We recently saw a bumper sticker which said “inner.calm.” This play on the term “dot com” reminds us that we don’t have to live with input overload and excessive stress and anxiety. The inner calm of serenity and peace are possible in our ever quickening, dot com, working or retired worlds.
What is inner calm? It is more than the absence of anxiety or jangled nerves. It seems to be linked to peace and serenity which are signs of self-acceptance and a balance between activity and being at ease.
Inner calm is good for us. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that highly anxious people with heart disease face nearly double the risk of heart attack or death when compared to others with heart disease who have a more serene outlook on life. It not only contributes to our physical health but also to our mental wellbeing and sound decision-making.
How can we promote our own inner calm? The well known “Serenity Prayer” can be a good reminder to cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Can the inner calm of others rub off on us? True companionship with such people can reveal not only the bases of their serenity, but also it can shine light on our own needs and capacities for peace and calm. On the other hand, not everyone is motivated and ready for such emulation and self-discovery.
An Internet search for dot coms about “inner calm” primarily brings up sites about various meditative practices that can help focus and calm our minds, enable us to pay more attention to our true needs, to more patiently move toward greater self acceptance, and to make wiser choices related to the use of our time, talent and energy.
Meditative practices like tai chi, mindfulness meditation, soothing music, gentle massage, gardening, cooking, or repetitive individual activities like jogging, swimming or cycling in a peaceful environment, can calm our minds and feed our souls. Cultivating gentle, loving moments with people close to us, and shifting the focus from our own concerns to the needs of others can help put us in touch with our own desire and capacity for inner calm.
For practical approaches to meditation in a busy world, check out “Meditation in a New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy,” by Mark Thornton (available in paperback or on Kindle).