Physical and mental health largely depends on the state of mind. When we enjoy emotional balance, calm and deep serenity allow us to overcome difficulties and develop a life full of activities that at all times reinforce health and well-being.
Neuroscience investigates how our habits and our emotions feed into each other. Harmful habits reinforce long-standing emotions such as anxiety or depression. Instead, healthy habits support a calm and positive mood. Therefore, to the extent that our lifestyle depends on us, it is our responsibility to improve it if we want to live healthy and happy.
This has recently been recognized by the World Health Organization by stating that “lifestyle medicine” can prevent or replace harmful habits with healthy ones such as healthy eating, physical exercise, mutually supportive social relationships, adequate sleep or health. effectively manage emotions.
Meditating helps calm emotions. Discover more in the online course 21 Meditations for Calm of the Body Mind School.
10 tips to live with greater serenity and fulfillment
A life that is too fast, full of activities and too competitive, can generate an empty life experience. If we forget that we are here and now, and we fill our time with thoughts and actions that obey other interests more than our own, we are in danger of becoming automatons. We lose our own life, we miss the connection with ourselves.
When we are so disconnected from our essence, the most normal thing is that we experience anxiety and later other diseases. But always we have the ability to access our being, to our interior, to be able to lead a healthy, balanced and full life, which favors creativity, learning and continuous personal growth. The following 10 tips will help you experience peace of mind.
1. Time for you
Plan a sacred time and space in your agenda for you, to meditate, exercise, yoga, Pilates, running, simple stretching, jump rope or knit. It can be any activity that involves your body and mind and makes you feel calm. The important thing is that you respect that pause, understanding that it is about gold for your health and well-being. Focus on the action itself and detach yourself from the result. The simple fact of feeling the breath and the bodily sensations, letting go of the thoughts, takes us to the present moment.
2. Ask yourself who you are
Take the pencil and write as much as you can in response to the question “Who am I?” People do not know each other well, but self-knowledge is not something you are born with or come across by chance, it is something you look for and create. You can ask yourself the following questions:
- What gift or genuine ability would I like to offer to the world?
- What would I like life to give me?
- What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
- Can I change something to get closer to these purposes?
- When I was a child or a young man, what were my dreams?
The answers to these questions help to rethink life in a positive way based on achievable goals in the short, medium and long term.
3. Learn to meditate
Train your mind to experience freedom, not to be a slave to your passions and emotions. To receive all the benefits of meditation, It is very important to create a routine: every day at the same time.
As you learn, your mind asks you to spend more time in meditation. This is rewarded, as the ability to be present in the here and now is greatly increased, You begin to live in “mindfulness mode” and deeply enjoy the gifts that life offers you at every moment.
To start I propose this meditation in 15 minutes:
- Lie down or sit down and perceive your body as a compact block, bring the attention within as if you were trying to feel it inside. Stay focused for two or three minutes.
- Bring your attention to your breath, Feel how, as you inhale, the air enters your nostrils and it tickles you, note the temperature of the air, see how the flow stops at the end of the inhalation.
- Observe how the air comes out when you exhale, notice the sensations that occur at the tip of the nose and on the upper lip. Experiencing the sensations that appear in this triangle formed by your nose and your lip.
- Your mind can resist at first and it can generate many distractions, such as repetitive thoughts and even emotions, but you can remain calm and return again and again to the focus of observing your breath.
- Keep in mind that practice trains your mind. Little by little, with perseverance, you will learn to calm down and reduce mental noise.
4. Enjoy nature
I would like to highlight the importance of contact with everything natural when we talk about gaining serenity and regulating emotions. The feeling of enjoyment of all that nature can offer is truly unmatched. Enjoy, feel, live your walks in the countryside, gardens or parks as true balms that bring you calm, joy and well-being.
5. Recognize emotions
Not all feelings are simple and positive. It must be recognized that complex emotions are normal. The problem lies in hiding or rejecting them because they believe that they are not good or appropriate. That way they only get bigger. To recognize and validate emotions you have to open yourself to them and feel them in the body.
