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Relax & Calm Down (Even if You Hate Meditating)

Relax & Calm Down (Even if You Hate Meditating)
Relax & Calm Down (Even if You Hate Meditating)

Feeling beat down?

Can't ever feel fully rested?

Have loads of constant stress?

If you're at your wits end trying to find a viable solution to this endless exhaustion and frustration, but you don’t love meditation, there are other options.

I know there's no shortage of meditation exercises out there, but to be honest, I don’t love meditating. It's really difficult for me to quiet my mind without a truckload of thoughts and feelings coming in and taking over, but I still want the benefits, and I’m sure you do too. I just can’t seem to do it like other people.

Today, I’m going to share two practices that I use to calm myself down without having to sit in a meditation pose. These practices are great for busy people: I've tried them in airports, on planes, driving in traffic, and even during in-person meetings when other people are around me.

Practice A: Ground Yourself in the Moment

This is a highly underestimated and underutilized practice. You may or may not notice that 90% of the time, rather than focusing on the present, you are thinking about things that have happened in the past or things that might happen in the future. Even though all of the action of our life is happening in the current moment, we just can't seem to stop the endless worrying. Until you make it a habit to ground yourself on a regular basis, your mind will be off wishing you would have said something different to your boss earlier or worrying about the presentation you have tomorrow.

Here are 3 easy grounding techniques:

  1. Grab the chair you are sitting on and squeeze. Take one hand and take hold of the edge of the seat. Squeeze it 5 times. Poof, you are back in the room.

  2. Doodle. Yes, I said doodle. But not mindlessly like you used to do in history class. I want you to doodle mindfully by counting to 10 in your mind and using your pen or pencil to make some kind of doodle on a piece of paper to match your count.

  3. Squeeze the muscles in your fingers and toes. The most powerful way to ground is by doing this once an hour and squeezing as hard as you can, clenching your fists and curling your toes. The squeeze and then the release should be extreme enough that your whole body has to come back into the room.

Practice B: Master Your Breath

If you haven't practiced breathwork or explored the power of breathing, you are missing out on a powerful tool kit. The intentional management of breathing is a game changer. I’ll give you the quick and dirty version here: your ability to focus, stay calm, and recover from crappy situations is all in the pace, pattern, and capacity of your breath.

The IN breath has power. The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you take in, giving your body and brain fuel to process. Most of us talk quickly and end up breathing in shallow bursts. This makes anxiety, or the potential for anxiety, much worse. It creates the need for your body to work harder, which can accelerate your pulse like you are exercising, not sitting in a meeting. Not helpful.

The OUT breath is critical. Since we are breathing quickly and shallowly a majority of the time, we aren’t allowing the bad stuff to come out. A long exhale gives your body a release of toxins and creates a moment of relaxation.

Try this:

  • Inhale for a count of 4

  • Hold for a count of 4

  • Exhale for a count of 4

  • Hold for a count of 4

This is called Box Breathing. It has been used for decades by world-champion athletes, elite performers, and the Navy Seals. If used for a minimum of 7 rounds, it can help you reset your fight or flight response, enabling you to recover from whatever triggered you in the moment.

There are literally hundreds of breathing exercises and patterns available that will help you calm down, rewire your brain, and achieve a level of focus and courage on par with those who meditate regularly — without ever having the meditate.

I hope you try these techniques. If you want more help – coaching, content, or a retreat that will really kick your butt — join our free AVVI Collective Membership and meet me every Wednesday at 12:30pm PT for Deep Work Fast.


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