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How to Feel Calm and Connected

How to Feel Calm and Connected

Vida Carmel

Life feels pretty uncertain right now for us all. With plans being cancelled, unable to re-schedule for the foreseeable, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. So we have asked our expert coach and trainer, Vida Carmel, to share her tips to stay and feel calm and connected.

As a coach and trainer, I need to be grounded and present so I can be in a resourceful state for the people I work with.

At this challenging time, we all need ways to look after ourselves and help others. We are living through a pandemic and the world is a complex and distressing place. What follows are some of the tools I use to ground myself, in the hope that you will find something of value you can take away to feel calm and connected.

Robert Dilts’ C.R.A.S.H and C.O.A.C.H framework provide a checklist you can use anytime you need to bring your attention to how to feel balanced.

It is useful to realise when you may be in a C.R.A.S.H state (contracted, reacting, analysing, separate, hurt), which is similar to flight or flight mode. In times of crisis, fight or flight is the natural human response and the state that many of us have been in recently. Consider the last time you felt tense and stressed (C.R.A.S.H state), and acknowledge and welcome that uncomfortable feeling.

Ask yourself what specifically you were reacting to in that moment (was it reading the news, scrolling through social media, WhatsApp group messages, someone else’s behaviour, your own self-talk?) Becoming consciously aware and acknowledging how you are feeling enables you to truly connect with yourself and in turn to connect with others in a more authentic and compassionate way.

If you are in a C.R.A.S.H state and this isn’t helping you right now, you can refocus your attention by asking, ‘what do I want instead?’ Often we are all looking for ways to feel calm and grounded. The C.O.A.C.H state (centred, open, aware, connected, holding) will enable you to do this so you can take back some agency during this difficult time.

Try this now to find calm:

1. CENTRE

Sitting on a chair or standing, make sure your feet are firmly on the floor and your body is in a symmetrical position. Drop your weight down so you bring your attention to your centre and let the ground or the chair support you. Imagine you are an old oak tree, your legs are like the trunk of the tree and your feet are the roots, connecting through the earth’s crust deep down into the core of the earth. Notice what it feels like to be centred and grounded. Place your hands on your tummy, the centre of your body, and breathe.

2. OPEN

Bring your attention to your breath and on your next exhalation, squeeze all of the air out, like you are squeezing the water out of a sponge, until there is nothing left, and then let it go. Notice how deeply you are able to breathe again. Start breathing out for longer than you are breathing in, breathing out for a count of 6, holding for 3, and in for 3. Notice how you can let any areas of tension in your body go as you breathe out. Allow your jaw, shoulders and stomach to soften, draw your shoulders back as you open your chest. Bring your arms down by your side, palms facing open.

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3. AWARE

Become aware and attend to what is going on inside and outside of you. Widen your periphery vision, softening your gaze, as you take in everything from this centred and open state. Notice three things you can see in the outside world, three things you can hear in the outside world, and three things you can feel in the outside world. Do this again noticing two and then one for each. Next, attend to your inside world and repeat the process, noticing what you can see, hear and feel within you.

4. CONNECT

While maintaining a connection with your centre, bring your attention to the system you are part of, your household, family, friends, work, community, country, and the world. By connecting with yourself you are able to realise your relationship with the whole. You can use your own past experiences and wisdom to do this. Consider a time in your life that you felt balanced, calm and connected to yourself. It could be sometime this year or from further back in the past. See what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt, that time in your life when you felt balanced and connected. Notice what you were doing more of, and what you were doing less of. What needs to be true for you to feel this way?

5. HOLDING

Hold what you are experiencing right now from a place of resourcefulness. What feels different and what else seems possible? What can you commit to doing from now so that you are able to access this state on a daily basis? And, what action will you take? It could be useful to write this down or share it with someone else for accountability.

Vida is currently available for online coaching, workshops and group facilitation, find out more on her website.

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