Modern life can be hectic and relentless, so everyone is on the hunt for simple ways to make every day a little calmer.
The man behind a new book promises to show you how to take back a little bit of peace, space and all-important calm in just a few simple steps.
The book, which is rather fittingly called Calm, contains the simple tools, tricks and habits that he believes will change the rest your life
Anxiety affects one in six people in the UK with am estimated 70 per cent of GP visits being due to stress-related issues.
According to author Michael Acton Smith, we can do little things every single day to combat this. His book combines extracts from neurological research with wisdom from history’s great thinkers and the real-life experiences of individuals across the globe.
From how you decorate your house to changing your computer password, FEMAIL has selected the best bits from Calm to help you live a more successful life.
1. Change your password, change your life How many times a day do you re-enter your computer password? Having to change our passwords constantly is one of the exasperating necessities of office life. But what if you were to reappropriate your password, using it instead as a modern-day mantra to help you ensure you remain mindful of whatever it is you most want to achieve? This could be BU!LDNEWFRI3NDSHIPS or SAVE4SKIING. The joy of it is that you can alter it every month if you like. It’s an opportunity to repeatedly hit your subconscious with a mindful reminder.
2. Nature meditation Sit in a quiet space. Imagine you are sat beneath a tree in the middle of a field or forest beneath a large, leafy tree with strong branches. Smell the rich soil and clean air. Listen to the wind rustling through the leaves and notice if you hear any birds or animals stirring within. Visualise the tree’s leaves, branches and trunk, then picture yourself reaching out to touch it. Feel the texture of the bark. Imagine the tree drinking up the water through its complex root system. Visualise the lengthening, spreading branches, and the leaves opening towards the sun.
3. Create a sleep-friendly bedroom Keep your bedroom decor simple and calm. Avoid clutter, which can trigger your stress response, and make sure work papers are out of sight.
Changing your password to something useful or calming is an opportunity to repeatedly hit your subconscious with a mindful reminder
4. Invest in blue furnishings Opt for blue walls, or flashes of blue in soft furnishings: looking at this colour can lead to a drop in heart rate and blood pressure, and gentle blue hues are widely believed to have a sleep-inducing effect.
5. Keep a notepad or journal by your bed Then, instead of lying awake, worried you will forget something in the morning, you can write it down and allow the thought to pass.
Opt for blue walls, or flashes of blue in soft furnishings: looking at this colour can lead to a drop in heart rate and blood pressure
6. Imagine a nature scene If your’e struggling to get to sleep, try imagining a tranquil natural scene, whether it’s a bucolic rural landscape or the gently lapping waves of the shore of a beautiful lake. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that when volunteers imagined such scenes, they fell asleep an average of twenty minutes earlier than those who didn’t use the technique.
7. Design your dream island If you were to design a whole island for yourself, a place that had the specific purpose of helping you to feel as calm as possible, what would you put on it? Write about it and draw it. Revisit this place whenever you get stressed, embellishing the details and adding new, calming features over time.
8. Make a list of the ten people who make you happiest This list could be anyone from friends to inspiring writers or thinkers. Look at it regularly (why not take a snap on your phone to keep it to hand), and whenever you feel stress kick in, pick up your phone and call one, or open a book to absorb their wisdom.
9. Let out a sigh An emphatic ‘aaah’ or ‘ommmm’ will combat the restricted feeling that sometimes settles in your chest at the end of a stressful day, and the vibration and deep breath will energise you.
10. Three things that make you happy Every night before you go to bed, write a list of three things that made you happy that day. If you have a child, ask them to do it. It’s a great way to reinforce a healthy self-image and a positive mindset, and ensure they go to sleep with happy thoughts in their heads. It has the added benefit that you get to hear a bit about their day and the things that genuinely bring them joy.
11. Eat a single square of chocolate mindfully Eat a square of chocolate so mindfully that you pay attention to everything, from the sounds of the wrapper to the smell of it and the feeling against your tongue. Focussing on taste in this way forces your sense to wake up.
12. Wear a blue ribbon A blue ribbon is a simple symbol of calm that can bring you back to what you’ve learned when you find yourself slipping (the book even comes with one you can cut out).