For example, when I am angry, I may feel a knot in the pit of my stomach, but if I am able to focus on the physical sensation, I watch the anger diminish. Or when I feel sad, I notice a sensation as if my heart is turned off or bent; if I detect and observe that bodily sensation, in a few minutes the sadness has become lighter. This way of working with emotions is truly effective and can be learned through mindfulness practice.
6. Be kind to yourself
In many people the voice of self-criticism is so powerful that it can become a true inner executioner. The practice of self-compassion, which has nothing to do with feeling sorry or sorry for oneself, but empathy and understanding, it is the most effective method for self-esteem and security problems.
Every morning you can put your hands on your heart and dedicate some phrases like: «I am happy, I love myself, I take care of myself and I am healthy». Or you can connect with your inner child, which at this moment may feel vulnerable, and sincerely embrace it from your adult self. Cultivating these kinds of attitudes and feelings in your heart is a healing medicine.
7. Be compassionate to others
As the Buddhists say, “If you want to be happy practice compassion, and if you want others to be happy, practice compassion.” Putting yourself in the shoes of others changes the brain and the whole body benefits.
Compassion can govern our relationships with others, and we can cultivate it by mentally reciting two or three compassionate phrases with a sincere attitude. You can do this when you get up, go to bed or during a break in your tasks: “I want others to be happy”, “I want all people to be free from suffering and disease.”
Conscious listening to others is part of the compassionate attitude: can you listen without interruption and without thinking about what you are going to respond to? Can you always respond in a friendly way? How is your tone when you speak?
8. Write a gratitude notebook
The energy that is generated when thanking is unmatched to sow well-being and peace. Just grab a notebook and write three acknowledgments every night that make us connect with our present and with the gifts that life brings us every day. For example, I love to thank my teenage daughter for the kind and loving phrases that my adolescent daughter addresses to me, the sensations of connection with my whole environment that I experience when walking or the food that I have on my plate every day.
9. Mindful eating
You can practice it at least two or three times a day and it consists of put the five senses in the act of feeding yourself. Observe the colors and shapes of the food you have on your plate, identify each flavor, each nuance, each aroma and textures when you chew. Observe the emotions that arise. Thus food is experienced as a moment of mindfulness. This practice will teach you to eat slowly and will help you make healthy food choices.
10. Rest and dream
A calm lifestyle is completed with quality rest and sleep. They are essential for the brain and the entire organism to regenerate and to strengthen its balance. During the night, the brain is cleansed of cellular debris, learnings settle and emotions assimilate, which will allow us to start a new day with a serene attitude and full of energy.
The benefits of calm for the body and mind
The body’s processes that promote health are activated when we are in a state of relaxation.
- More control. A calm state of mind favors a series of reactions that begin in the brain and that promote the general health of the organism. The first beneficial effect is that you gain control over your own life, which helps to achieve goals and react appropriately to each situation.
- Stress is reduced. A study of 3,500 people conducted at Johns Hopkins University (United States) shows that meditation that promotes calm is effective in reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress causes general discomfort, disturbs sleep, causes physical inflammation, increases blood pressure, and impairs immunity.
- Balances blood pressure. Emotional tranquility is reflected in the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters. One of the effects is that the heart must make less effort to pump blood and lowers blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improves digestion. Nervous excitement affects digestive function. The state of relaxation corresponds to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls digestive function. If you are calm, nutrients are transformed into energy and perform their function in cells more efficiently. The risk of developing insulin resistance and increasing blood sugar levels is reduced.
- Lower inflammation. In a calm and relaxed state, the circulation of inflammatory cytokines is reduced. The “nuclear transcription factor kappa B” is reduced, which influences the expression of the genes that command the production of cytokines. In this way the risk of developing a large number of disorders is reduced.
- Greater immunity. While we remain calm, the body increases the number and activity of immune cells that fight against pathogenic bacteria and viruses, as well as the production of antibodies, according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine.
- More years of life. A study from the University of New England (Australia) shows that the more you meditate, the longer the telomere length, on which the aging of cells and tissues depends. Emotionally stable people live at least two to three more years.
- Decrease pain. People who have learned to gain serenity through relaxation techniques perceive pain with less distress. This ability corresponds to less activity in the brain’s pain control center.