thing I need you to know… We’re in this together. You’re never alone, even when it feels the hardest. 

Whatever happens, we’ll get through it together.

You can join me for free Live meditation on Monday Mornings at 7.15am.  (you can sign up for reminders and replays here or join me for live streaming in my free Facebook group

We can guide ourselves back to calm and create a small window to find clarity in the chaos.

Laura Coleman is a Meditation Expert at Be Modern Meditation.